YMCA professionals gathered April 6-9 in Tampa, Florida for the NAYDO 2022 Conference.
The theme of this year’s conference was “Discovering the Treasures in Community” – a perfect parallel to the beautiful Tampa setting. Staff and volunteers were decked out in pirate attire, tables were outfitted in treasure chests and coins, and there was even a treasure map!
Beyond the fun theme and beautiful setting was the sheer excitement of attendees and sponsors being in-person once again. And for the Community Rec team, it was the excitement of attending a NAYDO conference for the first time and getting to see so many readers and partners’ faces, rather than just an email signature.
As editor of Community Rec Magazine, the recognition of our publication and eagerness to be involved with our mission was overwhelmingly encouraging at the conference. It was a true joy to hear what we do for the industry is valued. The conversations had will continue to fuel our mission to increase healthy lifestyles by educating and empowering health and wellness professionals.
During the conference, I also had the pleasure of attending some of the educational track workshops offered on the topics of fundraising and collective impact. Below are some of my top takeaways from the sessions:
Zane Moore, the president and CEO of the YMCA of Bucks County, and Debbie Sontupe of Match Nonprofit Consulting and YMCA alumni, presented on fundraising and cultivating donors. They had three main takeaways during the presentation:
As an added bonus, Moore and Sontupe shared two last takeaways they learned raising $25 million. “Surround yourself with a good team in operations – CEO’s must free yourselves up to be engaged in the campaign. Highs are high, but don’t let lows bring you down – we did get no’s.”
My favorite part of this discussion was the story Moore told about community partner and lead donor in the Y’s “For a Better Us” campaign, Fred Beans Auto Group. If you weren’t in attendance for this session, you should reach out and ask him to tell it. You won’t be disappointed.
And lastly, Sontupe recommended the Ted Talk, “The Way We Think About Charity in Dead Wrong,” by Dan Pallotta for those interested in learning more about fundraising and donor cultivation.
Alexandra Moore, the vice president of philanthropy at the YMCA of Greater Richmond, and Barbara O’Reilly of Windmill Hill Consulting, shared great insights on why your members are great prospects. Below are top takeaways:
Members Should be Great Prospects: Members know the value you provide, you have their in-person attention and likely know a lot about them, and they already give you money.
Where to Start: Who are your members and what makes them tick? Do they volunteer, attend fundraisers, share social media updates? Do they give elsewhere, and what’s an appropriate amount?
The last session I was able to attend was presented by Jorge Perez, the president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati, on why YMCA’s need to collaborate.
During the discussion, Perez shared about creating the Y everywhere you go and seeing the YMCA as part of an ecosystem in the community. Members of the audience shared a number of community issues their Y’s are seeing, including homelessness, youth suicide, gun violence and more. Perez elaborated these issues can’t be solved alone, thus the importance of collaboration with community partners to make a collective impact.
The main takeaway from the session was social innovation as “The New Norm.” Examples included companies such as Uber and Airbnb – they didn’t create the product consumers are using; they provided the environment. “What’s the biggest challenge to innovation?” Perez asked. “The people in the box.”
Sometimes you need help thinking outside the box you’re in, and that’s where collective impact can help. At the end of the discussion, Perez proposed a new strategy for fundraising: It’s not about who gets the money, it’s about the needs. “We were all doing collective impact during the pandemic,” he said. “It’s about what’s in it for all of us.”
And lastly, I also wanted to recognize the All Together Better exhibit by the YMCA of Greater Tulsa.
During the conference, Matt Hancock, the chief operations officer at the Tulsa Y, walked attendees through the interactive exhibit, educating them on the story and impact of the 1921 Tulsa Massacre, as well as the way the Y has worked to support its communities since its inception. Learn more about the exhibit.
In conclusion, the NAYDO 2022 conference was a truly amazing experience. The ideas shared, discussions over great food and laughs had will be treasured. Community Rec Magazine is already excited for NAYDO 2023!