Need: Determining the region’s support for a new YMCA
Service: Pre-Campaign Planning
The YMCA has been a household name for 175 years, well-known for its mission to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all. Fulfilling that mission means adapting to meet the community’s changing needs. That’s why the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati engaged The Yunker Group to conduct a pre-campaign planning process before proceeding with a new facility in a rapidly growing area of southern Boone County, Kentucky. What the YMCA learned guided its immediate plans while opening doors to new philanthropic opportunities for the future.
“Working with The Yunker Group was very beneficial,” said Jacob Brooks, YMCA of Greater Cincinnati group vice president. “We really appreciated the work they did to help us gather information and gather community feedback to help steer and guide our decision-making.”
“We learned a lot through their process,” Jacob added. “We did discover that the timing isn’t right for a capital campaign for a Y. But we also learned there’s a significant affinity for a Y, there’s a desire for a Y, in the Richwood area. But we’d be competing against a few other capital campaigns that are already established.”
To gain those insights, The Yunker Group interviewed about 40 prospective donors and community leaders and prepared a comprehensive report for the YMCA team. That leg work saved the YMCA staff valuable time, and the confidential nature of the reporting made it possible for potential donors to be completely candid.
“We wanted honest feedback from the individuals,” Jacob said. “We wanted them to feel comfortable. A lot of the folks we had talked with earlier in the planning stages had personal relationships with me or the community leaders on the Northern Kentucky planning committee. Our fear was we wouldn’t get truly candid and direct feedback. By utilizing The Yunker Group as an independent third-party, our current and prospective donors could be more comfortable having an open dialogue.”
Not only did that dialogue and the process drive actionable results around the proposed capital project — the conversations also opened the door to future philanthropic opportunities.
“It provided a platform for us to engage new potential donors,” Jacob said. “We had new folks that had never given to the Y that participated in the confidential conversations, and some of them learned a lot about the Y in the process. So we’re continuing engagement with those individuals.”
The consulting team of Kay Atkins, Janet Burns, Barbara Dundee and Jim Yunker gave Jacob a series of recommendations and coaching on best practices for continuing those conversations — and hopefully bringing in more financial support for the YMCA and its programs.
Said Jacob, “The Yunker Group is a very professional, unbiased partner to help steer your organization in the right direction.”