Getting Creative with Resources at YMCAs

Creative ways YMCAs can generate revenue during COVID-19 closures.
min read

Overnight, YMCAs across the country had to close their doors and move their offerings online. The shift required flexibility and ingenuity and has forced YMCA directors to repurpose their resources to generate revenue during an extremely unique time.

Are you struggling to find creative ways to repurpose the resources you have at your YMCA? Read on for some ideas.

Rent to Private Organizations

Your YMCA may be closed to members, but are there essential organizations that might be able to make use of your space while your doors are closed? Can you rent your YMCA out to organizations that host food drives, blood drives or even as overflow for a nearby hospital? Think creatively about how your unused space might come in handy for essential organizations fighting the virus.

Hold Virtual After-School Programs

YMCA has a long history of youth programming, and chances are your YMCA offered enriching after-school programs before COVID-19 arrived. While you’re unable to work with youth in person, you can still hold virtual after-school programs. These programs not only serve youth, but are a big help to their parents, many of whom may be attempting to work from home and struggling to keep their kids occupied and engaged after online schooling ends. Learn more about hosting virtual after-school programs here.

Offer Live Fitness Classes

It is great to provide recorded fitness classes that your members can access on your website or YouTube channel, but in addition to recorded classes, try offering live streaming fitness classes to your members as well. These classes most resemble in-person classes because they require members to commit and show up (albeit virtually) at a certain time, and they allow members to connect with their classmates and instructors—giving them some much needed social interaction as well as a great workout. ACTIVENet can help you manage the registrations for these classes.

Facilitate Virtual Training Sessions

Personal training is a popular offering at most YMCAs and there’s no reason that should stop just because we are all required to stay home. When you offer virtual training sessions, members can continue to build on their fitness and work with their trainer as always, with some understandable modifications of course.

It’s a good idea to let all members know that virtual training sessions are available, as there may be some members that want to ramp up their fitness routine during quarantine and sign on for one-on-one instruction.

Offer Mental Health/Well-Being Classes

This is a trying time for everyone, and experts predict that COVID-19 may lead to a serious mental health crisis as people try to cope with the stress and anxiety that comes with living through a worldwide pandemic. Your membership base is no different than the general public, and no doubt some of them are struggling with feelings of isolation, fear, depression and anxiety.

To cope with the hard feelings, the CDC recommends stretching, meditation and eating well-balanced meals. Tap into the skills your trainers, instructors and employees have, and offer online classes that help your members maintain not just their physical health, but their mental health, too.

Host Fitness Classes for Kids

Just as you may choose to offer after school programming for kids, think about hosting virtual fitness classes for kids as well. They, too, are stuck at home, and likely bouncing off the walls without recess, gym class and extracurricular activities to participate in. Fun online classes like Zumba, martial arts and even dance classes will keep kids entertained and moving.


It’s a challenging time for many organizations and businesses—and we know it can feel weird to fundraise during a time when some of your members may be out of work and hurting. But your fundraising efforts must go on. You may even find that your members who are able to donate are willing to donate now more than ever.

If asking for fiscal support right now is too tough, consider hosting a fundraiser. One idea is to see if you can round up some volunteers to sew cloth masks and then offer the masks to those who need them in exchange for a small donation.

Utilize Podcasts and YouTube

Out of necessity, YMCAs are discovering new ways to connect with their members—so don’t let this opportunity go to waste. If hosting a podcast or starting a YouTube channel for your YMCA has been on your wish list, now is a great time to get started.

Tap in to the expertise of your staff—from the nutritionists to the trainers to the childcare workers—and ask them to share their expertise on your podcast or channel (Facebook Live works great too, if you don’t want to learn a new technology.) Your members can then access your offerings in a whole new way and find motivation and inspiration from your YMCA, even from afar.

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April 29, 2020
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