You are on page 1of 89



AP R I L 2 0 1 2 ED I TI ON

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 2

Why Do Y Digital Engagement?
Here’s a collection of the “reasons why” YMCA needs to embrace the digital landscape
from YMCA leaders across Canada:
“The YMCA has a history of changing and adapting to meet the needs of
our community. It is part of the reason why we exist today. The digital
revolution now requires us. It’s another way our community is changing
and the YMCA needs to work hard to meet those expectations.”
Randy Klassen, CEO, YMCA of Regina and Chair, Digital Engagement Workgroup

“This 21st century is a complex time with many challenges.
We need fresh approaches and expertise. Digital engagement
uncovers the experts among us. When we leverage the
voices of our communities, everybody wins.”
Peter Skillen, Manager of Professional Learning for Social Media, YMCA of Greater Toronto

“Using social media platforms helps us brand ourselves as
different from the rest of the crowd. It humanizes relationships
and lets people know who we really are.”
Charmian Harvey, Directrice, Stratégie de marque et relations externes, Les YMCA du Québec

”Why digital engagement? It’s to provide YMCA employees, customers
and fans a voice and a platform to engage in the mission of the YMCA.
It’s to provide outstanding customer service. It’s to maintain the
personalities and energy of the YMCA staff across all communication
outlets. It’s to create outstanding multimedia content. It’s to raise
awareness of the YMCA brand and services offered to the community.”
Kevin Wilkinson, IT Manager, YMCA of Edmonton

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 3

“The YMCAs have been part of the conversation in building healthy
communities for more than 160+ years. We must continue to engage
with the changing dynamic; not only to share our stories but to activate
the broader community. Digital Engagement is just one part of our
evolving story. To infinity...and beyond!”
Abad Khan, Communications & Development Coordinator, YMCA-YWCA of Saint John

“Building communities by nurturing relationships – that’s what we do best!
With so many new ways of communicating with our members, participants
and fellow service providers, we have an opportunity to extend our reach
and invite people into the YMCA on a daily basis though digital engagement.
Being active in a digital environment will allow the YMCA to continue its
tradition of being friendly, welcoming and meaningful to many.”
Angela de Burger, Manager, Communications, YMCA Canada

“The digital world has opened up remarkable and countless opportunities to
enhance the ways we engage with our customers. Instant communication
provides many exciting avenues of interaction and collaboration and the
ability to expand our valuable services and the impact we have at our
buildings and sites. As we explore new enriching connections, we need to
embrace “the online experience, helping further our mission and welcome
our members young and old, to these “favourite” places to visit.”
Callum Mckee, Manager, Outdoor Services, YMCA of Cambridge & Kitchener-Waterloo

“To continue exceeding the emerging demands of key stakeholders there
needs to be a well-understood and practiced way of involvement in our
processes with collaboration being our most important competency. Our
aim is to provide the most realistic and feasible solutions to the operational
challenges andopportunities we face. The YMCA needs to be committed to
developing a model of collaborative delivery beyond what we have today.”
Dan Trepanier, National Manager, YMCA of Greater Toronto

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 4

“Digital engagement is about Passion - to be entrenched in a community
that eagerly welcomes our presence, input and insight. Sharing between
people engages, builds trust and creates amazing new relationships based
on the telling of stories, listening and raising awareness. Never before have
we had such instantaneous access to millions of minds globally. The digital
world is expanding at a staggering pace and YMCA needs to be growing
right along with it.”
Nadina Kaminer, Communications Manager, YMCA of Calgary

“If the Y doesn’t embrace the world of digital engagement, the world will
pass us by. Digital will enable us to enter the larger conversation around
us, providing support to and empowering the Brand. We need to be seen
as embracing these tools. We need to be seen as a leader, engaging our
youth, families, adults, and yes, seniors, listening and truly hearing what our
communities are saying about us.”
Jeanette Heywood, VP, Philanthropy & Association Advancement, YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka

“The YMCA has been building healthy communities in Canada since 1851,
and we have successfully adapted to the changing needs of our society,
year over year. Now is the time, to make the natural leap into building
healthy ONLINE communities too. This guidebook has been created in order
to support our Federation in building the skills required. Enjoy the read!”
Meghan Reddick, VP, Communications, YMCA Canada

“The success of any YMCA can be defined by its ability to build strong and
meaningful relationships with it members, donors, volunteers, and staff. The
rise of digital engagement provides us with a new set of tools to strengthen
those relationships. And while “digital engagement” won’t replace traditional
means of relationship building at our Ys, it will go a long way to enhance the
connections we have with all of our stakeholders.”
Brian Bratt, GM, Communications/Brand Strategy, YMCA of Niagara

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 5

YMCA Speaker’s Corner · Here’s What You Told Us
Don’t take our word! Have a peek at the results from our 2011
Digital Engagement survey of YMCA staff from across Canada:

The Top External Reasons Why YMCA Should
Embrace Digital Engagement:

Deliver YMCA Awareness, Buzz and Publicity
Build a Better YMCA Participant Experience
Engage a Youth Audience
Support YMCA Fundraising Efforts
Drive Overall YMCA Spend Efficiency/Save Marketing Costs

The Top Internal Reasons Why YMCA Should
Embrace Digital Engagement:
#1 Greater YMCA Staff Engagement
#2 Increase YMCA Speed of Access to Expertise & Knowledge
#3 Reduce YMCA Communication Costs
#4 Better Dissemination of YMCA Strategies and Initiatives
#5 Build New YMCA Capabilities

Top Types of Digital Content You’d Like To
See from the YMCA:
#1 Promoting new initiatives/promotions/news
#2 Be top of mind for what’s happening now
#3 Welcome new visitors/members/donors
#4 Disseminate expert advice/educate
#5 Inspire/provide role models


Y Digital Factoid - There are 2,145 YMCA Canada people (e.g. staff, volunteers) currently on LinkedIn; they are each connected to

205 colleagues – that’s 439,832 potential professional connections!

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 6

(titles hyperlinked to sections in document)



Purpose and Benefits
Scope and The Digital Engagement Landscape
Myths of the Social Web and Digital Engagement
YMCA Digital Brand Values and Assets



V. Getting Started – Implementation

VI. YMCA Digital Engagement Guidelines


The Guidelines

Before You Engage…

Using Digital Engagement For Work Purposes

User and Member - Generated Content

Guidance on Acceptable Content

Using Digital Engagement for Personal Purposes

Posting Photos/Videos Online

Abide By Your YMCA Employment Policy 

Website Development And Brand Consistency 

Protection Of Children

Working With Teens Online

Contractors, Bloggers And Endorsements

Guidance on the YMCA Member/Volunteer/Donor/External

People Digital Experience

Enforcement and Impact

Contacts and Guidelines Updates



VII. YMCA Top Tips from The Industry
VIII. Top 10 Dos and Don’ts
IX. Decision Engagement Decision Tree
X. Troubleshooting Q & A


YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 7



The Customer Landscape 
The Trends 
A Web of Resources and People 

Digital Engagement Workgroup 

Privacy Policies 


Sample Job Descriptions 



Where You Will Find the YMCA on the Web
15 Great Examples of Digital Engagement 
More Resources – Top 150+ Digital Survival Websites
Glossary of Terms


Y Social Stories Factoid – In 2011, the YMCAs in Canada impacted 2,000,000 people every year; at least ½ of them are on Facebook and

½ of them jump on everyday, making 500,000 Canadians capable of sharing great Y stories on a daily basis.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 8

Digital engagement offers an unparalleled opportunity for YMCAs in Canada. Better
adoption of digital culture, technology and new media will allow the Y to connect with
their staff, members, volunteers, donors, community and other key stakeholders like
never before.
Both in our personal and professional lives, we’ve seen the rise of digital platforms, like
Facebook, Twitter and blogs, create amazing opportunities to share, connect, inform,
escape, inspire and commune online, and really humanize organizations. This would have
been virtually impossible a decade ago. Our YMCA needs to be leading this movement
and showcasing all our great stories and starting new conversations in the vast digital
world “out there”.

So that’s the awesome part. However, the web can also be a complicated maze with a long
memory. We need to protect YMCA’s high standards of honesty, integrity, impartiality and
staff conduct. Whereas it might be convenient to use something like Zappo’s simple social
media policy one-liner “be yourself and don’t be stupid” to steer our efforts, we recognize
that YMCA Canada is a large federation consisting of 44 YMCA and 8 YMCA-YWCA Member
Associations. We need some role models to aspire to and a safety net to catch our missteps.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 9

We have pulled this handbook together for your education and empowerment, not as a
rulebook (although we do have guidelines enclosed) but more as a survival guide (as
others have found, it’s really tough work to do this well), with the hope of providing
you six benefits:
1. Digital Effectiveness - we need you to be great at this work and want to encourage a
fuller embrace of digital engagement culture in Ys all across Canada.
2. Online Guidelines – we want to identify the key dos and don’ts for YMCA staff, partners
and members in their official, professional and personal roles.
3. Resources/Governance –we want to steer you toward the right answers and people to
talk to when in doubt or confronted by a particular situation.
4. Risk Mitigation - we want to protect a strong Y organization and take appropriate steps to
facilitate a more open and transparent YMCA in Canada.
5. Offer Employee Feedback Forums - we want to create opportunities for continuous
feedback, learning and improvement as YMCA staff and extended family.
6. Support a Strong Brand – we want to align on a refreshed brand for all YMCAs and YMCAYWCAs in Canada and support that effort as best we can in digital engagement spaces.
Although we have provided some tips and tricks, this is not a comprehensive guide. We
encourage all Y employees to stay abreast of changes and improve their digital savviness
through independent learning, personal use of the tools, technologies, blogs, forums and
news sites. For a thorough list of our best web spaces, see Addendum F - More Resources –
Top 150+ Digital Survival Sites.
YMCA employees know how to live the values of caring, respect, honesty, inclusiveness
and responsibility every day, whether they’re YouTubing, tweeting, talking with members
in person or chatting with family, friends and neighbours. With that in mind, the guidelines
in this handbook should supplement already existing employee conduct, ethics, child
protection, confidentiality and privacy policies that exist for your local Y.

Y Community Factoid – YMCAs are the original community brand. We’ve been doing this for 160 years in Canada,

Facebook (8 years old) and Twitter (6 years old) have some catching up to do!

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 10

When we use the term “digital engagement” , we use it as an umbrella term to describe
a culture shift to a more open and collaborative organization and a full toolset of web
technologies (some call them Web 2.0 or social media) —including wikis, blogs, forums,
social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), sharing tools (YouTube, Flickr), communities,
intranets, mobile and location-based software, apps and mash-ups. Have a look at the full
array of platforms, tools and technologies in the image below:














As the diagram above indicates, the web keeps splintering. We all need to stay abreast and
operate on the key platforms and media platforms that our audience is camping out on
nowadays. But make no mistake - participation on these platforms is to deepen involvement
with the end goal of bringing people back to our core - our content, blog, community
and website hubs, where we can truly engage in a deeper conversation, relationship and

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 11

To illustrate the breadth of what digital engagement really encompasses, we’ve highlighted
16 of the more valuable and popular digital platforms and tools as a backdrop to the rest of
the guide.
OWNED SPACES – brand digital channels, tools and forums that are created, managed
and hosted by the YMCA:
1. The Corporate Website and Blog – the home base for digital engagement.
A strong website can act as the official home for news, activity and information
and a corporate hosted blog can provide recent updates, easily linkable sources
and enable commenting and dialogue with audiences. Popular blog platforms:
Wordpress, Typepad, Blogger, Posterous and Drupal.
2. Email/CRM – the targeted online and automated communication to key
YMCA audiences (members, prospects and stakeholder databases). Although
now mature technology, email is still one of the best ways to drive action and
connect deeply with customers and audiences. Popular CRM Tools –Salesforce,
Oracle CRM, Microsoft Dynamics, SAP and Zoho. Popular email services:
Constant Contact, iContact, MadMimi and Mailchimp.
3. Online communities/Wikis – collaborative platforms of customers/partners
(external) or staff (internal) designed to co-innovate, co-support, co-produce and
provide peer-to-peer exchanges. Popular community/wiki platforms: Joomla,
Jive, Lithium, Ning, PBWorks, Wikispace, Atlassian.
SHARED SPACES – web pages, extensions and tools that involve participation

and interaction with audiences hosted on third party platforms:

