To celebrate the kick-off of the 2016 Membership Summit — the Y’s first membership summit gathering in more than a decade — XYZ University’s CEO, Sarah Sladek, keynoted the event and gifted her book to the 650 attendees. The following is a letter to YMCAs globally from XYZ University’s team:
The Millennials, born 1982-1995, represent the largest generation in history, the majority of the workforce, and the most diverse and best-educated generation in history. Even more defining, they came of age during the worst recession our country has seen in 70 years, and they are first generation to be raised in a post-Industrial, technology-driven world.
The Millennials are a changed generation, shaped by unique experiences and viewing the world with a renewed lens. They have different values, needs, wants, interests, and expectations than their predecessors, and YMCAs everywhere have begun to realize that what engaged members in the past isn’t engaging Millennials.
But there is a solution and the challenge that has presented itself should not overshadow the opportunity. In fact, there are several data points to indicate that Millennials are the ideal market for YMCAs. For example:
Clearly, the YMCA has a stronghold on the market from each of these perspectives as the only nonprofit providing access to fitness and community-focused experiences. In other words, the YMCA’s founding principles from 1844 to build healthy spirit, body, and mind for all is extremely relevant to today’s young majority.
Millennials are leaders of the health and fitness, experiences, and community-focused movements, and they are raising their children to follow suit. The YMCA is the only organization capable of meeting all these needs and values, giving it a distinct advantage in the marketplace.
Undoubtedly, there is incredible opportunity on every YMCA’s horizon. However, change is inevitable and understanding what this generation wants and needs will be key to your success. This toolkit was created with these challenges in mind and it’s designed to help you create a meaningful, valuable, and sustainable membership experience.
It is our hope that Ys everywhere build upon the YMCA legacy and focus on providing must-have membership for the Millennials. This isn’t a challenge; it’s an opportunity. An opportunity to build a future-focused community poised to prosper and grow for generations to come.
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