The North American YMCA Development Organization (NAYDO) 2024 conference was a whirlwind of learning, connection, and heartwarming moments. While we were thrilled to showcase Daxko's solutions, the true stars of the event were the incredible Y stories we encountered.

At the core of NAYDO 2024 were the powerful stories shared by Y’s from around the globe. One particular narrative came from YMCA Romania, where a beacon of hope shines amidst adversity.

YMCA Romania: A Beacon of Hope for Refugees  

Dan Carpov, President of the YMCA of Romania, and Khyra MacMillan, a Daxko team member

Amidst the backdrop of geopolitical tensions, YMCA Romania has become a refuge for Ukrainian families, offering safety, support, and a sense of community. Their tireless efforts, including providing safe haven for families for nearly two years, were a powerful reminder of the Y's commitment to community.

The President of YMCA Romania, Dan Carpov, in a touching gesture of solidarity, approached our booth at the close of the conference. He shared a poignant narrative of resilience and camaraderie amidst adversity. Despite the relative safety afforded by NATO protection, the specter of uncertainty looms large for Ukrainian families seeking shelter at YMCA Romania.

In a show of solidarity and support, YMCA Romania has opened its doors to these displaced families, providing them with sanctuary, sustenance, and a sense of belonging. Carpov shared stories of courage and resilience, highlighting the challenges faced by these families and the unwavering spirit that sustains them.

As he spoke, he presented a handmade bracelet, crafted by the refugee children themselves, as a token of gratitude and friendship. This simple yet profound gesture encapsulated the essence of YMCA Romania—a place of refuge, warmth, and acceptance.

A handmade bracelet from the YMCA of Romania

Beyond providing physical shelter, YMCA Romania fosters a sense of community and connection among its residents. Carpov spoke passionately about the cultural exchange and mutual enrichment that occurs within the walls of the YMCA, transcending boundaries of nationality and language.

In addition to offering refuge, YMCA Romania actively engages with its surrounding community, hosting events and initiatives that promote unity and understanding. From organizing ski competitions that attract international participants to forging partnerships with local organizations, YMCA Romania is a catalyst for positive change in its region. Consider donating to the YMCA's global efforts.

Educational Sessions and Insights

NAYDO 2024 was awash with opportunities to learn from YMCA leaders and discover new tools for improving community impact. One opportunity was the "Unlocking the Future of Fundraising with AI-driven Digital Strategies” session, hosted by digital innovation experts Wendy White and Nick Lindauer.

Wendy White presenting at NAYDO 2024

Drawing from their extensive experience in digital marketing, Wendy and Nick shared invaluable insights on how to use AI to enhance your digital engagement (even when you’re low on resources).  

Here are 12 ways you can use AI to improve your organization’s online presence and connect with more community members.  

  1. Create Member Personas: Use AI tools like ChatGPT to build community member personas based on their unique needs and behaviors. After building a persona, you can even ask the AI questions to better understand the persona. By asking questions like "what programs would interest you?", you can gain valuable insights into the preferences and interests of your community members.
  1. Research Blog Topics: Conduct thorough topic research to discover which subjects resonate most with your community members. This information can then be used to create compelling and engaging blog content that addresses their interests and needs.
  1. Content Mission and CTAs: Define a clear content mission and create strong calls-to-action (CTAs) with a little help from AI tools. This ensures your content serves a purpose and encourages community engagement.  
  1. Create Outlines and Content Briefs: Create outlines and content briefs to streamline the content creation process. This helps maintain focus and clarity throughout the writing process, resulting in more effective and targeted content.
  1. Write the First Draft: Generate the first draft of a blog and to save time and overcome writer's block. Iteration, refinement, and a human touch are all necessary to the content creation process, so make sure to put your own spin on the AI draft.
  1. Analyze GA4 Data: Analyze Google Analytics 4 (GA4) data to understand your community’s behavior and preferences. This data-driven approach helps you make informed decisions about content strategy and optimization.
  1. Create Promotional Assets: Use AI to generate promotional materials and support content distribution efforts. This includes visual elements such as graphics, videos, and social media posts, which help amplify your reach and impact.  
  1. Audit Membership and Program Pages: Conduct regular audits of membership and program pages to ensure they’re optimized for user experience and conversion. You can use AI to assess content, design, and functionality to identify areas for improvement.
  1. Competitive Analysis: Use AI to benchmark performance against industry peers and identify opportunities to stand out in your community. This helps you stay ahead of trends and learn how to better connect with your community.
  1. SEO Recommendations: Assess your website content against SEO (Search Engine Optimization) best practices to improve visibility and search engine ranking. AI can suggest ways to optimize keywords, meta tags, and website structure to reach more community members online.
  1. Conversion Review: Regularly review conversion metrics to identify ways to improve your online content and user experience. Where are you asking community members to take action, and are they following through? AI can help you spot ways to improve online conversions.

Daxko team members and NAYDO attendees speaking at the Daxko booth

A Final Word

Thank you for making NAYDO 2024 a truly unforgettable experience! The Daxko team had a blast connecting with old friends, making new ones, and sharing laughs.

If you missed us at the booth or couldn't attend NAYDO 2024, don't worry! Schedule a demo to connect with us and learn more about how Daxko can support your YMCA's mission.

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