4. Social networks – online platforms that focus on building social networks or
social relations among people, who share interests, activities, media, events and
ideas. Popular social networks: Facebook, LinkedIn, Google +.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 12

5. Microblogs – blog platforms that allow users to exchange small
elements of content such as short sentences, individual images, or video links.
Popular microblogs: Twitter, Yammer, Tumblr.
6. Video sharing networks – video-based platforms that allow users to upload,
share and comment on videos. Popular video sharing
networks – YouTube, Vimeo, Metacafe.
7. Photo sharing networks – photo-based platforms that allow users to
upload, share, tag, comment on and sell portfolios and individual photos.
Popular photo sharing networks – Flickr, Instagram, Picasa, Shutterfly, Pinterest.
8. Event sharing networks – event management websites that help organizers
collect RSVPs, sell tickets, reach a new or larger audience and integrate with
social networks. Popular event sharing networks –,,
9. Location-based/local networks – mobile-enabled platforms that allow
users to check in, share, access discounts, rate and provide comments and
media about specific locations and venues to their contacts and friends. Popular
location-based networks - Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp, Facebook Places, Google
10. Reviews, answers and opinion sites – customer, expert and user-rated
and curated platforms that allow people to rate, evaluate and comment on
products, services and topics they find interesting. Top review sites – ePinions,
Get Satisfaction, Amazon, Tripadvisor, Quora, Yahoo Answers.
11. Thought Leadership Platforms – online websites that allow people to
upload, broadcast, record live, embed and share insight and business learning
with a wider audience. Popular thought leadership platforms – Slideshare, Scribd,
Squidoo, WebEx, GoToMeeting, Ustream.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 13

12. Social Bookmarks and News sites – widgets (small applications installed
within web pages) and websites that aggregate users’ top suggested links and
stories that are subsequently ranked based on popularity. Popular social
bookmarking sites – Stumble Upon, Digg, Reddit.
13. Mobile marketing and Apps – the use of messenging, applications (apps),
augmented reality, mobile gaming, QR codes (and other 2D codes), mapping
tools and location-specific software and signage to deliver benefits in context
with use of a wireless device. Popular mobile operating systems – iPhone iOS,
Android, Windows OS, Blackberry OS.
14. Search Engine Marketing and Optimization – improving the visibility of
a website or a web page in search engines via “paid” or “natural/organic” search
results. Popular search engines: Google, Yahoo, Bing,
15. Digital Measurement and Monitoring – tracking the key activity, people
and analytics in digital engagement and social media environments. Popular
monitoring tools – Google Analytics, Technorati, Radian6, Sysomos, Klout,
Google Alerts.
16. Social Media Dashboards – content management and tracking software
that integrates multiple social media environments so that many people on
a team can update, manage, monitor and maintain social pages in one place.
Popular dashboards – Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Seesmic, CoTweet.
For a more comprehensive breakdown of the top 12 digital engagement platforms, take a
look at Addendum H - “Top Social Platforms - Tips and Tricks of the Top 12”.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 14


Myth #1 – Digital behavior and social media is just for kids.
• Canadian Social Media Age Breakdown – usage is younger-skewed
but very broad spread, 18-34 years old {86% are participating},
35-54 {64%}, 55+ {43%}.
• Facebook’s biggest member growth target in 2012 is 65+ years old, there are
as many 55-64 year olds on Facebook as there are 13-17 year olds.
• The average age of an iPad user is 43; the average age of a blogger is 38.
• Canada is the world’s biggest user of LinkedIn – the top professional network.

Myth #2 – Canadians are late adopters and conservative online.
• Online penetration – Canada is #1 in the world; 79% or 26.7 million
Canadians are currently online.
• Canada ranks #1, #1, #4, #6 globally in online video, social gaming,
Facebook use and Twitter participation respectively.
• Business use - 90% of Canadian businesses have adopted at least some
social media tools; 61% of businesses say they track what people are
saying about their brand online.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 15

Myth #3 – There are no ways to monetize efforts on the social web.
• Engaged brands grow their value +18%, closed brands lose value 6%.
• Many not–for-profits are expanding their digital presence in order to
build (ranked in order of priority): fundraising, awareness, share successes,
engage in dialogue, launch campaigns and recruit volunteers.
• Important conversations are happening about your industry, the YMCA
and its influences whether you are there or not. What’s your ROI (return
on ignoring)?

Myth #4 – Brands and organizations don’t belong on people’s social spaces.
• 85% of people actually want organizations and companies
engaging with them in social media.
• Tweeters are three times more likely to embrace brands than
average population.
• The average Facebook user follows at least 7 brands and is connected
80 community pages, groups and events.
Myth #5 – Social media and web 2.0 is a fad.
• 70% of Canadians are now part of social media, half of us jump on
these sites everyday.
• If you are under 35 years old, more than ½ of your news and purchase
influences are now received through user-generated ratings and digital
word of mouth.
• We are spending 40% of our media time in digital spaces, that’s 87%
more time in social media than we did last year.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 16

Myth #6 – Digital engagement = Facebook pages and Twitter walls
• Less than ½ of executives believe Facebook will be the dominant
social network 3 years from now – the tools keep changing.
• The most important factors in being successful in digital engagement
are surprisingly less about the technology and more about: listening,
content, strategic focus, customer focus and culture; tools and media
rank well down the list.
• A new player is in town – mobile is expected to be the key growth engine
of digital over the next decade, the average number of apps on an iPhone
is now 40.

* Sources - Ipsos Reid 2011, Socialbakers 2012, Maritz 2011, Big Research, Quantcast, Internet WorldStats,
comScore 2011, Facebook statistics, Twitter statistics, SAS Canada, 6S Marketing, Forrester,  University of
Massachusetts Dartmouth, Opinion Research Corporation, Edison Research, DDB research, Pew Internet
Research, Nielsen, Agent Wildfire

Y Generation Factoid – 65% of YMCA’s participants are Generation Y or younger (born in 1982 or later) – 91% of the older part of

this age group (born 1982-1993) are on Facebook and 66% of them find out noteworthy stuff or news on

Facebook or via texting first (only 22% for the rest of the population).

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 17





The primary rule of engagement in digital spaces is to “be yourself”. As most experts can
attest to the personal and conversational nature of social media, “If you wouldn’t say it to a
friend, don’t say it on the social web.”*
However, we also know that YMCA culture is almost like family. We’ve been successful by
acting and practicing our values for the last 160 years, we should live them online too.
The best digital brands speak online in a clear, consistent message about who they are,
what they do and why it matters. It’s one of our collective strengths that brings 20,000 staff,
69,000 volunteers/donors, 192,000 members and 2,000,000 potential stories under one roof.
Here are some YMCA thoughts on the tone and substance of Y digital communications:

A. Brand Digital Values:
• Practice the YMCA central values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility
• The YMCA Tone of Voice and Brand Personality are driven by six attributes;
determined, genuine, welcoming, hopeful, nurturing and fun.

• Use an active, not passive voice (follow Copyblogger’s call for clear,
direct communication)
• Act confidently as THE thoughtleaders in all digital channels (see Eloqua’s
content for building their industry thought leadership)
• Don’t get swept up in the issues, become a beacon for solutions (see the
inspirational tone of
* - quote by James Cherkoff, Collaborate Marketing

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 18

• Use short, clear sentences where possible (see Seth Godin for a snappy
conversational digital writing style)
• Speak with enthusiasm and passion about what we do (see Gary Vaynerchuck
for an injection of passion)
• Use testimonials frequently to provide a human face to the Y Brand (consult
Twitter stories for inspirational awesomeness that started with 140 characters)

• Use human, personal language (look to Threadless for the most humanistic
communication on the web)
• Ask for member and fan input (build a community of champions and genuinely
ask for advice and contribution like Mozilla does)
• Be conversational - not too formal, but not too familiar either (see Whole Food’s
Twitter account for achieving that happy balance)

• Tell inspiring stories (check out Innocent Drinks' tales of beverage)
• Use positive and upbeat language (how can you not love the happy people at
Moo Cards)
• Communicate optimism (feel the power of the possible with GE’s Ecomagination)

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 19

• Organize information in ways that are intuitive for the audience (follow the
straightforward and jaw dropping approach and web architecture of Nike Plus
• Explain options and choices available (learn from the layout and features of the
world’s top branded Facebook pages)
• Show that we think and plan ahead on what will impact us in the future
(take a page from Charity Water’s framing up of the world’s challenges)

• Use short and crisp sentences (aspire to the quick snappy posts of Holy Kaw)
• Speak energetically and enthusiastically (help people escape the daily grind like
Joel Runyon’s Blog of Impossible Things does)
• Tell stories that demonstrate fun for all ages (discover tales of adventure through
Patagonia’s The Cleanest Line blog)
• Show that we don’t take ourselves too seriously (get a sense of the fun that
Southwest has through its blog Nuts About Southwest)
• Celebrate the fun in everyday, ordinary things (find the interesting in the everyday
with Neil Pasricha’s 1000 Awesome Things)
• Tell your audiences what they want and need to know with relevant benefits (look
at how info and data is visualized and jazzed up at Daily Infographics)
For a more thorough understanding of the YMCA Brand visual and verbal standards and quick
tips, consult our official YMCA Brand Guidelines.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 20

Before jumping into the “deep end” of digital engagement, ask yourself some important
questions first:
• Why do I want to participate in digital engagement/social media?
• How will this really benefit my YMCA organization and its brand?
• Who is my audience (e.g. donors, members, participants, partners, employees,
volunteers, and media)? What do they want? How can I deliver it?
• How will this improve my audience’s experience?
• Do I have the right resources and people to pull this off in the short and long term?
• Have I thought through my content well enough? Will it add value and get noticed
and talked about?
• Will I be able to track whether or not I’m being successful in this effort? What will I
measure? How will I measure it? And how frequently will I report it?
Great answers to these questions will set you off on the right path. If you are comfortable with
your answers to the above, here are 10 key steps for good digital beginnings:
1. Setup
• If you haven’t yet, ensure you set up brand and personal profiles on the key tools and
networks you want to participate. Ensure you document in writing key passwords
and profiles. Use liberally the assets provided by YMCA Canada for brand consistency,
inclusive of the YMCA Brand Guidelines.
2. Pledge Allegiance to the Rules
• Read/reread the YMCA Digital Engagement Guidelines.
• Don’t be a wildcard. Know what types of content and conversation you want to steer
away from and stick to that plan; also think ahead of time how to respond to different
thorny or unwelcome issues.
• Secure necessary management approvals ahead of time.
• Provide your username and passwords to your manager.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 21

3. Get a Hearing Aid – not a real hearing aid, but a listening tool
• Understand the correct forms of behavior and etiquette in each digital
environment (trust us, what works in one likely doesn’t work in another).
• Find out what stuff really gets noticed and talked about online from other
organizations. What’s awesome and interesting? And what’s boring, pushy
and overbearing?
• Use a free and low cost tool like Google Alerts, Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to track
keywords and topics.
• If you can afford to, spend 3-4 months getting a command of the: who, when,
where and whats of each of your key digital environments.
4. Rally the Team
• Recruit passionate and online-savvy employees, members, volunteers and
YMCA friends.
• Leverage your internal and external team for insight, content, support and
• Identify specific team roles and staff owners of platforms, tools and content.
• Consider sharing resources among departments, or even Associations.
5. Start Friending
• Friend, follow, link to and/or drop a line to people that share your local
geography and/or interests.
• Tell them and credit them with appreciation of their support and content
(secretly, we really do all want to be liked and to be recognized out here online).
6. Build Your Plan
• Set your goals and strategy. Here are 5 essential elements that constitute a great
digital engagement plan, we call it FLIRT:

· Focus – what is your key digital engagement focus and strategy that is:
consistent with the Y brand and your local organization, achieves what
your customer wants and has a likelihood of achieving your objectives?

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 22

· Language and Content – follow the brand tone of voice. Who is going
to produce the content (posts, videos, photos), when and how? Establish
and stick to an editorial calendar.

· Incentives and Outreach – what is going to make our audience stand
up and pay attention and excitedly tell others? Who are these prospective
ambassadors and how are we going to approach them?

· Rules and Guidelines – make sure all the people involved in your
programs and communities know what is allowed and not allowed. Before
starting, do role plays and scenarios to see how people might act before
they need to in real life.

