Tag Archives: ymca

Find Your YMCA MoJo

The MoJo of your YMCA is the energy it admits on a daily basis.  The energy level of your staff and environment can make or break a YMCA.  Y employees will tell you that “if you know one YMCA, then you know only that one YMCA!”

All YMCA’s are different and each have their own personality and character.  Each have their own MoJo!  The MoJo is that little special energy that gives a YMCA that positive spirit that connects with staff and members.

Your YMCA Mojo starts with your employees.  If your YMCA has a personality it is because of leadership and staff character, energy and passion.  YMCA employees are special because most have a higher purpose given the type of organization they work for.  When employees are YMCA Mission driven it shows in their performance and action.

At the front desk-Welcome Center, do you have high spirit employees that are service driven with the ability to get things done?  Does your fitness staff know how to provide the personal attention and touch for members?  Is your CEO and upper management actively engaged in setting the tone and leading by example?

The only way to generate a higher level of MoJo at your YMCA is to lead by example.  Raise your bar for what you bring to your office, job, organization and live a higher purpose.

Email us for information on our Leadership Training:  info@theoctopussolution.com


Performance Management and your YMCA Program Directors

Attention:  Our Blog has been transferred to our new website.  Our new website will go live late next week.  We are excited to present it to you and all our clients. Back to the YMCA…

Does your Fitness, Aquatics, Youth, Camps, Special Programs, etc have a tendency to end up in their own silo’s? In many Y’s these program directors tend to get bogged down in their own world and do not see the other departments around them.  Break free and Climb Higher!

Side Note:  In a larger YMCA (even with a single location) the importance of a Chief Operating Officer is critical for managing performance and communications across the program boundaries.

Performance Management aligns the actions and plans of program departments to that of the CEO and Board’s Strategic Plan.  And provides performance measures, systems of accountability, communications, and how to manage the process to achieve the strategic objectives of the Y.

Many organizations do not review the foundation and structure of their Y before creating a strategic plan.  Once they try to execute a strategic plan they discover that the organization structure does not support the plan needs and demands.  The plan must be built on the strengths of the organization structure.  Many times we adjust the organization structure for maximum performance, THEN design the plan, THEN guide our clients through successfully executing the plan, and THEN complete the objectives successfully.

Performance Management will help to better communication in your organization, increase production, boost member satisfaction and solidify teamwork.

If you are interested in speaking with us about our Performance Management system and how it provides your YMCA with a break-through method for managing and executing, please email us at:  info@theoctopussolution.com

YMCA Happy Members come from Your Welcome Center

ATTENTION:  OUR BLOG MAY BE DOWN TOMORROW (FRIDAY) MORNING FOR SEVERAL HOURS.  Our Amazing Website Developers are Embedding our Blog into our NEW WEBSITE which may cause our Business at your Best Blog to be down.  Our New Website will be going live in the next several days and will have all the content you need!  We are Excited to introduce our new Website to YOU! Back to YMCA’s….

“The single most important thing to remember about any enterprise is that there are no results inside its walls. The result of a business is a satisfied customer.” -Peter Drucker

The employees that deal with your YMCA members the most frequent are the ones that get paid minimum wage, have high turnover, are younger in age, or are not always fully trained.  YOUR WELCOME CENTER.  They “have to” know everything going on in the organization because that is where all members are going to go for information.  That is where all questions are going from inbound phone calls.

Think about the complexity of your program structure and the constantly changing dynamics: Schedules, cancelled classes, pool closings, emergency announcements, and the list goes on.  All of this, the welcome center staff needs to be able to handle.  If the staff can not handle it, it will lead to member confusion, frustration, anger and eventually dissatisfaction with the organizations service.  Then your members leave the YMCA and join another provider.

If the welcome center staff does not know the details of the daily happenings at the YMCA then chaos and mutiny will pursue.  A communication system needs to be built and it must be able to communicate with your members and amongst your employees.

Too many times we have seen frustration and arguments with members and a staff person that “should have known about…”  Fill in the blank.  It is very difficult for staff to be the all-knowing wizards of the YMCA.  However, we can arm the staff with as much information, organized in a method that levels the playing field of communication.

Contact us for our communication and operating method for your YMCA Welcome Center:  info@theoctopussolution.com

The Importance of the YMCA History

One of the biggest assets any business has is the history of your business.  History creates a foundation for being able to support an organization whether it be through purchasing, partnership, support, or loyalty.  Many organizations train new employees using the history of the firm during their orientation process. This provides a foundation and understanding of where the company came from and what they are fighting/working for.  The United States Marine Corps uses its great history to teach it’s recruits during basic training.  Do you think Marines are proud to be Marines and loyal to their “company”?

