duneland family ymca PMA case study

About the YMCA of Greater Houston

Duneland Family YMCA is an independent YMCA located in Northwest Indiana in the town of Chesterton. It was founded in 1966 as the "Westchester Branch" of the Porter County YMCA and was later incorporated as the Duneland Family YMCA in 1977. Today, it serves more than 1,500 families, or 10,000 individuals, in all five of the Duneland communities, including Chesterton, Porter, Burns Harbor, Dune Acres and Beverly Shores.

 Programs include early childhood development, school-aged childcare, aquatics, summer camp, youth and adult sports leagues, fitness classes, personal training and silver sneakers classes. The location also has senior center, where local seniors can keep active and grow in spirit, mind and body.


Challenge: Expansion and Asset Optimization

For more than two years, Duneland Family YMCA has been discussing the possibility of expanding its current facility to meet the growing needs of the community. The facility was built in 1966 and renovated once in 1981, when the gym was added. It is an aging facility in need of additional space to bolster its current service offerings.

 “Essentially, we’ve grown out of our facility,” said Dave Kasarda, President and CEO, Duneland Family YMCA. “We don’t have any additional space to recapture, and a renovation and expansion is necessary to grow our location.”

 Currently, the organization is in the early stages of capital development planning. Leadership is working to finalize the fundraising budget and then will determine the best use of those funds. As part of this, they’ve also been exploring their return on investment.

 “Would it be reasonable to assume that a renovation would grow membership? And if so, by how much?” said Kasarda. “Having this type of data would be a powerful tool for us at this phase in the process.”

Solution: Digital PMA from Seer Analytics


Results: Validation and Reduced Risk

The YMCA of the USA connected Duneland Family YMCA with Seer Analytics and the Digital Primary Market Area (PMA) analysis tool.

 The Digital PMA is a powerful spatial analytics tool that helps YMCAs better understand their diverse market areas and the members they serve. In addition, it provides leadership with invaluable data for capital planning and marketing personnel with insight to build plans for the many communities they serve.

 “Ultimately, we engaged Seer to figure out what we could expect in terms of growth in our footprint,” said Kasarda. “Is it reasonable to assume that we could add 200 or even 500 families to our membership with the expansion? The tool very candidly showed those numbers in terms of who our members are and who they aren’t.”

 Using the Digital PMA, Duneland Family YMCA was able to map its service area and identify how many members of the community are not currently members of the YMCA. From there, leaders could also see key demographics of this population, such as age and household income, to help tailor marketing efforts and build membership.

 “When going through the capital development planning process and following the YMCA of the USA best practices, at times sharing all of the different studies we’re doing feels like overkill,” said Kasarda. “But, this piece [Digital PMA] has been one of the most valuable things that we’ve paid for.”

Duneland YMCA has begun using the data available in the Digital PMA for much more than capital development planning. In fact, it has become an integral part of the planning process for membership, marketing and programs.

 “It breaks down categorically who you are serving and then compares it to the population in the community by age and percentage,” said Kasarda. “So, let’s say that 22 percent of our members are between age 50 and 60, but 38 percent of the local community falls in that age bracket. That shows us that we aren’t doing a great job at serving that age group, which makes you reevaluate your programs and marketing.”

 Data can also be drilled down by neighborhood, which has allowed Duneland YMCA to identify specific neighborhoods it hasn’t yet reached and then market directly to them. The data can also be reevaluated after a marketing campaign to determine the effectiveness of the campaign.

 “We’re much more strategic today than we’ve ever been, thanks to the Digital PMA,” said Kasarda. “Almost every decision we’re making now in terms of membership, marketing and programs is strategic. We’re able to analyze data, make programmatic changes and then, hopefully, see the results. You cannot afford not to use this product.”