· Tools and Platforms – where is all this great activity going to occur? Is it
a simple Facebook effort or is it a matrix of a number of different
environments? Do they integrate with your website? Have you set these
environments up for maximum work efficiency and effectiveness?
• Digital success is achieved over time. Ensure your plan assumes that you will need
to be doing this for at least 1-2 years before you can fairly evaluate your success.
7. Map out Your Content – if your YMCA audience is king, then your content is queen
• Before starting, identify at least 50, if not 100 things that you can talk about, take
a picture of, or film. You want your audience to love and have value for your
• Recognize that the best corporate examples on the social web post 1-2
Facebook posts per day and 4-5 tweets daily so they are always considered
fresh and relevant.
• Test some of your starter thoughts on your intended audience early so they
will be more bought into what you are doing down the line; they’ll appreciate
your overture.
8. Establish Milestones and Goals – measure key indicators to gauge the success of
your efforts
• Determine the key 5-6 things you are going to track out of the gate and make
sure you find tools that allow you to monitor these over time.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 23

• Benchmark against similar organizations to have a basis for comparison.
• Caution – just because you can easily measure it, doesn’t mean it counts. Website
visits and number of friends or followers, albeit important, can send you down
the wrong path of “gaming for popularity” versus truly engaging with your
audience. Look for deeper engagement and sentiment metrics too.
9. Add Value and Respond Correctly
• Make sure whatever you are doing is adding value in your audience’s lives
• Leverage the three fan motivations through digital activities:

1. it makes them feel good (e.g. shared values, kinship, good cause),

2. it makes them look good (e.g. fame, creative expression, leader
board), or

3. they are getting something tangible out of it (e.g. previews,
freebies, VIP access)
• Make sure your activities, tone and content delivers value at every interaction
• Consider using the YMCA Digital Engagement Decision Tree on how to respond
to individual comments. Try to get back to the commenter within the first 24
hours that a comment is made.
• When you make a mistake, apologize quickly – it’s amazing how forgiving the
social web can be (or punishing to the ignorant and unrepentant!)
10. Review and Adjust
• After a few months, time to do a gut check. How are we doing? Should
we invest more? What’s working/not working?
• Can we identify others that we can make official ambassadors for the cause?
• Adjust the whole cycle (plan – do – check – act) accordingly
• Align your management to what is ahead of you and get them excited - it’s
incredible how digital momentum creates momentum

Y Tweeting Factoid – cumulatively, YMCAs have over 26,000 followers on Twitter in Canada and currently tweet over

50 times per day (December, 2011 Twitter statistics)

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 24


These are suggested guidelines for all YMCAs and YMCA-YWCAs in Canada. If you’re a YMCA
employee, volunteer or contractor creating or contributing to any kind of digital media both
on and off our official websites—these guidelines are for you.
The YMCAs in Canada recognize the value of digital engagement in its various forms (e.g.
blogs, social networks, wikis, mobile, online collaboration) for connecting with members,
staff, donors, and volunteers. In only a few years, our key audiences and stakeholders have
flocked to exciting forms of online and mobile media. It’s important that we join in and help
shape industry conversation and direction through interaction in new forms of media. Our
digital presence should project a positive image that is reflective of our overall Y brand and
is consistent with our mission and values.
However, in order to ensure we maintain a values-oriented, positive, professional image,
and to ensure safety and privacy, all employees, volunteers and contractors must abide by
the following expectations when using digital engagement for work or personal purposes.
We believe these guidelines will also help maintain the digital integrity of our brand with
respect to communication frequency, strategy, message and appearance.
We expect all who participate in digital work/social media on behalf of the YMCA to
be enthusiastic ambassadors, trained to be effective, understand and follow these
guidelines. These guidelines will continually evolve as new tools, technologies and insights
emerge—so check back once in awhile to make sure you’re up to date.


YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 25

Emerging platforms for digital collaboration are fundamentally changing the way we work,
offering new ways to engage with customers, colleagues, and the world at large. It’s a new
model for interaction and we believe it can help you to build stronger, more successful
member/donor/participant relationships. And it’s a way for you to take part in conversations
related to the work we are doing at YMCA and the things we care about. These newer
practices have different implications for the Y and its traditional guidelines. Therefore, these
guidelines should be considered complementary to any existing or future policies regarding
the use of technology, computers, e-mail and the internet.

If you participate in digital spaces/social media, please consider these core guiding
principles (see as well our Getting Started, 20 Tips and Top 10 dos and don’ts sections )
• Stick to your area of expertise and provide unique, individual perspectives on
what’s going on at YMCA and in the world.
• Post meaningful, respectful comments—in other words, no spam and no
remarks that are off-topic or offensive.
• Pause and think before posting, but reply to comments in a timely manner
when a response is appropriate (see our YMCA Digital Decision Tree).
• Always respect proprietary information and content, and confidentiality.
• When disagreeing with others’ opinions, keep it appropriate and polite.
• Know and follow your local YMCA Employee Policy, Privacy Policy and
YMCA Child Protection Policy.

• Official YMCA pages and content areas on digital engagement platforms and
social networking sites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr) should
provide relevant and current information and opinion.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 26

• All digital sites and pages must be monitored for content on a regular and
consistent basis by the person in charge of digital engagement within your local
YMCA. If the site is found to contain any incorrect or inappropriate information, it is
the owner’s supervisor’s responsibility to correct the error or take proper action.
• Federation-wide YMCA and local YMCA sites and pages should conform to the
YMCA brand guidelines (click here for brand assets and design).
• Be reflective of the mission of the YMCA. You are a front line representative of the
YMCA. Be transparent. Do not post derogatory or defamatory comments of other
staff customers or volunteers. Anyone can see posts on the web, keep them in the
spirit of the values of the YMCA.
• Respect copyright and fair use laws (including posting of copyrighted materials,
videos photos, music). Also conform to any applicable financial disclosure laws.

• We encourage YMCAs to post a member and stakeholder-facing set of digital
engagement guidelines to make this clear to our audience.
• Moderation is the act of reviewing and approving content before it’s published on
or off official YMCA sites. YMCA does not endorse or take responsibility for content
posted by third parties, referred to as user generated content (UGC). This includes
text input and uploaded files (video, images, audio, executables, documents).
• While we strongly encourage user participation, there are some guidelines we ask
you to follow to keep it safe for everyone. In addition, please note many YMCAs
in Canada have put in place automated controls to combat spam and malicious
content. Content originating inside YMCA is not moderated; this means we may
allow our digital engagement practitioners to post content directly without
approval, as long as they have taken the required training.
• Whether user-generated content is pre-moderated or community moderated, we
will act by the following principles:
· If the content is positive or negative and in context to the conversation, then we approve the
content regardless of whether it’s favourable or unfavourable to YMCA.
· If the content is ugly, offensive, denigrating or out of context, then we reject the content.

• In the case of an emerging crisis or potentially harmful information, please
ensure all communication originates from official YMCA spokespeople.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 27

We really hope our tweets, posts, updates, blogs, pages and sites will become forums for
lively conversation. Differences of opinion are healthy, and we welcome a rousing debate.
However, to preserve the integrity of posts and the conversations that happen here, we will
not publish any comments that:
• include lewd, offensive, prejudiced, or inappropriate language;
• wander off topic, or are irrelevant to the subject matter of the post to which they
are attached;
• pertain to an individual’s personal experiences with the program which are not
relevant for the pages readership at large, which we are happy to address via
private email;
• make any manner of personal attack or which target the author(s) of a post or
another commenter rather than the substance of their opinions;
• are deemed spam (where spam is defined as any repeated comment, as well as
any off-topic comment, including commercial spam or comments not advancing
the original post’s topic);
• contain references / photos of alcohol or illicit substances;
• include photos with revealing clothing;
• disclosure of confidential information related to past, present or future
employees, volunteers, members, participants, guests, donors, or other
persons conducting business with the YMCA;
• comprise of defamatory information about past, present or future employees,
volunteers, members, participants, guests, donors, or other persons conducting
business with the YMCA;
• use of ethnic slurs, obscenities or topics that may be considered objectionable or
inflammatory—such as politics and religion.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 28

• Many YMCA staff maintain individual pages on blogs and social media sites to connect
with their friends and family during non-work hours; personal websites that identify
the person as a YMCA employee must be consistent with our mission.
• Staff members should not post content, including text and pictures regarding the
YMCA that can be reasonably deemed as inappropriate or offensive to the YMCA, its
members, staff or the community.
• Use common sense in disclosing any information about the YMCA, its members,
volunteers, donors, etc. and adhere to all applicable policies regarding confidentiality
and proprietary information.
• Staff should recognize that they are personally responsible for the content they publish
on digital/social media sites. See guidance on acceptable content and your local
YMCA’s employee conduct guidelines.
• If you are speaking about the YMCA externally in digital communication channels,
you must make it clear you are speaking for yourself and not on behalf of the YMCA
(other than as an incidental mention of place of employment in a personal blog on
topics unrelated to YMCA). Consider using a disclaimer such as “The postings on this
site are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the YMCA,
managers, directors or employees”.
• Do not break the law. You may have legal liabilities for information you contribute over
any personal pages on digital channels regarding the YMCA. And the web does have
very large ears and a long memory.

• Frequently, members and volunteers may ask employees to become their “friend” or
“follow them” on social media sites. This is allowed and encouraged, but employees
must remember they are representing the YMCA at all times and refrain from posting
inappropriate content; or create a more limited profile for work purposes and reserve
their full personal profile for friends and family only.
• YMCA staff may NOT “friend” ANYONE under 13 on any social media site. This includes
staff, volunteers and members.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 29

• If you wish to share a YMCA photo or video online, please contact your
Association’s brand representative to determine the best way to do this.
• All photos and videos posted cannot include visibly identifiable members
and children unless they have signed your Association’s waiver. Contact your
Association’s brand representative for more information.

• As a condition of your employment you were likely asked to review and sign a
YMCA Employee Policy and Guidelines upon start of employment (these may be
labeled differently across local YMCAs). These digital engagement guidelines act
as a complement to these already signed employment policies.

• To maintain consistency in content, presentation and information delivery,
no standalone website bearing the YMCA name should be created by
employees or contractors independently. All web sites should be created by
or in cooperation with your YMCA national or local Communications and/or
Development departments. more info please contact your Association’s
Brand Lead.
• All YMCA digital engagement spaces must adhere to recently established
visual and verbal branding guidelines. Logo standards must be followed and
a common Y brand and sub brand must be prominently positioned on all
digital and social media tools unless authorized otherwise. Asset-based
language should be used to act as guidance for future postings. See your
Association’s Brand Lead for more info.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 30

The YMCA is committed to ensuring that the safety of children is a top priority, and each YMCA
Member Association follows a strict Child Protection Policy. This commitment extends to all
YMCA digital environments by:
• providing a safe environment for children and young people,
• identifying children and young people who are suffering, or likely to suffer,
significant harm; and
• taking appropriate action to see that such children and young people are kept safe.
Within the context of digital media and your role within the YMCA, the following practice
should be avoided:
• Spending time alone with children and young people, away from others, in an online
• Relating to children and young people from programs in non-program activities,
such as chat rooms or general networking.
• Having “favourites” - this could lead to resentment and jealousy by other children and
young people and could be misinterpreted by others
• Where possible, doing things of a personal nature for children and young people that
they can do for themselves.
The following should be strictly avoided:
• Forming intimate emotional, physical or sexual online and/or offline relationships
with children and young people.
• Allowing children and young people to swear or use sexualized language online
• Making sexually suggestive comments online to a child or young person, even in fun.
• Reducing a child or young person to tears as a form of control.
• Allowing allegations made by a child or young person to go unchallenged,
unrecorded or not acted upon.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 31

• Because of the nature of their jobs, several YMCA staff members work closely with
teen groups and need to communicate with them and their parents online. These
staff members may get permission from their local manager/brand representative
to create private digital pages for their clubs.
• These staff members must receive training on digital media, child protection safety
and privacy practices before starting their group.
• And there should be more than one staff member involved in the page.

• YMCA supports transparency. We are committed to ensuring that our practitioners
on digital media (including blogs, Twitter, forums and any other social media)
clearly disclose relationships and endorsements, and that statements about the
YMCA are truthful and substantiated.
• Please remember that any bloggers, influencers, profiled members or social media
experts contracted, seeded or in any way compensated by YMCA must disclose
that they have been contracted, seeded or otherwise compensated by the YMCA.

