The YMCA of Greater Cleveland

Hit hard by COVID-driven membership declines, an integrated campaign helped increase and retain members in 2021

Analytics + Creative + Digital Marketing Communications Media Relations


The YMCA of Greater Cleveland has 11 branches that span across four counties in Northeast Ohio. As a result of COVID, the organization experienced a significant number of memberships cancelled in 2020, seriously impacting the organization’s revenues.  

The organization needed to quickly pivot in order to keep its doors open and continue positively impacting community members through its outreach services.  


We worked with YMCA of Greater Cleveland to develop an integrated campaign, including both earned and paid media tactics, to raise the awareness of the Ys community impact and increase memberships and retention rates with current members.  

Within our earned media program, we developed a robust media pitching schedule, developed strong relationships with key media partners, identified subject matter experts within YMCA, identified op-ed opportunities and more.  

We collaborated to develop a unique and targeted creative campaign titled, “Upgrade” that encouraged users to upgrade their children’s afterschool program, upgrade your weeknights, upgrade your downtime, etc. This campaign was used in conjunction with our paid components which was focused on membership growth. The paid campaign used tactics such as: 

  • Out of home (OOH) billboards  
  • Broadcast TV  
  • Digital display 
  • Digital audio  
  • Facebook/Instagram advertising 
  • Over-the-top (OTT) 
  • Paid search  


  • A successful creative campaign encouraging potential users upgrade their weeknights, afterschool program and downtime 
  • Increased the number of membership sales by 62% from 2020 to 2021  
  • Increased the number of media mentions by 202% from 2019 to 2020 and then 24% from 2020 to 2021  
  • The integrated campaign won Gold for Nonprofit Integrated Marketing Campaign from Public Relations Society of America’s Cleveland Rocks Awards  

Connect with the team that worked on this project

Senior Managing Director

Lisa Zone

Senior Managing Director / Creative Director

Kevin Poor

Art Director

Ben Rodriguez
See All Case Studies