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Fundraising is an important component of community rec operations, affording the chance for organizations to generate money for needed programs, as well as excitement about the work being done in the community.

Early in the month of March, several YMCAs around the country have aimed to accomplish this by hosting their YMCA Day of Giving events. Depending on the association, the Day of Giving can look very different — it can feature one major event or a wide variety of activities.

“Every year, each of our branches choose a case that best resonates with their community — Safety Around Water, Youth and Government, healthy living, youth sports, or afterschool — and conduct branch events to build excitement around the day,” explained Jennifer Federici, the associate vice president of marketing for the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas.

According to Federici, there are several events hosted across the Dallas Y’s association, including a Polar Plunge — in which one town’s mayor and an executive director hopped into a frigid outdoor pool — Spinathon cycling events, a groundbreaking for a capital project, Burpee challenges, games, selfie stations and more.

The Irving Family YMCA’s Day of Giving featured a Polar Plunge.

“In just the first two one-day YMCA Day of Giving events, the Dallas YMCA raised over $285,000 combined,” said Federici. “But even beyond dollars, it’s very exciting to see the buzz this has generated. The member recognition of who we are as a charity, our work in the community, and our mission to serve the under-served is priceless.”

Though the Dallas Y is one of the major participants in today’s iteration of the Day of Giving, the annual event found its beginnings in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Midway through 2015, the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina was seeking a way to generate more excitement in its members about giving. The result was the first Day of Giving event.

After finding success with the event at the Northwest North Carolina Y, Curt Hazelbaker, the association’s CEO, brought the idea to the Dallas Y when he became its president and CEO. “On March 6, 2018, we became the second-ever YMCA to conduct a YMCA Day of Giving, with a focus on driving member giving,” said Federici.

Since March 2018, several conversations with other associations and the YMCA of the USA, as well as presentations at industry events like NAYDO, have helped broaden the scope of the Day of Giving. This year, 29 YMCA associations across the country hosted their own events to encourage member giving.

29 YMCAs who held their own Day of Giving this year:

  • Northwest North Carolina YMCA
  • YMCA of Metropolitan Fort Worth
  • YMCA of Greater Houston
  • The Gateway Family YMCA
  • Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges
  • The Cannon YMCA/Rowan YMCA
  • Greater Green Bay YMCA
  • YMCA of Greater Michiana
  • Oshkosh Community YMCA
  • West Suburban YMCA
  • YMCA of Greater Waukesha County
  • Fond du Lac Family YMCA
  • YMCA of Greenville
  • Greater Marinette-Menominee YMCA
  • Valley of the Sun YMCA
  • YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas
  • Arlington-Mansfield Area YMCA
  • Santa Monica Family YMCA
  • YMCA of Central Texas
  • YMCA of York and York County
  • YMCA of Central Maryland
  • YMCA of Southern Arizona
  • YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee
  • Peninsula Metropolitan YMCA
  • YMCA of the Fox Cities
  • Glacial Community YMCA
  • Stevens Point Area YMCA
  • Door County YMCA
  • YMCA of the Northwoods

In addition to reaching their fundraising goals, Federici hopes each branch of the Dallas Y can continue building more rapport with the community through the Day of Giving. “We’re hoping this YMCA Day of Giving will continue to familiarize our members and community with the charitable works of the YMCA, and that we can open the door to more conversations about the impact of their donations each year, each day,” she said.

Bobby Dyer

Bobby is the former editor of Community Rec Magazine.

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