• Importantly, our various social media profiles are part of a conversation between
real people. Because of the family nature of our content, we have guidelines in
place on what is appropriate interaction with the YMCAs in Canada.
• Our teams work diligently to post accurate, timely, relevant content. We
respond to feedback with respect and courtesy, and request our friends and
fans do the same.
• We encourage our community to share content with us such as photos and stories
of their YMCA experiences. We assume that anyone sharing this user generated
content has the right to do so and has permission of the photographed individuals.
Please do not post photos you do not have permission to post, including photos of
children without the permission of a parent or guardian.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 32

• We welcome constructive feedback, but we reserve the right to remove any
comments that are inappropriate due to foul language, attacking of a single
person or group, unsupported accusations, or spam that explicitly promotes a
product or service. We reserve the right to ban repeat offenders.
• We do our best to respond to comments as quickly as possible, but sometimes
there are delays. Please be patient with us as we do what we can to improve the
experience of all of our members and friends.

• Although likely rare, violations of these guidelines could be subject to disciplinary
action by your local YMCA.
• Please report inappropriate behavior to your local manager and or brand contact
for your local YMCA.

The world of digital engagement changes rapidly. If in doubt about how these guidelines
apply to new initiatives, please contact your manager, brand lead, digital engagement
workgroup member or national office communications department. YMCA Canada reserves
the right to modify these guidelines at any time.
Last updated: April 2012

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 33

“It doesn’t matter what you say, if I don’t like the way you’re saying it” (James Cherkoff )
Learn the language, shorthands, and aesthetics of the community you’re trying to
attract. Keep track of this stuff on the fly as tastes change rapidly, perhaps using an
archiving application like Evernote.
“In today’s marketplace, it’s as much about what you do, as opposed to what you say you
do” – people get comfortable knowing who’s behind an effort, what they had to do to
achieve it, and what hurdles they had to overcome, so let the inside stuff show.
People love to express themselves online. Consider how you could encourage your
members, customers and clients to share their experiences of the YMCA publicly
e.g. run competitions where they share videos, photos and feedback.
The age of sending out mass messages to see which ones stick with the small group of
people who really care is coming to a close. Tap into the Facebook community and other
ad and sponsorship approaches by running very targeted paid media to build visibility
for your business and bring the right type of traffic back to your website.
The best online communities almost always congregate back offline. Make sure you let
your community on your blog, Facebook, Twitter or other social networks know about
the offers, events and promotions you are hosting offline.
Assign accountability and train a member (s) of your team so they can monitor the
conversations and respond as required to issues and questions being raised. 24 hours is
a lifetime on the web, so remember who is looking for stuff on the weekends too.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 34

Yes, you need to be where your customers are, but use the opportunity to link back to your
main website so people can find out more about your programs and services e.g. add a
website link in your bio on Twitter or a link in the side bar of your Facebook page.
Press releases or advertising copy isn’t very repeatable. Use human language and tone. Just
as with your marketing communication in any other media, make sure that the specific tone
and content takes into account your target audience and its social environment. Review the
YMCA Brand Tone of Voice and Personality in our brand guidelines.
Unfortunately only 1.5% of tweets are ever retweeted two levels deep. Ensure your stuff gets
repeated and is described as unique, dynamic, different, distinctive, innovative, visionary
and daring by others.
Some of us are not like the others. Did you know only 6.2% of the online population
produces 80% of the online influence impressions? Take the time to research and get to
know influencers who are interested in your products and services. If you’re a small Y group,
do you really know your top 100 web-enabled fans? Mid-sized – 1,000 fans? and Large –
10,000 fans?
It usually takes less than 4 seconds for most of us to determine whether we want to stay on
a website. Be bright, bold and beautiful, expressing your Y brand online and ensuring that it
is consistent with YMCA Brand Guidelines.
Customers need simple triggers and motivations to go one step further online. Use actionoriented language, links and simple signups to make it easy for them.
As every nightclub owner knows, the world loves a lineup. Use the opportunity of
developing a community to build anticipation of your new programs and services.
Leverage the wisdom of your community by inviting them to offer views and
participate in research when developing new offerings.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 35

What is interesting this week may not be next week. When offering content, discounts
and offers to your community, find ways to modify your offers to be timelier and track
the success of your promotions using reference codes.
It costs 40 times less for a customer to answer another customer’s question than to
have an employee do it. Consider whether you could use your presence on social media
platforms to enhance your customer experience; for example, answering customer
service issues by member-to-member exchanges. Engage your community online and
find ways to encourage their input and feedback.
Social media is great for awareness and exposure but email still drives action. Use the
opportunity to add the details of your enewsletter sign up box on social networking
platforms or your blog so that people can subscribe to your mailing list, allowing you the
opportunity to communicate with them directly.
Consider doing what Zappos has done and list every one of your Twitter employee
profiles on your YMCA official blog or website. Add key social links on your main website
to show your website visitors that you have a presence on social media platforms and a
reason for them to join your community.
Reference your social media channels in your offline advertising, POS and venue.
QR codes have become a popular smartphone-enabled option.
Even if you do not plan to actively participate or publish content in social media
channels, take the opportunity to get your webmaster to add code to your website to
encourage your visitors to share your content (articles, online videos and promotions)
with their friends by email and social widgets. Evaluate your experience on social
media in generating traffic to your site and refine your communication programs
and content accordingly.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 36

People love stories because they are so interesting, emotional and
repeatable. Nine types of storytelling perform well online :

1. Great aspirations (Patagonia),
2. David vs. Goliath (Southwest Airlines),
3. Personal stories (FedEx),
4. Contrarian/counterintuitive (Best Buy Twelpforce),
5. Avalanche about to roll (Apple),
6. Playing off anxieties (Tea Party),
7. How-tos (Will it Blend),
8. Glitz and glam (Join Red) and
9. Seasonal/event related (Movember).

Y Digital Location Factoid – YMCA has over 1,000 locations across Canada, with an average Foursquare check in rate of 4 times per

week, YMCAs in Canada could generate over 200,000 Foursquare check-ins per year

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 37

VIII. DO’s and DON’Ts
1. Be transparent.
• If you discuss the YMCA, then you have a duty to disclose your role within the
organization; do not post comments anonymously, using pseudonyms or false screen
• Use your real name, be clear who you are, and identify that you work for YMCA.
• Nothing gains you notice in social media more than honesty - or dishonesty. Do not
say anything that is dishonest, untrue, or misleading.
• If you have a vested interest in something you are discussing, point it out.
• Be smart about protecting yourself and your privacy.
• What you publish will be around for a long time, so consider the content carefully
and also be cautious about disclosing personal details.
• The National YMCA office is responsible for creating national YMCA online presences.
Please contact them if you have suggestions for new national online presences.
2. Be accurate
• Even though your content and posts may be primarily made up of personal opinion,
do your research well and check that your facts are accurate.
• Make sure you have permission to post any copyrighted or confidential information
(e.g. images) to your blog, and be careful about posting or linking to items that may
contain viruses.
3. Use disclaimers
• People do want to hear what you think, but make it clear that the views you are
expressing are yours alone and not necessarily those of the YMCA when engaged in
personal spaces.
• Disclose what you believe is fact versus merely opinion.
• Use disclaimer statement on personal websites– “The postings on this site are my
own and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the YMCA, managers,
directors or employees.”

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 38

4. Be present.
• Being interesting and always accessible are some of the cornerstones of “successful”
online presence (proof - the average lifespan of a tweet is 12 minutes).
• Before your YMCA decides to jump into digital engagement, do so with a commitment to
post, respond and moderate regularly and post stuff that improves people’s lives.
5. Be generous.
• Digital engagement is most powerful to those who connect well.
• The social web, in particular, is powerful and based on links, so if you see something
interesting, valuable or relevant, link to it!
• The more you link to relevant material, the more contacts you will make and the more
popular your own digital or social space will become.
6. Uphold Y values.
• As part of the Y family, please act in keeping with the YMCA’s values of caring, honesty,
respect and responsibility in all your online communications.
• If you choose to share your political or religious stances online, be certain you are
representing yourself and not the organization as a whole.
7. Engage where your audience is.
• Be present in all the places your members and stakeholders live, work and play online.
• Whether it’s highly influential moms or the next great youth leader, believe it or not,
they don’t always want to engage on the official YMCA website.
8. Don’t forget your day job.
• Make sure that your blogging and participation in social media does not interfere with
your job or commitments to members/participants.
9. Protect YMCA stakeholders.
• Stakeholders should not be cited or obviously referenced without their approval.
• Never identify a stakeholder by name without permission and never discuss confidential
details of a stakeholder engagement.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 39

• It is acceptable to discuss general details about kinds of projects and to use nonidentifying pseudonyms for a stakeholder so long as the information provided does
not violate any non-disclosure agreements that may be in place with or make it easy
for someone to identify the stakeholder.
• Digital forums are also not the place to “conduct business” with a stakeholder.
10. It’s a conversation.
• Talk to your readers like you would talk to real people in conversational or
professional situations.
• Avoid overly pedantic or “composed” language.
• Don’t be afraid to bring in your own personality and say what’s on your mind.
• Consider content that’s open-ended and invites response. Encourage comments.
• You can also broaden the conversation by citing others who are blogging about the
same topic and allowing your content to be shared or syndicated. 

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 40

1. Don’t reveal confidential information.
• Adopt the updated, but age-old rule “think before you speak, tweet or film”.
• Do not publish, post, or release information that is considered confidential or top
• Don’t post personal information about other employees, members or donors.
• Confidential information includes things such as unpublished details about our
programs, details of current projects/campaigns, stakeholders, i.e., members, donors,
funders, volunteers, future program developments, financial information, research,
and trade secrets.
• We must respect the wishes of our partners regarding the confidentiality of
current projects.
• We must also be mindful of the competitiveness of our industry. Basically, if you find
yourself wondering if you can talk about something you learned at work — don’t.
• When in serious doubt, ask your manager.
2. Don’t consider this a seasonal campaign vs. an ongoing commitment
• Most online communities don’t mature until they are 2 to 3 years old – too many
initiatives online become “ghost towns” after the first 3 months.
• Ensure you have the resources, will power and commitment to keep the momentum
going for the long run.
3. Don’t advocate non-YMCA services or initiatives in official YMCA spaces, unless they
are a community partner or the information is aligned to the YMCA’s cause
• It may be in direct conflict with what the YMCA is trying to achieve or advocate.
• It can muddy the water of a consistent and motivating Y brand message.
4. Stick to your knitting - don’t comment outside your area of expertise.
• If you have expertise in a specific area you may be sharing this in YMCA digital
spaces; however, be cautious about extending the commentary outside your area of
specialized knowledge.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 41

5. Don’t play it too safe.
• The second worst thing to do in digital engagement, after getting into trouble, is
producing content or programs that don’t get noticed and talked about.
• The sad reality (and waste of time) is that very little corporate–sponsored content gets
repeated (engagement on Facebook posts is frequently below 0.1%). Be interesting,
relevant and awesome enough to be part of that small minority creating big ripples, or
you may be wasting your time.
6. Don’t engage too deeply with youth.
• On most platforms and localities, the minimum age of participation is 13 years old
(e.g. Facebook’s requirement is 13 years old to have a profile).
• Don’t dialogue, repost or share content or conversation with people younger than legal
age without express consent of a guardian.
• See guidelines section regarding Protection of Children
7. Don’t trash copyright laws.
• It is critical that you show proper respect for the laws governing copyright and fair
use or fair dealing of copyrighted material owned by others; including YMCA-owned
copyrights and brands. Here’s a good resource on laws governing publishing photos
and creative works.
• You should never quote more than short excerpts of someone else’s work, and always
attribute such work to the original author/source. It is good general practice to link to
others’ work rather than reproduce it. Learn and use Creative Commons Licensing where
8. Don’t get into scraps.
• If you see misrepresentations made about YMCA in the media, you may point that out.
Always do so with respect and with the facts.
• If you speak about others, make sure what you say is factual and that it does not
disparage that party.
• Avoid arguments. Brawls may earn traffic, but nobody wins in the end. Don’t try to settle
scores or goad competitors or others into inflammatory debates.
• Make sure what you are saying is factually correct.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 42

9. Don’t hide or sweep your mistakes under the carpet.
• If you make an error, be up front about your mistake and correct it quickly.
• If you choose to modify an earlier post, make it clear that you have done so.
• If someone accuses you of posting something improper (such as their copyrighted
material or a defamatory comment about them), deal with it quickly – better to remove it
immediately to lessen the possibility of a legal action.
10. Don’t be valueless.
• There are millions of blogs, sites, words and visuals out there. The best way to get yours
read is to write things that people will value.
• Social communication from the YMCA should help our members, customers, partners,
and co-workers. It should be thought provoking and build a sense of community.
• If it helps people improve knowledge or skills, build their businesses, do their jobs, solve
problems, or understand YMCA better—then it’s adding value.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 43


We know there are an abundance of situations you may find yourself in online, too many in
fact to cover off with a prescriptive list. Use the following grid as guidance for some of your
decisions and responses online.

