The YMCA’s pervasive presence in communities across the United States provides an opportunity to create impact at an enviable scale and reinforce the YMCA’s position as a recognizable and admired brand.  The organization’s affiliated structure, with local YMCA branches and associations supported by the central YMCA of the USA (YMCA USA), creates the environment where this impact and scale is possible.  Simultaneously, it creates fundraising silos that can discourage funders who seek to invest across geographic or media markets that cross YMCA boundaries.

YMCA USA came to Orr Group in 2017 wishing to undertake a study to explore the feasibility of a collective fundraising effort focused on institutional (corporate, corporate foundation and private foundation) funders by YMCA associations in the tristate area, to validate a collaborative approach across the tristate region to attract significant philanthropic investment.

To conduct the study, Orr Group focused on the potential capacity for investment by extensively researching and interviewing over 50 prospective funders. Our goal was to place a value on the return of investing in collaborative fundraising that could be used to leverage local YMCAs to take the steps needed for regional fundraising. Throughout the process, Orr Group treated each stakeholder touch point as an opportunity to engage and cultivate a potential institutional supporter. These conversations were intended to help prepare for successful solicitations and, thus, set the stage for the ultimate success of the collaborative fundraising.

Orr Group used the data collected to assemble a comprehensive, yet practical, report that included findings from the feasibility study, Orr Group’s recommendations as to whether YMCA USA should proceed with this approach, and a framework by which local YMCAs could collaborate on fundraising.

Orr Group researched over 50 prospective funders to establish an ROI on investing in collaborative regional fundraising.