YMCA of Northeastern Ontario
The YMCA of Northeastern Ontario’s Immigrant Services team has been helping newcomers settle into the Greater Sudbury region for more than 10 years. Their multi-lingual settlement staff work collaboratively with community partners to help newcomers build a personalized settlement plan and connect to their new community. With the in-person gathering restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and an overall desire to do more service provision online, the YMCA needed to quickly enhance virtual delivery of their programs and services, as well as to promote these services to the community. A digital engagement strategy and communications tools were needed to amplify awareness and engagement of this important service, alongside consulting on digital broadcasting best practices. They chose sagecomm, a longtime YMCA NEO partner, to design and execute these new digital and promotional systems.
The project began with rapid research with staff to understand the opportunities in translating in-person programs into online formats and the barriers that newcomers face when accessing services. Using this understanding of audience needs and organizational goals, a new position and key messages were developed for the service, along with a strategy for digital engagement. A marketing and engagement campaign and tools, including digital and social media ads, e-newsletters and a promotional video, were implemented to increase awareness of the YMCA’s programs and services for newcomers, and to encourage use of programming in this new format. A digital best practices guideline was also developed for employees to use as a reference for creating strong content and designing engaging virtual learning sessions. The result has been an increased uptake in connections with the YMCA and greater awareness of their programs in the community.