Your response
(Levels of visibility)

Approved Authors

Low - Thank Privately
Mid - Repost Story
High - Interview/Reward

· Repost with credit
· Invite to become an ambassador
· Provide a token of appreciation
· Share with staff

· Commentary that is accurate,
supportive /neutral or
constructive criticism

Approved Authors

Low - Acknowledge
Mid - Recognize & credit
High - Respond/follow up

· Concur with post
· Provide additional information
· Provide positive
· Acknowledge effort being made/
follow up/get back when fixed

· Inaccuracies about the YMCA, its
programs, events, services or
participants. This may also be a
news or blogger enquiry or question.

Approved Authors may need to consult
senior management

Low - State facts
Mid - Identify Issue/need
High - Take offline

· Let post stand with clarification
· State facts
· Elevate to media relations lead

· Offensive language
· Inflammatory statements
· Inappropriate content
· Comments about other participants
· Criticism of staff

Approved Authors may need to consult
senior management

Low - Delete comment
Mid - Publicly/Privately respond
High - Resolve case

· Delete comment
· Block person
· Document incident
· Directly address
· Talk to person offline

· Statement with serious
concerns / issues
· Allegations of inappropriate
events within program
· Illegal/violent comments

Approved Authors must consult senior

Low - Delete comment
Mid - Contact person offline
High - Document incident /
Risk manage

· Document incident
· Flag or delete comment
· Talk to commenter offline




How to engage?


Who responds?

· Great story
· Testimonial
· Experience


Type of post

Post contains:

*Note: Level of risk depends on factors such as frequency, visibility, author influence and etc. Lower risk issues can escalate to become higher risk issues.

Y Facebook Factoid – the top 10 YMCAs in Canada Facebook pages average over 1,000 fans per page

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 44

1. Why should staff care about this engagement work?

Digital engagement is a fundamental aspect to how

business and people will operate in the future – it’s

a great skill to acquire now.

Staff involved in digital engagement tend to be:
happier, more loyal and more deeply committed
to their company’s mission. (IBM Research)

If you are concerned about your local YMCA’s
member experience and reputation, increasingly
that business facet is going online.

Digitally engaged
people are:
More engaged in
their work

Digitally engaged
people are:

Digitally engaged
people are:

More loyal to
their companies

An asset
to YMCA through
their social circles

* Source - Agent Wildfire 2011

2. Employees and volunteers want to help us, how can I get them involved?
• Employees are the #1 source of online community engagement in successful
companies – genuinely value their involvement. Treat them like partners, not
just people to ask routinely for favours.
• Set up knowledge share sessions/ideastorms to get the most passionate
involved – act on the best candidate ideas and publicly celebrate their source.
• Share a social dashboard like Hootsuite that allows multiple, certified people
to manage social accounts.
• Create friendly competitions/bonuses for delivering effective advocacy,
content and insight.
• Celebrate milestones (e.g. # of followers, # of posts) both online and offline.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 45

3. Is what I’m doing “on brand”?
• To simplify the argument for brand consistency online, we’re really
talking about three areas:

1. Tone – is your digital Y personality determined, genuine, welcoming,
hopeful, nurturing and fun?

2. Graphics consistency – is your presentation of the Y brand consistent
with brand standards?

3. Content – is your Y brand-generated and user-generated content
helping build the brand, increase capacity and enhance collaboration?
• For our official standards, consult YMCA Canada’s brand standards & guidelines.
4. No one is following us, how do I build community?
• Outreach and Links – the social web lives and breathes on links. Ensure your
website, blog and social network links on other websites and conversely, you
include other friends’ links in your content.
• Inside-out – extend out to ripples of influence sequentially from most
interested (staff, volunteers), next interested (members, donors) and then the
biggest circle (media, influencers, bloggers, general public).
• Content – ensure you keep a good quantity, quality and mix of content that
truly helps your audience.
• Incentives – provide periodic opportunities for people to participate in
contests, discounts and freebies.
• Paid media – leverage tried-and-true search marketing, traditional and social
ads and sponsorship and traditional advertising drive to the web. You can
geo-target your media buy so that it is relevant to your specific community.
If you are looking to purchase media that will reach outside of your own
community, please contact the Member Associations that are in these markets
for permission. Note that only YMCA can negotiate national media.
• Respond and converse – ensure you are having genuine exchanges with your
most engaged fans.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 46

5. Someone left a negative comment?
• Ensure you understand how to deal with 5 types of detractor – two constructive
ones, three challenging ones:
• the Legitimate complainer – they raise legitimate issues, but seem open to
reason – acknowledge and fix their issues quickly.

• the Engaged critic – they can make suggestions and elicit responses that

encourage intelligent discussion – recognize their good ideas and fixes

• the Competitor – they want to promote competing products and other

brands – respectfully mention your company’s perspective; don’t give
them a platform.

• the Antagonizer – they like to argue with others – take the high road, refocus

on the higher goals and expectations of your community and have
others come to your defence.

• the Troublemaker – they have grudges against your organization and

cannot be satisfied – address privately, if complaints use incendiary
language, remove person from community.

• Decision tree – consider the type of content being praiseworthy, acceptable,
neutral, low risk or high risk and consult the YMCA Digital Engagement Decision Tree.
• Take it offline – whenever possible, take grievances offline to protect the
YMCA brand from public battles, ensuring the greater community knows that
complainant’s issues have been addressed.
6. How do I prove this is more valuable than my other priorities?
• Measure and tracking – ensure you are monitoring your performance regularly,
measuring the right things and understanding what these metrics are telling you
over time.
• Stories – identify occurrences that resonate with how YMCA digital engagement
has led to improvement with member engagement, brand building, community
participation and customer value.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 47

• Schedule – establish a regular routine for digital engagement that creates a
consistent presence and doesn’t exceed allotted time.
• The Future – resource digital engagement over a 2-3 year timeframe and base
investment on intended growth of community and business value.
7. No one has time for this?
• Priority – ensure you have senior management approval and inclusion in
key strategic initiatives.
• Togetherness + extra staff – build a disciplined editorial calendar including
others across functions; find other options to support (e.g. interns, volunteers,
guest bloggers). These staff members need to be trained on the content of these
digital engagement guidelines.
• Routine – for most YMCAS, allocate a consistent commitment of time every day.
• Members, donors and influencers – by the end of the 1st year of your digital
engagement initiatives, formally invite external stakeholders to officially join
your effort, providing tiered access to content publishing areas.
8. Young people want to get involved?
• Please reference the YMCA Protection of Children section of this guide.
• Under 13 – do not engage with these youth in social networks; consider a private,
parent-approved and supervised YMCA closed community network to create
online community here (e.g. camps).
• 13-18 – engage with these youth in social networks, keep tone conversational,
professional and respectful.
• 19+ – treat as you would other adult colleagues, and deliver on their heightened
generational needs of collaboration, speed, fun, innovation and creative expression.
• Fun – ensure you keep things human and show the lighter side of the YMCA.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 48

9. We just goofed and made a big mistake, how do we fix it?
• Don’t panic – mistakes happen, don’t over-compensate with an equally
overblown reaction.
• Apologize early – after acknowledging the mistake, quickly provide a clarification
and apology to offended or disadvantaged parties.
• Depending on the situation, you may delete the comment, or leave it up with
a response directly underneath. To determine the best course of action for your
specific scenario, please contact your manager, communications team, or other
relevant staff member.
10. What if someone contacts me with a customer service issue?
• Acknowledge – quickly acknowledge receipt of issue and plan of action.
• Triage – send to the most appropriate staff person for response/correction.
• Follow up – close the loop by official reaction, apology and next steps taken.
• Archive – house the best issues/answers in a “frequently asked questions” section.
11. What content can I share on social media channels?
• A Big Range – here are 76 Types of Digital Content and Conversation; use a
healthy variety of these in your digital mix.
• When in doubt - if you have any hesitation your content might be controversial or
misguided, delay publishing until you consult your manager.

Y Community Factoid – the YMCA is the original community brand, we’ve been doing this for 160 years in Canada, Facebook

(8 years old) and Twitter (6 years old) have some catching up to do.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 49


Digital engagement aims to get your members, donors and participants more intimately
connecting with the YMCA. It’s simply about extending the amazing YMCA experience to
online circles.
In Fall 2011, each YMCA Member Association brand lead was asked to fill out a survey
on the topic of digital engagement within our federation. Interestingly, the #1 digital
engagement training gap identified by YMCA staff was “understanding the YMCA member
and participant needs in digital spaces” (in the visual on the next page).
What type of change are we talking about to be a great Y digital practitioner?
It really means:
• genuinely appreciating what the member(s) has to say;
• reorienting our traditional notions of members, customers, users, consumers into
a much broader set of roles;
• inviting members to openly participate in forums that affect how our
organizations run and that ties them more closely to the Y; and
• learning and improving the member and participant experience as a result.

Although 95% of executives believe “customer experience” is the new battleground and 80%
of them believe the experience they provide is top-notch, only 8% of their customers agree.
Sad. (source: Agent Wildfire/Bain Company)
So what’s wrong? In a fast moving, digitized world where there is a massive amount of
media clutter and information and a complete shortage of time, attention and trust given to
companies, customers and members have become much less loyal, particularly
younger members.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 50

Consider the 8 core needs that younger members and prospects embrace as generational
values (in the visual below) when you’re managing Y engagement spaces:

As witnessed by your responses to our digital engagement survey, a large spectrum of
audiences can benefit from deeper YMCA emphasis in digital:
What area of your local YMCA’s efforts can best be supported by an
enhanced emphasis on digital engagement/social media?
Active - health, recreation and fitness
Youth audience
Local community stakeholders
Other (please specify)
Community leaders
New Canadians
International partners








YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 51



1. Mobile is Top Mover. Followed
by Social Networks

6. Sacred Cow Industries - Health,
Education, Energy, Banking

2. The Socialization of TV and
the M-Screen

7. Social Commerce and Finance

3. Augmented Reality + QR Code

8. Smarter Outdoor

4. Near/Influencer Networks

9. Partner/Purpose Driven

5. Global Individualism and Ego

10. Video (and the war over Video)

11. The Anti-Facebook?

For more evidence and examples of trends click here to view the “100 Things to Watch in
2012” slideshow created by JWT Intelligence.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 52


If your YMCA is planning to utilize social media tools to convey a message or augment a
communication campaign, the YMCA Canada communications department can advise
you in developing a digital engagement strategy.
For assistance in launching your campaign/developing a digital engagement/social
media strategy for your local association, please review the content of this Digital
Engagement Survival Guide and/or contact:
• Angela de Burger at (416) 645-5977 or at
• Meghan Reddick at (416) 967-5435 or at

Please feel comfortable in contacting members of the Digital Engagement Workgroup
(DEW) below for expert advice, thoughts or opinions.



