Many nonprofits use digital asset management (DAM) systems to coordinate marketing efforts between chapters, partners, and volunteers. Our case study of YMCA England & Wales showcases how they use the Widen Collective® across 101 local organizations to create collateral that aligns with national campaigns and brand guidelines.
In this article, we’ll explore how their evolving use of the Collective advances broader organizational initiatives and goals.
It all starts with Insights
In 2019, Joshua Hastings joined the team at the national council of YMCAs in London. As their only graphic designer, his role includes administration of their DAM site. One of his first priorities was to use the analytic tools in the Collective’s Insights app to understand who is using their content and how. “I began evaluating and analyzing the content that was on there...introducing the element of reporting and analytics, and linking some of the findings that I’ve made with our wider and strategic objectives,” Joshua shared.
He used this data to identify improvement opportunities in three interconnected areas: their use of the Templates app, their content strategy, and their site’s user experience.
Templates in the Collective allows Joshua to create flyers, digital banners, and other marketing collateral that can be customized by individual YMCAs to support local events and fundraising efforts. Using Insights, Joshua was able to see which templates were used most frequently, and by whom. After gathering feedback from chapters that were (and weren’t) using these templates, he made informed adjustments to each file so they better met regional needs while still aligning with national brand standards.
Insights data on asset performance also shapes Joshua’s content strategy. For example, he created a variety of graphic-enhanced images for local YMCAs to use on social media as part of a national fundraising event to address homelessness, called Sleep Easy. Insights data showed that very few local chapters downloaded these files, because they used photography in their social posts instead. “And so now that I have a bit of data to support me in coming up with a content plan for next year when we do the same event, I’ll be able to make decisions about…what content is the most effective.” With this data in mind he’ll invest more in photography (and less in graphics) so that local YMCAs have the creative content they want and need. This planning will also make their content production workflow more efficient, allowing regions to focus on more strategic work.
Joshua also uses Insights to understand the site’s user activity. “I was able to identify which YMCA’s were interacting with our content the most, and reach out to them for information about what's working and what could be improved. I identified those as our superusers, essentially, as they were able to provide a lot of insight in terms of how it was working.”
This user feedback — along with data on login, search, and download activity — uncovered opportunities for system optimization. Through metadata refinements he was able to improve the accuracy of their search results. And by continually updating elements on the dashboard, including spotlight searches, he’s increased the visibility of frequently-used assets. He also posts dashboard messages to promote new content, making the Collective a tool for internal communication. These improvements to the user experience help drive system engagement across the local YMCAs.
Meeting larger strategic objectives
These data-driven enhancements to templates, content strategy, and the user experience work together to advance several larger strategic goals: conserving resources, working with agility, and advancing fundraising efforts.
Like most nonprofits, YMCA England & Wales operates with limited resources, and needs to stretch the value of every dollar spent. Maximizing their use of Templates not only eliminates the need to have a designer on staff at each local YMCA, but also extends the value of their content through repurposing and reuse. Further, using the Collective as the central repository for all creative content allows photography taken by one local chapter to be easily shared with others.
With the Collective supporting their creative workflows, Joshua said local YMCAs have been able to continue “business as usual” through unexpected events, like the pandemic. “When lockdown hit, it meant that we had to quickly resort to working from home,” he shared. “[The Collective] proved to be a more effective way for people to access files than remotely logging onto our server.”
Further, local YMCAs relied on templates to quickly launch campaigns aimed at helping those in need because of the pandemic. “The work of our YMCA’s is so varied — we provide accommodation and housing, child care, gyms, nurseries, cafes, all sorts of services to local communities for young people. To come up with messaging for all of those different touch points was unrealistic. So using Templates enables YMCA’s to tailor the information based upon needs [that are] changing on a regular basis, weekly if not daily basis. Those templates were essential for giving them the tools to be able to come up with branded artwork quickly, to a high quality, and manage that process independently.”
As a nonprofit, YMCA relies on fundraising to carry out their mission. By serving as the central repository for all brand assets, the Collective ensures their messaging is clear and cohesive across national and local efforts. This unified story extends the reach and success of these campaigns, and in turn increases the impact of their work.
If you’re interested in optimizing your DAM platform to drive similar efficiencies across your organization, Widen’s brand management maturity model can help. This guide outlines how to make incremental changes to maximize the use of DAM, scale workflows, and support larger organizational efforts.