We are taught our country’s great history in school growing up and most of us develop a loyalty and allegiance to the United States of America.  Why?  Why does that happen?  It happens because we connect to the success stories and people that have made our country great and we develop a loyalty and passion for defending and part of our great nation.  So let’s take that same idea and principle into our companies and get more energy from the employee’s and more brand loyalty from our customers.  The YMCA has one of the most impressive history’s of any organizations or company we have ever herd of…

The YMCA is a non-profit with a vast history.  How many organizations do you know that invented basketball and volleyball.  Pioneered Camping, Public Libraries, Night Schools, and Teaching English as a Second Language?  YMCA introduced the worlds first indoor swimming pool and group swim lessons.

The YMCA’s have provided the proper environment for ideas and organizations to be born:  The Boys Scouts of America, Camp Fire Girls, the Negro National Baseball League, Toastmasters, Hallmark Cards, Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, and Father’s Day.

The YMCA has help build our country and have been visited by many U.S. Presidents.  The majority of employees, members and community members probably do not know about all the great things the YMCA has done.   Do you think it is worth it to tell people about the YMCA History?  Marketing the History?…

….We do.  History builds foundation and loyalty.  The organization is a non-profit and many people may need to be reminded about what the YMCA stands for.  The YMCA is more than just a fitness center, BUT do your members and communities know that?

How to Quickly increase Your YMCA Member Sales

This week is YMCA week.  We spend a great deal of time with YMCA’s and yesterday we spoke about member retention and today we are going to speak to the importance of Recovery.  Member Recovery is the about having processes in place to, reach back out to past members and get them to re-join.

The great part about Member Recovery is that this target market has already been a member.  There are strategies we implement to drive them back.  If your YMCA has 9,000 Members and your retention rate is 50% then you lose 4,500 members per yer.  First that is way too low and you should also be working on retention strategies, but recovery plans are equally important.

With Member Recovery, you have customer information like: Name, Address, Phone, Email, Type of Membership in the Past, etc.  All your efforts to Recovering members will be a 2 part strategy:  Direct Marketing and Direct Sales.

Direct Marketing:  Stay in communication via email and mailer.  Send you past members a survey and find out why they left.  You may be doing things wrong and not know it and that is why members are leaving.  Never assume you know.  Keep you past members updated with what is happening at the YMCA.  Find out the type of membership they had in the past and send them a mailer with a discounted offer with call to action to help increase your probability of hitting their “sweet spots”.  Email us for more strategies:  info@theoctopussolution.com

Direct Sales:  You can not image how dirty of a word sales is at YMCA’s.  It is Dirty.  But Direct Sales is more effective than Direct Mail, so why are you not doing it?  Assign your most likely sales person to make phone calls one day out of the week.  Print your past member database and let one of your staff hit the phones.  Go over  a script, talking points and action items.  The start of the script should be to determine again, why they left your YMCA.  Ask them what is needed to get them back as a valued member.  Take action with trying to close them on another membership over the phone or schedule a meeting at the Y to discuss coming back.  It is best to try to close the membership over the phone.

Member Recovery is a very important step in your strategy and should not be underestimated.  Member Acquisition, Retention and Recovery Strategies are all vital to having maximum impact on member growth.  Email us to discuss more YMCA strategies:  info@theoctopussolution.com

The 1st Step in Increasing YMCA Member Retention

Many YMCA’s suffer from low member retention rates.  This is due to many reasons: poor customer service, bad procedures, competition, and lack of understand of how retention is calculated.  Many Y’s use Daxko or Trinexum software as their point of sale and CRM software and the retention rates are all calculated on an annual basis.

YMCA CEO’s have to report member retention numbers to the board of directors and many of these numbers are wrong.  These Y’s should be using their CRM software to compute the member retention by comparing apples-to-apples, but what is happening is that they are comparing apples-to-oranges.

If the software computes member retention on a 13 month basis and all memberships are used in the calculation such as 3 month, 6 month and month-to-month memberships, then apples are being compared to oranges.

For example:  If a member signs up for a membership at their local YMCA the softwares will compute if that person is still a member at the beginning of the 13th month.  The applications will track all the members on an annual basis to see how many are still members after a year.  So what about those memberships that are under one year mixed in the calculations?

