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The topics discussed here grow out of the bread-and-butter issues that confront my consulting and software clients on a daily basis. We'll talk about prosaic stuff like Membership Management, Meetings and Events Management and Fundraising, broader ideas like security and software project management, and the social, cultural, and organizational issues that impact IT decision-making.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Y so few Ys in the blogosphere?

Of all the various kinds of non-profits we work with, I've thought that the YMCA's might profit most from the community-building benefits of a blog. But when I scan the net for YMCA blogs, I don't see a lot going on out there. Technorati lists two sites tagged YMCA: one is me, and the other is in Japan.

But look at how warm and immediate even the most straightforward blog can be -- for example this newsy site from Camp Copneconic in Michigan. Further information is a click away in many cases, and it is focused on specific knowledge campers and their families will want to have.

You've got to use a blog for the right sort of thing though: Here we see the sports committee of a YMCA using a blog to post complete (and now out of date) notes for an "upcoming" meeting. A wiki might be more appropriate for pages of lengthy material like this - with a link to it from a blog announcement. The site looks great, though, doesn't it? They really ought to get this off the ground!

The 92nd Street Y in New York (not a YMCA but the old YMHA - New York's Jewish Y) has an extremely active blog focusing on Jewish Culture - and doesn't hesitate to jump into contraversial theological discussions. Heavy, eh? The story of the Binding of Isaac in Genesis is read in the synagogue on Rosh Hashannah's second day, so it is a timely post.

While I had a hard time finding blogs posted by YMCAs, I had no trouble finding blogs that mention YMCAs. Most of these are from people's online journals and say stuff like "Gotta start working out again - after all I am paying for that YMCA membership..." More interesting than most, The Fat Lady Blog, by a woman in Bethlehem PA, invites us to share her struggle to lead a healthier life and refers often to her local YMCA.

But this one item might convince you of the effect blogging can have: check out this item from the webblog of one Brian Baily:
Still wonder if the blog conversation can impact your organization? My wife Lori posted about our miserable experience with the local YMCA summer program. Ten days later it's the 6th result on Google when you search for "Coppell YMCA". [Link]
If the Coppell YMCA had been filling cyberspace with its own blog entries, participating very actively in what Mr. Baily calls the "blog conversation", this negative impression could be more than offset.

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Comments on "Y so few Ys in the blogosphere?"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (October 7, 2005 at 11:51 PM) : 

I agree. Membership involvement and community building--two important Y goals--could be very much enhanced through blogs. Ys tend to be more innovative with "real time" programs than with tech, which is why the Ys' national office should be providing some leadership on this. Yet, sadly, even the national YMCA does not have a blog.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (October 10, 2005 at 2:38 PM) : 

Thanks for the link. I run the 92nd Street Y blog in New York and I'm surprised more non-profits (and especially Ys) haven't jumped into the blogosphere yet. It's been a great success for us and has amplified our presence on search engines like Google tremendously. Plus it's fun!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (October 3, 2007 at 11:39 AM) : 

I couldn't agree more. Ys worldwide do terrific work and could develop a much more impactful community presence through appropriate, insightful blogging. I run a Y-serving company called The Redwoods Group and we are just about to roll out a series of discreet on-line communities to share Y operating best practices that can be continuously improved in an open-source manner. Good blogging around the interests of these communities would enhance the Movement and serve the broader community in a unique way.
Thanks for pointing out this opportunity.


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