Brian Bratt

YMCA of Niagara

Angela de Burger

YMCA Canada

Charmian Harvey

YMCAs of Quebec

Jeanette Heywood

YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka

Nadina Kaminer

YMCA of Calgary

Abad Khan

YMCA-YWCA of Saint John

Randy Klassen (Chair)

YMCA of Regina

Callum McKee

YMCAs of Cambridge & Kitchener-Waterloo

Meghan Reddick

YMCA Canada

Peter Skillen

YMCA of Greater Toronto

Dan Trepanier

YMCA of Greater Toronto

Kevin Wilkinson

YMCA of Edmonton

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 53







iii) SAM 2.0 WIKI
Wikis provide the ability to link different interest groups within YMCA to each other and allow them to collaborate
and share discussion threads.The SAM 2.0 Wiki is a new initiative of YMCA Canada to provide Health, Fitness and
Recreation staff a collaborative platform to access, share and create SAM 2.0 resources. Participation on the Wiki is open
to any YMCA Health, Fitness and Recreation staff and volunteers:
1. Go to
2. At the bottom of the page click on “don’t have an account? Register Here”
3. Enter the registration code: sam2
4. Select registration code sent by: (Find your Y from the drop down list)
5. Complete the rest of the registration process.
6. Need help? Contact:

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 54





Twitter Facebook

YMCA Canada


YMCA Strong Kids


YMCA of Brandon

YMCA of Brockville

YMCA of Calgary


YMCA of Cambridge & Kitchener-Waterloo


YMCA of Cape Breton


YMCA of Central East Ontario


YMCA of Chatham-Kent

YMCA of Cumberland


YMCA of Edmonton


YMCA of Exploits Valley

YMCA of Fredericton

YMCA-YWCA of Guelph

YMCA of Greater Halifax/Dartmouth


YMCA of Greater Moncton


YMCA of Greater Toronto


YMCA of Greater Vancouver

YMCA-YWCA of Greater Victoria

YMCA of Hamilton/Burlington/Brantford

YMCA of Humber Community

YMCA-YWCA of Kamloops

YMCA of Kingston

YMCA of Lethbridge

YMCA of Lunenburg County

YMCA of Medicine Hat

YMCA of Moose Jaw

YMCA-YWCA of the National Capital Region





YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 55

YMCA of Niagara


YMCA-YWCA of Northeast Avalon

YMCA of North Bay

YMCA of Northumberland

YMCA of Oakville

YMCA-YWCA of the Okanagan

YMCA of Owen Sound

YMCA of Pictou County

YMCA of Prince Edward Island

YMCA of Prince George

YMCAs of Quebec

YMCA of Regina


YMCA-YWCA of Saint John


YMCA of Sarnia-Lambton

YMCA of Saskatoon


YMCA of Sault Ste. Marie


YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka


YMCA of Stratford-Perth


YMCA of Sudbury

YMCA of Timmins

YMCA of Western Ontario

YMCA of Windsor-Essex County

YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg

YMCA of Wood Buffalo

YMCA of Yarmouth






YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 56


Brand Awareness

Creating a Fundraising/
Cause Building Juggernaut

“Naked Pizza – from 1 to 150
stores through social media”

“Live Below the Line – Creating
Legions of Donors for Poverty”

Staff Engagement/
Knowledge Development
“Best Buy Twelpforce –
Leveraging the Power of
The Employee Network”


- fast food obesity epidemic
- the rise of social media


- create the world’s largest grassroots
movement through the world’s healthiest pizza
- consider it a social media operation that just
so happens to sell pizza


- friendly breezy answers on social networks
incl. video, tweet 10-15 times per day
- Twitter-dominant networking focus – on
signs, ads, iPad-driven kiosk, iPhone app,
trackable POS system


- growth from 1 store in 2009 to 150 stores today;
Mark Cuban landed as high profile investor
- up to 69% of traffic generated through
Twitter; 90% new customers initially
- Naked Pizza ranked as top 5 influential
casual brands on Twitter
- 15k+ Twitter followers/8k+ Facebook fans



- homelessness – tough affliction to bring
to life, a cause people ignore
- the poverty line is $2 per day and is current
reality for 1.4 billion people around the world

- an army of keen and engaged employees
- hurdle on how Best Buy provides support in
a scalable, manageable way


- build a Twitter-integrated solution and feed
into the Best Buy community and answer
questions where customers want them

- leverage the idea of having people live
for 5 days at $2 of food/day
- tap into celebrity appeal of Hugh Jackman,
90210’s Gillian Zinser and band Sick Puppies
to ignite a PR and social media fire


- create a comprehensive fundraising
guide for participants
- use affiliate Facebook, Twitter, email,
blogs and fundraising pages


- in 2nd year, Australia fundraised over $1.1
million pounds through 8,000 participants



- in July 2009, set up customer friendly Twitter
page designed to handle customer and
non-customer issues


- Set up in 2 Months w/ now 2,600
employees/new internal networks
- Show brand/management/ company
walking the walk
- 30,000 enquiries annually solved
- Higher Best Buy customer sat.
ratings/purchase intent/ per purchase
among participants

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 57

Improving the Member/
Customer Experience

Engaging a
Youth Audience

Supporting Active
Lifestyles – Building Health
and Recreation

“Jet Blue – Getting Even
Better Through Twitter”

“Skittles – Experiencing the
Rainbow with Youth”

“Be Out There with
National Wildlife Federation”



- a demanding fan community
- crisis management Feb’07 snowstorm
causing JetBlue delays

- a low involvement confectionary
- youth love of humour in social media arenas


- throw out traditional approaches and
transition fully to the new tools of social, video
and viral by turning webpage and activities
over to fun web 2.0 approaches
- consistent with Skittles TV campaign,
adopt warped videos/guerrilla initiatives
and mobs to win over youth

- use Twitter to learn faster what customers
want with the in-flight experience,
amenities and routes
- build better early warning system for
upcoming issues and crisis management


- host a 6 member team of Twitter-friendly
staff that creates intimacy with key
customers and links to other company staff
- crawl the blogosphere and Twittersphere to
come up with best tactical ideas like
Carmageddon offer


- one of top brands/the top airline on
Twitter – 1.6 million+ followers
- popular blog that turned from a crew
member-only version to a public-facing one
- Flickr page with over 13,000 pictures
- #1 customer loyalty airline brand
- net promoter score of 60% - 45 points
higher than the other 8 major airlines



- in 2009, turned official web page into a
running feed of Facebook, Twitter, video
and stunt activities
- stay on the leading edge by leveraging
teen-centred activities of Experiencing the
Rainbow, Tasting the Rainbow and Raising
the Rainbow activities that are seasonally
and topically relevant
- integrate all activities across social
media, particularly Facebook


- among top ten Facebook brands - 19.6
million fans
- almost overnight, 6-10x heavier sharing of
brand on Twitter and Facebook


- low kids’ exposure to the outdoors –
down ½ vs. 20 years ago
- issues with childhood obesity –
doubled since 30 years ago


- build a portal of content that inspires
parents and youth to pursue outdoor activities
- keep people up to date on fresh
content through social media
- establish a 5 year commitment
through partnerships


- built a content portal with sections on
causes, wildlife, shopping, fundraising,
content and experience
- established J&J, Warner Bros. ”Where
The Wild Things Are” and American
Girl as founding partners
- Hike and Seek fun events for kids


- an ongoing portal with 10,000 nature
sites, 50,000 outdoor areas and
continuing series of events
- award-winning fundraising with only 4%
of funds spent on fundraising given efficient
social and transitional media
- over 120 staff now involved on Twitter

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 58

Using Digital Engagement
as a Customer
Service Channel

Generating Insights/
Ideas from Your Members

Creating Amazing User –
Generated Content

“Zappos – The Tweeting
Customer King”

“Ben & Jerry’s
Do the World a Flavour
Crowdsourcing Experiment”

“Freshii Eatery Launches
the Social Menu”


- the business leader in customer experience
- the rise of real-time Twitter


- leverage the power of Twitter employee
connections, search and subdomains to deliver
better Zappos’ customer service


- supportive and streamlined Zappos‘
employee Twitter policy:
- Establish important Zappos’ twitter
sub-domains :
· · Zappos Public Mentions
· Employee Tweets · Employee TwitPics
· Employees Who Twitter
- less than hour turnaround on Tweeted issues
and human-styled response
- Annual 480-page "Culture Book,“ describing
Zappos' company culture by employees


- 494 Employees of 1,600 on Twitter
- CEO has 1.8 Million Followers
- 4th largest non-media, non-tech
brand on Twitter
- grew company from $1.6MM to
current $1B+ company
- viewed as top customer service company
by Greenfield Online 2010


- a history of fun, funky and fanproposed flavours
- the rise of social media


- run a 13 country web-enabled
competition to find a new B&J flavor


- through a web platform, fans and users
create their own tub, ice cream base,
chunks and swirls, and name
- favourite flavours are put into production
the following year
- support values-led sourcing communication
and got fans to think deeper about
sustainability of ingredients


- average engagement (time spent on site)
on website tripled
- overnight, the Ben & Jerry’s brand become
Unilever’s top web engaged brand
through this promotion
- US produced 100k entries and Europe
produced 71k entries with no above the line
or below the line support – close to 20%
directly produced through Facebook


- a breadth of sandwich options
- the rise of Freshii’s participation in a
vast array of social media


- build the freshest 5 menu combinations as
developed by customers and brand social fans
- support new locations with this trendy news


- created 5 of the fittest menu items based
on a number of ingredient and bread combos
- messaged through its key email and
social networks
- posted top menu results online, offline
and via PR


- 8,000+ Twitter followers
- 5,000+ Facebook fans
- 2011 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year
- increased Freshii’s transparent and
visionary image
- supported growing from one location
in 2005 to 45 locations in 2011

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 59

Driving Traffic and
Revenues via Digital

Telling and Spreading
Great Stories

Building Brand Buzz
and Advocacy

“Tasti D - Lite Drives Ice
Cream Sales and Loyalty”

“AARP Creates
The Good”

“National Centre for Family
Literacy and Wonderopolis
Making Learning Fun Again”




- mobile (e.g. Fourquare) and social
networks (e.g. Facebook) on the rise
- loyalty programs don’t integrate well
with social media

- not well-known cause, but with a history of
volunteering and service
- need for real time information w/ disasters
and volunteer opportunities

- learning/reading is viewed as being a
chore/not being encouraged in homes
- the rise of social media



- build colourful visual portal that created a
daily series of things that encouraged children
to wonder

- build an integrated loyalty registration
portal married to social
networking and loyalty marketing efforts
- each Tasti D-Lite user has 91 social network
friends and 50% of them are geographically
nearby Tasti D-Lite locations


- points received for purchases, registering
and connecting account on Twitter,
Facebook and Foursquare
- when purchasing and redeeming,
automatic tweets/posts are sent out
- in-shop iPads serve as customer
information kiosks
- Twitter-dominant networking focus –
on signs, ads, iPad-driven kiosk, iPhone
app, trackable POS system


- 20% of reward members enable
connections to social networks
- Positive ROI, seen as progressive leading
edge brand by franchises/industry

- create community portal and drive
perception with audience not optimally
reached w/ email or traditional web
- establish Twitter, Facebook, YouTube
and Foursquare extensions
- house 260,000 volunteer opportunities
and 30 how-to guides


- 2-3x weekly blog posts
- 32 uploaded video stories
- 10-15 tweets per day of helpful
volunteer opportunities
- 3-4 Facebook posts and stories and
opportunities per day
- Mapping functionality of local
volunteering opportunities


- 287,127 community signups
- 10,000+ Twitter followers
- 8,200+ Facebook fans
- 23,000+ Youtube channel views



- now up to 441 Wonders of the Day
- two phases:
I. – get noticed through website,
Facebook and Twitter
II. – identify enthusiastic organizations
and handraisers


- 18,500 visitors in first month
- 670% increase in monthly visitors year 1
- One of Time’s 50 best websites in 2011
- 2,000+ heavily engaged Twitter fans
consisting of many affiliated learning

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 60

Keeping Campers Happy
and Connected

Launching New Locations

Jumping onto Facebook

“YMCA Camps Keep Their
Community Engaged”

“YMCA of Western Ontario Lets
Online Community Build Offline”

“YMCA Chicago Launches
their Facebook Plunge”


- how to keep campers engaged with the
YMCA over the non-summer months


- Create an online game with a camp theme
to encourage a reason to check out our
web site. Play with friends, and compete
for the best score.


- Created the game. Launched in Jan 2011
- Emailed our new and past campers to
check out the game
- Tweeted the link, posted on our
Facebook page


- in the first nine months, the game has
had more than 100,000 hits
- anecdotally, campers have enjoyed playing
- Check it out.


