CUSTOMER SPOTLIGHT

YMCA in Central Maryland Communicates With Over 100,000 Members Using AlertMedia

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Efficiency

Eliminates the time-consuming process of manually communicating with members, improving staff productivity.

Automation

Allows members to opt in to receive real-time notifications about class schedule changes and facility closures.

Engagement

Utilizes dynamic groups to segment communications, improving message relevancy, and avoiding alert fatigue.

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Customer Service

Streamlines communication to keep members informed and up to date, improving the member experience.

Industry
Nonprofit

Locations
13

Employees
1,500

Products
Emergency Communication Software

Primary Uses
Business Continuity, Operations, Inclement Weather

AlertMedia and YMCA logos

The Y in Central Maryland is a charitable organization dedicated to improving the well-being of individuals, families, and communities throughout Central Maryland. The organization began operating in 1853 as the YMCA of the Greater Baltimore Area. Today, it operates 13 different health and wellness centers around Maryland and serves more than 350,000 people. Essential to the organization’s success is its focus on serving the local community by offering daily activities, classes, social events, and fitness facilities.

To keep its members informed of changes to its programs and services, the Y turned to AlertMedia’s emergency communication solution. The Y can easily share critical, time-sensitive information about holiday closures, weather-related cancellations, and new class offerings. With the ability to segment individuals into dynamic groups, the Y can also ensure each member only receives relevant, targeted updates. With AlertMedia, the Y can keep its members informed and up to date, communicate efficiently, and provide a better member experience

Manual processes lacked the ability to segment member communication quickly and accurately

As told to AlertMedia by the Director of Philanthropy Campaigns & Online Marketing at the Y in Central Maryland.

The Y in Central Maryland has over 100,000 members that it needs to communicate with on a daily basis. Previously, the organization used a manual process to send out mass emails to members. With this approach, the organization had no way to segment its communications, and all 100,000 members received every email—even if it wasn’t relevant to them. Contacting the entire member database with updates that were only relevant to a subset of people was not only ineffective, but likely counterproductive.

To automate communication and more effectively share important information with its members, the Y began looking for an emergency communication solution. To avoid email overload and improve the member experience, the Y needed a solution that would allow it to quickly and easily send targeted messages to its different audiences. It also needed a way to communicate across multiple channels to ensure visibility—specifically email, text, and social media.

The Y had three critical requirements in its emergency communication software. First, it needed to be up and running immediately with no extensive training required. With winter quickly approaching—a time when many class schedules are affected due to holidays and severe weather—a fast, easy implementation was important. Second, it needed to be quick and easy for members to opt in to receive critical communications from the organization. Finally, the Y’s administrators needed a way to easily segment members by location, program, and facility. With 13 locations across Maryland, the system needed to allow members to receive notifications specific only to their chosen facility or program.

Intuitive design backed by hands-on support enables fast, reliable communication

After evaluating a number of emergency communication solutions, the Y chose AlertMedia. The key deciding factors for the nonprofit were AlertMedia’s user-friendly interface, outstanding customer support, and deep expertise in mass communication best practices. With a dedicated customer success manager (CSM) from AlertMedia, the Y receives ongoing support and consultative guidance on how to optimize their mass communication strategy and get the most value out of the software.

Before the Y could begin sending communications to its members using AlertMedia, the organization had the seemingly daunting task of adding over 100,000 members to the product. With the support of their CSM, the Y created a custom opt-in subscription process. This offered members a way to stay connected with regular schedule updates and event notifications, including class reminders and cancellations.

The organization first sent an email to all of its members that linked to a customized landing page. Built and hosted by AlertMedia, the landing page allowed the member to enter their contact information, set preferences for receiving notifications, and subscribe to specific areas of interest. The Y also distributed and posted marketing materials in high-traffic areas within its 13 facilities. These materials directed members to send a short text to subscribe to real-time text notifications. Both of these efforts made it easy to ensure all members were receiving relevant communications over their preferred channels.

Using AlertMedia, the Y can segment members into dynamic groups based on location, interest, or any other attribute. The organization has hundreds of different groups that are placed within a hierarchy based on different camps, daily classes, age-based activities, pool-goers, and more. AlertMedia makes it easy for the Y to communicate with specific audiences about program and facility updates that may directly impact them. With more than 100 administrators—each responsible for communicating with a different audience—the ability to assign varying permissions also ensures everyone has the appropriate level of access.

Achieving time and cost savings while improving the member experience

With AlertMedia, the Y can provide a better member experience by sending targeted, relevant, and timely notifications. By streamlining communication, the Y can keep its members informed and up to date, saving time and eliminating confusion. This also frees up staff—once burdened with cumbersome communication processes—to focus on delivering exceptional member service.

As the organization’s Director of Philanthropy Campaigns & Online Marketing adds, “Making sure we reach the right group of members at the right time is a never-ending chore. We want to provide the best experience possible for our members, which includes keeping them up to date with the latest of what is going on at the Y. By using AlertMedia to automate our communications process, we are saving a significant amount of time and money—and improving efficiency.”

“Making sure we reach the right group of members at the right time is a never-ending chore. We want to provide the best experience possible for our members, which includes keeping them up to date with the latest of what is going on at the Y. By using AlertMedia to automate our communications process, we are saving a significant amount of time and money—and improving efficiency.”

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