What does YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka do in Barrie, Collingwood, Gravenhurst, Innisfil, Midland, Orillia, Parry Sound and Wasaga Beach? More importantly, what impact does “the Y of Simcoe/Muskoka” make? This is a great question and according to YMCA research, not one that is answered very well by Canadians.
Since I started here in May, I’ve often pondered how others—colleagues, volunteers, donors, and the public—would answer this question here in Simcoe/Muskoka. Our organization is large and provides a wide variety of services making it hard to grasp what and why we do what we do and more importantly, “the impact the Y makes.” Oftentimes, people view us from their experience with the programs or facilities that they use when they come to the Y. However, the Y is much more than that.
Recently the YMCA’s in Canada approved a new national branding strategy that will begin to roll out across the country this fall. Part of this strategy will involve a national effort to better communicate and inform Canadians about the impact the YMCA has across our country. Simcoe/Muskoka is an “early adopter” of this re-brand which will allow us to leverage the strength of our national size and scope to better inform the communities that we serve.
Some of the ways we plan to do this are through delivery of a consistent brand message, sharing our stories and celebrating our accomplishments through the use of social media, and by building deeper relationships within our communities and partners whose missions align with our own.
Communicating and connecting are going to be key for us going forward. By embracing new tools we can eliminate dated perceptions, and bring our programs to more kids and teens in more communities by reaching them in ways that weren’t available to us in the past.