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Getting customers through your doors is one thing — getting them to keep coming back is another. Maintaining high member retention takes a combination of engaging programming, up-to-date equipment and a commitment to helping members reach their goals.

The YMCA of Greater New York, with 22 locations all throughout New York City, engages its communities with a great fitness experience, and uses a personal approach to converting prospects into loyal members.

“We follow up personally with every individual who comes through our doors or requests a guest pass online,” said Emilie Franske, the senior director for membership at the YMCA of Greater New York. “We hope they know we care about them and are here to support them in achieving their goals.”

And the YMCA will even help out a prospective member who might have trouble affording a membership. “We also offer financial assistance so everyone can participate, regardless of their ability to pay,” said Franske.

The mission for the YMCA is making the best fitness experience available for everyone in their surrounding communities. It’s for this reason it regularly keeps all locations updated.

“We believe New Yorkers deserve to have access to the most current equipment, which is why we provide state-of-the-art equipment at all of our 22 branches and refresh our equipment every three years,” said Franske.

They also give members of all ages different programming options, including a wide array of classes for adults and fun activities for kids. “We offer a variety of programming that caters to our member’s health journeys — from youth to seniors, beginners to experts,” said Franske. “We also offer free child care with adult and family memberships, which makes workouts stress-free for parents and caregivers.”

Engaging programming, state-of-the-art equipment and assistance for members who need it are all important aspects of the YMCA of Greater New York’s strong commitment to member engagement.

This focus on personal engagement is the main reason members keep coming back, according to Franske. “Our members tell our staff they joined the Y for a variety of reasons — to work on their health goals or engage their family in healthy activities — but they stay members of the Y because it’s a community,” she said.

As that sense of community continues to grow, so will the number of members walking through the YMCA’s doors every day.

“Members experience support and encouragement from staff and other members, while learning new skills and meeting other people and families,” said Franske. ”And our youth programs reinforce values and build self-confidence.”

At the end of the day, serving the community is the greatest purpose for the YMCA. Strong retention numbers are just an added bonus. “At the YMCA of Greater New York, we are committed to empowering youth, improving health and strengthening community,” said Franske. ”We focus on the impact we can have on people’s lives and in the communities we serve.”

Bobby Dyer

Bobby is the former editor of Community Rec Magazine.

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