A 3 month, 6 month and other customer short term memberships will have a 0% retention rate measured on an annual basis.  If the members sign up 2-4 times you may capture a 5-10% retention rate on short-term memberships, but it will not be much higher than that.

So if your YMCA is measuring retention on an annual basis then you can only compare it to annual memberships.  If you include any memberships on a time frame less than that then you are not using the same units of measurement in a mathematical formula.   For example:  5 Inches +4 Centimeters = What type of unit?  You need to convert the units to one single unit of measurement before solving.

Before you assume you have a low or high retention rate, make sure you and your YMCA are comparing apples to apples!  Contact us for the 10 steps any YMCA can take to increase member retention:  info@theoctopussolution.com

How to Turn Around Your Business In 90 Days or Less!

The major problem every for-profit and non-profit face is holding onto customers. Most of the companies we work with think that they need “marketing” but the reality is they need to keep the customers they already have. If you do not have customers then you are correct, you do need marketing. For the companies who already have an established customer bases you need RETENTION!Once the real problem is recognized it is time to fix it. Every company that realizes they have a customer issue has to try and fix it and everyone does this differently. One company started a Facebook fan page in hopes of trying to connect better with its customers. Another company fixed some old equipment in their fitness area. Lastly, another company started a monthly e-newsletter. So how did each one of these companies do with attempting to fix retention? The results were clear; retention was not fixed and in some cases it actually got worse.

So you ask, how do we fix retention? How do we keep customers coming back for more products and services? Before we reveal the answer, lets define customer retention: according to Wikipedia (not our favorite source but we like this definition) customer retention is, the activity that a selling organization undertakes in order to reduce customer defections. Successful customer retention starts with the first contact an organization has with a customer and continues throughout the entire lifetime of a relationship. A company’s ability to attract and retain new customers, is not only related to its product or services, but strongly related to the way it services its existing customers and the reputation it creates within and across the marketplace. Customer retention is more than giving the customer what they expect; it’s about exceeding their expectations so that they become loyal advocates for your brand.

All the traditional means you may be thinking about will help retention but this is like putting a band-aid on a bullet wound. The only way to improve retention is to open the communication lines, pay attention and want to create an environment that is not only ideal for the customer but for the employees as well. Retention fixed by the following ways:

1. Communication– Every organization has communication issues whether its internal, external or both. This issue can cause serious retention issues especially when internal communication between staff and its customers is poor. All management, directors, & staff (part and full time) need a solid communication system where information can travel up the chain of command and down effortlessly so that everyone can function from the same page. Once this happens, you then need to implement external communication strategies to your customers externally. This can be done with an e-newsletter, social media or a website. You need to create “touch points” with a customer so that you are consistently in their presence. In order for an external communication system to be truly effective you must have an internal system in place.

2. Customer Centric Employees– This fancy term actually has many levels of meaning but it starts at the top. The leadership in the organization needs to have a clear goal in mind with real purposes backing each goal and specific steps on how to achieve each goal. These goals, purposes and steps need to be clearly communicated to the entire organization. The entire organization needs a picture of the ideal scene, this will start to shift the culture of the organization. Creating customer centric employees has partly to do with hiring the right people but more importantly it has to do with weeding out the bad and getting them off the bus and retraining the remaining staff. Training your staff is one of the keys to creating the culture you desire. Did you know that the first week of boot camp for the Marines is all about their history? Talk about creating a desired culture. The key part of this step is to not only train your employees but to clearly define their roles and responsibilities. If we could all visualize the desired outcome it becomes easier to reproduce it. The muddier the waters the harder it is to create and train your staff. Why is this so important? Your staff are the ones who are in the most contact with customers and are a direct reflection of your brand. Can you imagine a Marine with a messy uniform? Create the culture in your company that will focus on the customer and taking care of them the right way. If this step cannot be done retention will never be fixed, this step is the major cause of poor retention numbers.

3. Surveys-Surveys are the one tool in your toolbox that will give you the information that you NEED to hear but may not want to hear. The number one mistake that organizations make with surveys is their failure to execute the changes that the majority of your customers are asking for. If you do surveys and do nothing with them your customers as well as employees lose trust in your organization and end up losing loyalty. Survey everyone from your board of directors to your customers to your employees and take the information and really look at it and make necessary changes.

If the above steps are followed and executed retention will change! Good luck and report back the results. It will take about 90 days to see real changes.