Under the leadership of CEO Paul Ross, the Henderson Family YMCA recently underwent a voluntary association audit and assessment aimed at uncovering ways the organization could better respond to the unique socio-economic challenges of the local community.
The YMCA’s Membership Committee began reviewing membership structure and pricing last spring to determine if the organization was meeting the needs of the local area. Upon contacting the YMCA of the USA, the parent company of the organization, Ross discovered that auditing assistance provided by an outside team of YMCA professionals was available.
The Henderson branch took advantage of the offer and a team of five professionals recently met with a focus group of YMCA members, parents with children in after-school care, community leaders and Henderson Family YMCA staff members. “This team looked at what services we offered and how we were meeting the needs of the community. This was not about how healthy we were financially, but how we do business,” said Ross. “They looked at everything; nothing was hidden or held back.”
According to Ross, the team recommended approximately 25 areas for improvement upon completion of their review, with the majority being smaller, internal items. The team’s two major findings included the need to reexamine membership structure and pricing to be more affordable for the population and the need to hold an annual fundraising campaign.
The YMCA had already begun to address the need to reexamine membership pricing prior to the audit and have since reduced the initial joining fee by half and are adding additional membership structures.
In addition to the previous individual and family categories, the YMCA will offer a young adult membership for ages 13-26 and a senior membership for individuals 65 and older. Ross reports that the young adult membership fee will be a savings of approximately 20 percent off the individual fee, with the senior fee being a 10 percent savings.
The new monthly membership structure and pricing includes:
Young Adult (ages 13-26): $38.50
Individual (ages 27-64): $48.50
Senior (ages 65 and older) $43.50
Aware of the socio-economic challenges of the community and the Tier 1 determination of Vance County, the YMCA’s previous individual and family dues have not increased in four years. “We have held membership dues steady since 2014. We are trying not to burden the community with membership price increases,” said Ross.
The second recommendation made by the audit team encouraged the YMCA to begin an annual fundraising campaign. Ross reported that the Henderson branch is the only YMCA in North Carolina that has never held an annual campaign. As a non-profit organization, funding in the past came predominantly from collected membership dues and as gifts from community benefactors.
Ross explained that other communities comparable to Henderson’s size typically raise between $50-$100K in funding through their annual campaign. This money is often designated for scholarships and financial assistance for members in need. “The YMCA is in the planning process of our first annual campaign now,” said Ross. “Our staff will be trained by outside YMCA staff with experience and we will be kicking off the campaign this fall.”
As Ross stated, reaching out to the community for support and donations is part of a larger need for the YMCA to focus more externally and “move past just our four walls.”
Ross believes that making monthly dues more affordable and offering discounted membership structures combined with funds raised in the annual campaign will help the YMCA reach its overall goal of making fees, programs and facilities more accessible to the public.
(The Henderson Family YMCA is an advertising client of WIZS. However, this is not a paid advertisement.)
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