ymca of memphis & the mid-south PMA case study

About the YMCA of Greater Houston

Since its establishment in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1909, the YMCA of Memphis & The Mid-South has grown to include 11 full facility branches and three program branches. The Association currently serves approximately 19,000 members of all ages and segments of the community in and around Memphis.

 Programs include early childhood development, before-and-after-school childcare, summer camps, swim lessons, youth and adult sports leagues, diabetes prevention, and prevention and early intervention for at-risk youth, among others.

Challenge: Expansion and Asset Optimization

YMCA Memphis & The Mid-South had been working with Gro Development, a facility design, development and consulting company, on capital development to determine where to invest funds to build and renovate branches.

 “One of the things that we wanted to do as an association - as we’re looking at innovative ways to redefine membership - is figure out how to best understand the market and provide a vision for the future,” said Brian McLaughlin, Vice President of Operations for YMCA of Memphis & The Mid-South..

Solution: Digital PMA from Seer Analytics


Results: Validation and Reduced Risk

Gro Development connected the YMCA of Memphis & The Mid-South with Seer Analytics. Seer experts recommended its Digital Primary Market Area (PMA) tool to get YMCA leadership the critical data necessary to make important capital development decisions.

 “The Digital PMA was beyond our expectations, really,” McLaughlin said. “As part of our Gro Development project, the Digital PMA is a really important piece that lets us identify our priorities, then build a roadmap and a strategy around it, as it relates to future growth with our branches.”

 Seer’s Digital PMA is a powerful spatial analytics tool that helps YMCAs better understand their diverse market areas and members. It provides leadership with invaluable data for capital planning and marketing personnel with insight to build plans and programs for the many communities served.

 “We are in the process of building our growth strategy right now, but what I can say is getting the Gro study and the PMA data really changed the way we viewed our priorities,” said McLaughlin. “This data made us move in a different direction than where we thought we were going when using our own data.”

Using the Digital PMA, the YMCA of Memphis & The Mid-South was able to map its service area and identify how many members of the community are and are not currently members of the YMCA. Leaders could also see key demographics of these populations, such as age and household income.

 “Current PMA data has helped us to narrow our specifics down to show the need for a Y or our services in a community – it has absolutely helped with our capital campaigns,” said McLaughlin.

 And, the YMCA is using the data available in the Digital PMA for much more than capital development planning. After the YMCA had the Digital PMA for only a few weeks, the data began directly bolstering marketing and partnership efforts.

 “We’ve used the Digital PMA immediately to address our marketing needs and used the data to directly drive decisions in the marketing department,” said McLaughlin. “The zip code feature has been extremely helpful. Interestingly enough, it’s changed the way we market because we have data at the zip code level and can be more intentional with the audience we are trying to reach.”

 Not only has the data helped the development team better understand community demographics, but it has also helped strengthen proposals for contributions. For example, the YMCA was recently approached with the opportunity to pursue a large grant through a healthcare company.

 “We used the PMA data to define the need very clearly, and it actually showed that the need was even greater than the people sitting around the table thought that it was,” said McLaughlin.

 And, for an association like YMCA of Memphis & The Mid-South that has provided Digital PMA access to leadership at its branches, the tool continues to offer value.

 “A lot of executive directors at our branches have used PMA data to really understand their community, as well as benchmark and target needs and opportunities, both internal and external,” said McLaughlin.

 When asked to describe Seer’s Digital PMA in three words, McLaughlin said, “Intuitive, Empowering, Insightful.”

 “The Digital PMA has been very helpful for our branch operators and for our association,” said McLaughlin. “Its ability to look locally at a branch and segment that data has made it an invaluable tool. It is a very useful tool for marketing, philanthropy, growth strategies and operations.”