Berkeley-Albany YMCA

Vision: The YMCA embarked on a major earthquake retrofit and expansion of its downtown facility, which serves more than 17,000 people, with the goal of keeping it open throughout construction.

Challenge: To create new space to accommodate programs displaced by the retrofit, the YMCA had to close its last racquetball court without sparking a major protest by its dedicated users. In addition, the YMCA was determined to keep its membership intact and fully informed throughout the 10-month process.

Solution: CDA Strategies worked with the YMCA Communication Committee to develop the messages and tools needed to reach the Y’s many constituencies. We helped YMCA managers negotiate with the racquetball players. We conducted focus groups with members and staff; developed a PowerPoint presentation and Frequently Asked Questions; set up an online project information page and listserve and produced a brochure, postcards, posters, and other collateral to explain the project and keep members updated.

Success: YMCA members have expressed great satisfaction with the communication effort and more than 1,000 signed up to receive email updates. The YMCA staff increased its internal communication capacity and has effectively used the tools we developed. Most importantly, the project is on schedule and there has been no decline in membership.

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