- launching a new location
in London, Ontario
- no physical location until completion
of construction


- Support new location,
community-building and renewal
through online


-meetups enabled by email and
social networks
- coordinate news and activities in absence
of a physical venue
- initial web community established


- successful launch of new location
- well attended string of outdoor events
(e.g. barbeque)
- revenue goals exceeding target
- new members brought into the YMCA
based on community outreach


- lack of YMCA Chicago history with
the social web
- talent and resource gaps and time


- YMCA Chicago to make an intense foray into
Facebook with the establishment and
management of 15 pages – behind
Facebook’s new design
- Establish/build a presence quickly –
Built a schedule of staggered timelines
and one-day bootcamp
- Centrally designed Facebook pages,
shared content posting and 50-author
local rollout and outreach


- One-day bootcamp and rollout
- Hard initial targets – 25 fans/site
- 4 staff/50 authors part of plan


- 116 intro/191 monthly wall posts
- 1,500+ unique page views
- 1,100 fans in one week, 2,285 fans in 5 weeks
- 396 comments on introductory posts
- 1 year later – 30 pages/11.9k fans

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 61


The Directory of the Top 150+ Websites in the World Your Essential Library for Digital Engagement
The web is simply amazing and super-abundant with good resources. We’ve gone through
with a fine toothcomb to see which sites could provide great input to your digital engagement
learning. Have a regular 10 minute stop over morning coffee on a few of these and add the
most relevant to your Google Reader or other web-based aggregation tool.

a.Top 6 General News Sites
Huffington Post – the most popular news blog with syndicated columnists, blogs
and news stories with moderated comments
The Guardian – the latest news, sport, business, comment, analysis and reviews from
the Guardian, the world’s leading liberal voice
New York Times – breaking news, multimedia, reviews & opinion on Washington,
business, sports, movies, travel, books, jobs, education, real estate, cars & more

CNET News – computing and technology news service presents original stories and
investigative reports in real-time – Canada’s public broadcasting web face for news, entertainment, sports and
The Globe and Mail – offers the most authoritative news in Canada, featuring
national and international news

b. Top 6 Business Sites
Fast Company – where ideas and people meet - dedicated to reporting about how
the “fast companies”; entrepreneurs, and cutting-edge are doing what they do

Canadian Business – articles on technology, investing and other such topics as they
relate to national economic issues

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 62

American Express Open Forum – a wealth of resources for business owners videos, articles, blogs, podcasts, and expert advice to boost your business, sponsored
by American Express
Bloomberg BusinessWeek – the latest international business news & stock market
Harvard Business Review – business management case studies, articles, books,
and more from Harvard Business Review, addressing today’s topics and challenges in
business – the web face to Canada’s only all-business and financial news television

c. Top 10 Trends/Ideas Sites
PSFK – the go-to source for Ideas and trends in creative business, cars, design,
gadgets, fashion and technology reported daily
TED Talks – sets of 20 minutes talks and conferences held worldwide to disseminate
“ideas worth spreading”
Springwise – scans the globe for smart new business ideas, delivering instant
inspiration to entrepreneurial minds
Trendhunter – the largest community for trends, trend spotting, cool hunting,
innovation, fashion trends, style, gadgets, tech, pop culture, art, and design.

Trendwatching – emerging consumer trends from around the world

Cool Business Ideas – brand new promising business ideas around the world you
wish you’d thought of
Digital Trends – home for technology trends, news, product reviews, mobile app
reviews and daily videos
Josh Spear – scouring the globe for the next great thing. Reviewing design, art,
fashion, music, and trends
Future Lab – marketing strategy and innovation blog

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 63

Big Think – a forum where top experts explore the big ideas and core skills defining
the 21st century

d. Top 11 Pop Culture Sites
Gawker – definitive news and gossip sheet for followers of entertainment, media,
and business
Boing Boing – group blog of cultural curiosities and interesting technologies

Rocketboom – daily internet culture news site and video blog based in New York
Holy Kaw – all the stuff that interests one of the world’s most popular aggregator
The Daily Infographic – data-filled illustrations everyday
Geek Sugar – destination for tech-savvy women (and the not-so-tech-savvy, of
course) for all things pop tech
Pop Hangover – humour and funny photos on pop culture
Urban Dictionary – the dictionary written by you – includes streetwise lingo, slang
words and phrases and texting shortforms
eBaum’s World – funny videos, funny pictures, funny galleries, funny links, flash
games, jokes, caption contests, photoshop contests
Teen Television – the top digital entertainment network for teens and young adults

Sweetspot – Canada’s first online trendspotting guide with four subsections
SweetLife, SweetHome, SweetMama and SweetFit.

e. Top 8 Getting Answers Sites
Wikipedia – the world’s biggest online encyclopedia and biggest nonentertainment website

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 64

Quora – continually improving collection of questions and answers created,
edited, and organized by everyone who uses it
Lifehacker – curates tips, tricks, and technology for living better in the digital age

Wikihow – the how-to manual that you can edit
Yahoo Answers – the web’s leading community-powered questions and answers
5Min – short instructional videos providing solutions to common questions

Instructables – the biggest how-to and DIY community where people make and
share inspiring, entertaining, and useful projects, recipes, and hacks.

Formspring – one of the world’s largest and most casual social Q&A sites

f. Top 4 Aggregator Sites
Google Reader – read all your fave websites in one place

Alltops – all the top headlines from popular topics around the web

Technorati – real-time search for user-generated media (including weblogs) by tag
or keyword
Stumble Upon – a discovery engine that finds the best of the web, recommended
just for you

g. Top 14 Digital/Tech Sites
Techcrunch – a group-edited blog about technology start-ups, particularly the Web
2.0 sector

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 65

ZD Net – the latest technology news, comments and product reviews focusing on IT
hardware, software, mobile, security, and other special topics

CNET – covering the business world of tech
PC World – the source for tech product reviews, tech news, how-tos and free
Engadget – the technology blog network with daily coverage of gadgets and
consumer electronics
Gigaom – breaking news and in-depth analysis on the business of technology

Gizmodo – a go-to authority for gadget news and digital culture
All Things Digital – Wall Street Journal’s take on Tech
Wired – current and future trends in technology, and how they are shaping business,
entertainment, communications, science
Read Write Web – a blog that provides web technology news, reviews and analysis,
covering web apps, web technology trends, social networking

The Verge – technology-focused news publication founded in 2011 providing
breaking news coverage and in-depth reporting, product information, and
community content
Techvibes – the latest technology news and updates from Canada and across North
Backbone Magazine – Canadian business, technology and lifestyle magazine

Wikibrands – reinventing your business in a customer-driven marketplace,
ongoing posts based on insights and learning from book

h.Top 12 New Media/Social Media Sites
Mashable – social media news blog covering cool new websites and social
networks: Facebook, Google, Twitter, MySpace and YouTube.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 66

Web Strategist – Jeremiah Owyang’s take on social media from an inside and
outside the enterprise perspective
Viral Blog – viral videos, games, advertising, research and social media

Webguild – forum for web professionals, webmasters, corporate internet marketers,
content managers, CMOs, CIOs, SEMs, SEOs and entrepreneurs
What’s Next Blog – B.L. Ochman’s Internet Marketing Strategy, social media trends,
news and community
Social Media Examiner – helps businesses master social media marketing with
Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn to find leads, increase sales and build brand
Social Media Explorer – explores social media, social media marketing and public
relations through commentary and analysis
Smartbrief on Social Media – designed for marketers and decision makers
who need to stay ahead of social networking trends

Going Social Now – Shiv Singh’s blog on social media marketing – social media news and business
The Digital Influence Mapping Project – Ogilvy’s John Bell’s take on social media
for business
Danny Brown – the human side of media and the social side of marketing

i.Top 15 Marketing/PR/Communications Sites
Ad Age – the leading global source of news, intelligence and conversation for
marketing and media communities
Seth Godin – Seth Godin’s riffs on marketing, respect, and the ways ideas spread.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 67

DuctTape Marketing – small business marketing strategies and recommendations

Media Bistro – a network of 15 leading communications blogs http://www.mediabistro.

Brandflakes for Breakfast – ideas that inspire digital, marketing and creative
ClickZ – expert advice about online marketing, email, brand and interactive
marketing, and search engine marketing
Media Bistro’s Agency Spy – insider news about agency work and culture

Ads of the World – the largest creative advertising archive and community

Marketing Pilgrim – Andy Beal’s take on internet and search marketing

The Hidden Persuader – an eye for information and great ad campaigns

Adverblog – only the best ideas of digital advertising and marketing

Marketing Magazine – the Canadian source of news and articles on marketing,
advertising and media
Strategy – Canada’s bold vision and powerful ideas

The CMA – the largest marketing association in Canada embracing all marketing
disciplines, channels and technologies

j.Top 6 Word of Mouth/Alt Marketing Sites
Damn I Wish I Thought of That – unusually useful ideas for smart marketers http://

The WOMMA Word – word of mouth news and updates from the trade association
for word of mouth

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 68

Buzz Canuck – everything about buzz, word of mouth and evangelism from Canada
and the world
Brains on Fire – igniting powerful, sustainable word of mouth movements

Digital Buzz blog – featuring the latest online ad campaigns, hot new websites,
interactive marketing

k.Top 7 Community/Collaboration Sites
Community Roundtable – a membership-based network of community, social
media, and social business managers and executives
Managing Communities – passionately writing about online communities

Feverbee – how to grow thriving online community sites
John Winsor – views on marketing, advertising, collaboration, co-creation and
Influencers and Community Marketing – listen and engage with the people
who matter
Wikinomics Blog – rebooting business and the world through collaboration and
Brandthroposophy – a brand, marketing, social media blog with a specialty in
online communities and word of mouth

l. Top 6 Content Development/Management/Marketing Sites
Copyblogger – tips, software, and training for copywriters, bloggers, and
content marketers. Online marketing strategies and solutions that work

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 69

Hubspot Blog – award winning blog on Internet marketing, search engine
optimization, inbound marketing, analytics, best content practices

Reel SEO – the online video marketing guide
Conversation Agent – connecting ideas and people – how talk can change our lives

Junta 42 – trends in content marketing, and how marketers can learn to think and
act like publishers
Michel Fortin – articles, tips, and news, as well as some of his opinions and ideas
on Internet marketing, direct response copywriting, and personal development skills

m. Top 7 Search/SEO Sites
Search Engine Land – a must-read hub for news and information about search
engine marketing, optimization and how search engines work

SEOmoz Blog – tips, tricks and advice on search engines

Search Engine Journal – a community approach to the reporting of search engine
news & the sharing of Search Engine Marketing knowledge

Search Engine Roundtable – report on the most interesting threads taking place at
the SEM (Search Engine Marketing) forums
Compete – online marketing insights
GShift Labs Blog – up-to-date content about the world of organic search including
tips, trends and recommendations
Web Traffic ROI – dedicated to help bloggers, entrepreneurs, small business owners
and companies make their online business better.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 70

n. Top 11 Design/Web Design Sites
Smashing Magazine – online magazine for professional Web designers and
developers with focus on valuable techniques and best practices

Ad Goodness – showcasing the best advertising and design around the world

David Airey – a brand design blog
Graphic Designers blog – the ultimate resource for graphic designers

Brand Freeze – brand and design delight
Information is Beautiful – ideas, issues, knowledge and data visualized

Six Revisions – useful information for web developers and designers

The Roxor – the design blog for resources and inspiration
Creative Nerds – A design blog dedicated to showcasing fresh design tutorials as
well as high quality design freebies – a community-based website for web designers and developers
including a popular blog, a user-submitted news section, a design gallery, and a
design job board
Adobe’s Design Centre – see how today’s designers engage with technology and
what their experiences mean for design, design tools, and society

Ideas on Ideas – A collection of lengthy, opinionated, and generally unapologetic
essays on design, brands, and experience.

o. Top 6 Customer Experience Sites
Logic + Emotion – David Armano’s blog that sits at the intersection of business,
design + the social web.
Experience Matters – connecting brands, leaders, employees and customers

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 71

Mass Customization and Open Innovation News – Frank Piller’s strategies
of value co-creation between organizations and customers

Customers Rock – focusing on customers, their experiences and how business
can make them…rock
Gary Vaynerchuk – from the guy who reinvented the wine industry

The Experience is the Message by Max Lenderman – the worthiest and most
actionable experiential marketing articles, campaigns, research, gossip, shit-talk
and other musings

p. Top 9 eCommerce Sites
Get Elastic – #1 subscribed ecommerce blog providing tips and tricks to
improve your ecommerce sites
Bazaar Voice – shares insights on social commerce and social media ROI from the
team members and clients
eCommerce Times – everything you need to know about doing business on the
eCommerce and Entrepreneurship Blog – collective of experiences, thoughts,
processes and updates from people that are not only actively working in ecommerce
but are also zealous about the industry
Practical eCommerce – insights for online merchants blog – a blog from a poplar ecommerce software platform blog – content from the preeminent community for ecommerce and
multichannel retailers,
The Forrester Blog for eBusiness Strategy – a roll-up of all the posts from
Forrester analysts who serve eBusiness & Channel Strategy Professionals. – insights on income generated by the power of blogging

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 72

q. Top 6 Mobile Sites
Engadget Mobile – popular daily coverage of gadgets and consumer electronics

Mobile Marketing Watch – the best practices and pulse of the mobile marketing
Communities Dominate Brands – a global view on mobile developments

The Next Web Mobile – the latest on mobile technology and culture

Information Week – Mobility – the business value of mobility

The Location-Based Marketing Association – dedicated to fostering research,
education and collaborative innovation at the intersection of people, places and

r. Top 8 Measurement/Analytics sites
Avinash Kauskik’s Occam’s Razor – the leading web analytics and research blog

Google Analytics Blog – Google’s official weblog offering news, tips and resources
related to Google’s web traffic analytics service
Which Test Won? – case studies to help inspire and educate the marketing
community about testing
KD Paine’s Measurement Blog – how to measure public affairs, media relations,
social media, internal communications or blogs
Comscore Voices – shares perspective on the latest events and trends in global
Internet behavior
Klout – provides social media analytics to measure a user’s influence across their
social network (10+ networks tracked)
Sysomos Blog – blog and insight from one of the world’s leading social media
analytics companies.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 73

Radian6 Blog – best practices and insights from the world’s biggest social
media monitor.

s. Top 7 Philanthropy/Cause-Building Sites
NTEN – where the non-profit technology community meets
Chronicle of Philanthropy – the news source for charity leaders, fund raisers, grant
makers, and others involved in philanthropic enterprises

Osorio – the best of not-for-profit advertising and marketing for social causes

SOFII – the showcase of fundraising innovation and inspiration
Beth’s Blog – how networked nonprofits are using social media to power change

Charity Village – Canada’s supersite for the nonprofit sector, with thousands of
pages of news, jobs, resources and links.
Imagine Canada – a national program to promote public and corporate giving,
volunteering and support to the community.

t. Top 6 Youth/Parent Engagement Sites
Minti – answers and advice articles for parents
Today Parenting – key American portal for all things parent

Apparenting – a single dad with three kids, advice on parenting

Canadian – Canada’s parenting community

Today’s Parent – solving problems for Canadian moms and dads

Kids Help Phone – information from not-for-profit focused on improving the
well-being of children and youth in Canada

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 74

u. Top 5 K-12 Education Sites
Edutopia – A George Lucas Educational Foundation site that provides state of the art
research, thoughts and practice for educators.
Powerful Learning Practice – a site that focuses on professional learning for
teachers who want to ‘21st centuryize’ their curriculum and teaching practice.

International Society for Technology in Education – the premier membership
association for educators and education leaders engaged in improving learning
and teaching by advancing the effective use of technology in PK-12 and teacher
International Education and Resource Network – iEARN is a non-profit
organization made up of over 30,000 schools and youth organizations in more than
130 countries. iEARN empowers teachers and young people to work together online
using the Internet and other new communications technologies.

Taking IT Global – Taking IT Global’s mission is to empower youth to understand
and act on the world’s greatest challenges.

v. Top 11 Health, Fitness and Recreation Sites
NY Times – Fitness and Nutrition - a daily guide for exercise and eating well, w/
extensive selection of healthy recipes

MSNBC – Fitness – healthy inspiration on fitness, weight control and obesity and
Sports Medicine and Fitness News Today – daily news on sports injuries, injury
prevention, treatment, maximizing peak performance and exercise
Science Daily – Fitness – the source for latest fitness news

CNN Health – a portal for all things health, diet, living well, fitness, conditions and
Chicago Tribune Health – Health research, medicine, healthcare, fitness and
nutrition coverage from Chicago’s top daily

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 75

Best Health Magazine – the best information on feeling beautiful, being healthier,
eating well and embracing life for Canadian women
Get Out There – Canadian source for endurance sorts, outdoor recreation and
Health Canada – the official website for the Government of Canada’s health
CBC Canada – Live RightNow – Canada’s national health campaign and million
pound weight loss challenge
Explore Magazine – Canada’s outdoor adventure magazine

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 76

AdSense – An advertising program by which Google acts as the intermediary between
content sites and web advertisers.
App ­– Popularized in the general lexicon by the iPhone, an app is simply an application that
performs a specific function on your computer or handheld device. Apps run the gamut
from Web browsers and games to specialized programs like digital recorders, online chat or
music players.
Application Programing Interface (API) – An API is a documented interface that allows one
software application to to interact with another application. An example of this is the
Twitter API.
Astroturfing – is a fake grassroots campaign that seeks to create the impression of
legitimate buzz or interest in a product, service or idea. Often this movement is motivated
by a payment or gift to the writer of a post or comment or may be written under a
Avatar – An Avatar is an image or username that represents a person online within forums
and social networks.

B – is a free URL shortening service that provides statistics for the links users share
online. is popularly used to condense long URLs to make them easier to share on
social networks such as Twitter.
Blog – Blog is a word that was created from two words: “web log”. Blogs are usually
maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events,
or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reversechronological order. “Blog” can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content
to a blog.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 77

Blogger – Blogger is a free blogging platform owned by Google that allows individuals and
companies to host and publish a blog typically on a subdomain. Example: yourblogname.
BoardReader – BoardReader is a free search engine that allows users to search for keywords
only in posts and titles of online forums, a popular forum of social networking.

Chat – Chat can refer to any kind of communication over the Internet, but traditionally refers
to one-to-one communication through a text-based chat application commonly referred to
as instant messaging applications.
Click Through Rate (CTR) – The ratio/percentage of the number of times an ad is clicked
divided by the number of times an ad is viewed.
Cloud computing – (also called “the cloud”) refers to the growing phenomenon of users
who can access their data from anywhere rather than being tied to a particular machine.
Collective Intelligence – Collective Intelligence is a shared or group intelligence that
emerges from the collaboration and competition of many individuals and appears in
consensus decision-making in social networks.
Comment – A comment is a response that is often provided as an answer of reaction to a
blog post or message on a social network. Comments are a primary form of two-way
communication on the social web.
Compete – Compete is a web-based application that offers users and businesses web
analytics and enables people to compare and contrast the statistics for different
websites over time.
Conversion – refers to site traffic that follows through on the goal of the site (such as buying
a product on-line, filling out a contact form, registering for a newsletter, etc.). Webmasters
measure conversion to judge the effectiveness (and ROI) of PPC and other advertising
Craigslist – Craigslist is a popular online commerce site in which users sell a variety of goods
and services to other users. The service has been credited for causing the reduction of
classified advertising in newspapers across the United States.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 78

Creative Commons – Creative Commons is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to making
it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules
of copyright. It provides free licenses and other legal tools to mark creative work with the
freedom the creator wants it to carry, so others can share, remix, use commercially, or any
combination thereof.
Crowdsourcing - refers to harnessing the skills and enthusiasm of those outside an
organization who are prepared to volunteer their time contributing content or skills and
solving problems.

Delicious – Delicious is a free online bookmarking service that lets users save website
addresses publicly and privately online so that they can be accessed from any device
connected to the Internet and shared with friends.
Digg – Digg is a social news website that allows members to submit and vote for articles.
Articles with the most votes appear on the homepage of the site and subsequently are seen
by the largest portion of the site’s membership as well as other visitors.
Disqus – Disqus is a comment system and moderation tool for your site. This service lets you
add next-gen community management and social web integration to any site on any
Drupal –  is a free, open-source platform and content management system written in php.
It is often used as a “back end” system that powers community features on many different
types of sites, ranging from personal blogs to large corporate and political sites.

Embedding – the act of adding code to a website so that a video or photo can be displayed
while it’s being hosed at another site. Many users now watch embedded YouTube videos or
see Flickr photos on blogs rather than on the original site.
EventBrite – Eventbrite is a provider of online event management and ticketing services.
Eventbrite is free if your event is free. If you sell tickets to your event, Eventbrite collects a fee
per ticket.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 79

Facebook – Facebook is a social utility that connects people with friends and others who
work, study and live around them. Facebook is the largest social network in the world with
more than 500 million users.
Feed – a web feed or RSS feed is a format that provides users with frequently updated
content. Content distributors syndicate a Web feed, enabling users to subscribe to a site’s
latest content. By using a news reader to subscribe to a feed, you can read the latest posts or
watch the newest videos on your computer or portable device on your own schedule.
Firefox – Firefox is an open-source web browser. It has emerged as one of the most popular
web browsers on the Internet and allows users to customize their browser through the use
of third-party extensions.
Flash Mob – A flash mob is a large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public
place, perform an unusual and pointless act for a brief time, then quickly disperse. The term
flash mob is generally applied only to gatherings organized via telecommunications, social
media, or viral emails.
Flickr – Flickr is a social network based around online picture sharing. The service allows
users to store photos online and then share them with others through profiles, groups, sets
and other methods.
Forums – Also known as a message board, a forum is an online discussion site. It originated
as the modern equivalent of a traditional bulletin board, and a technological evolution of
the dialup bulletin board system.
Foursquare – Foursquare is a social network in which friends share their locations and
connect with others in close physical proximity to each other. The service uses a system
of digital badges to reward players who “checkin” to different types of locations.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 80

Google Plus – Google Plus is a social networking, integration and messaging tool from
Google, designed to integrate into the company’s web-based email program, Gmail. Users
can share links, photos, videos, status messages, collaborate in hangouts, place members in
Circles and comments organized in “conversations” and visible in the user’s inbox.
Google Chrome – Google Chrome is a free web browser produced by Google that fully
integrates into its online search system as well as other applications.
Google Documents – Google Documents is a group of web-based office applications that
includes tools for word processing, presentations and spreadsheet analysis. All documents
are stored and edited online and allow multiple people to collaborate on a document in
Gowalla – Gowalla is a social network in which friends share their locations and connect
with others in close psychical proximity to each other. Recently purchased by Facebook.

Hashtag – A hashtag is a tag used on the social network Twitter as a way to annotate a
message. A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a “#”. Example: #yourhashtag. Hashtags
are commonly used to show that a tweet, a Twitter message, is related to an event or
hi5 – hi5 is a social network focused on the youth market. It is a social entertainment
destination, with a focus on delivering a fun and entertainment-driven social experience
online to users around the world.
Hootsuite - a Canadian-based social media communications dashboard used for online
brand management.  It publishes to websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google +, LinkedIn,
Flickr, Foursquare, MySpace, Tumblr, Wordpress and YouTube.
HTML – HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is a programing language for web pages.
Think of HTML as the brick-and-mortar of pages on the web -- it provides content and
structure while CSS supplies style. HTML has changed over the years and it is on the cusp of
its next version: HTML5.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 81

Inbound Marketing – Inbound marketing is a style of marketing that essentially focuses
on getting found by customers. This sense is related to relationship marketing and Seth
Godin’s idea of permission marketing. David Meerman Scott recommends that marketers
“earn their way in” (via publishing helpful information on a blog etc.) in contrast to outbound
marketing where they used to have to “buy, beg, or bug their way in” (via paid
advertisements, issuing press releases in the hope they get picked up by the trade press,
or paying commissioned sales people, respectively).
Instagram – is a free photo-sharing application  that allows users to take a photo, apply a
digital filter, then share it a variety of social networking services including Instagram’s own.
Instant Messaging – Instant messaging (IM) is a form of real-time direct text-based
communication between two or more people. More advanced instant messaging software
clients also allow enhanced modes of communication, such as live voice or video calling.

Joomla – Joomla is an content management system (CMS) which enables users to build
websites and online applications.

Keyword or Keyphrase – Keywords are words which are used in search engine queries.
Keyphrases are multi-word phrases used in search engine queries. SEO involves the process
of optimizing web pages for keywords and keyphrases so that they rank highly in the results
returned for search queries.

Lifecasting – Lifecasting is a continual broadcast of events in a person’s life through digital
media. Typically, lifecasting is transmitted through the Internet and can involve wearable
Like – A “Like” is an action that can be made by a Facebook user. Instead of writing a
comment for a message or a status update, a Facebook user can click the “Like” button
as a quick way to show approval and share the message.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 82

Link Building – Link building is an aspect of search engine optimization in which website
owners develop strategies to generate links to their site from other websites with the hopes
of improving their search engine ranking. Blogging has emerged as a popular method of
link building.
LinkedIn – LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site. Founded in December
2002 and launched in May 2003, it is mainly used for professional networking. As of June
2010, LinkedIn had more than 70 million registered users, spanning more than 200 countries
and territories worldwide
Lurker – A lurker online is a person who reads discussions on a message board, newsgroup,
social network, or other interactive system, but rarely or never participates in the discussion.

Mashup – A content mashup contains multiple types of media drawn from pre-existing
sources to create a new work. Digital mashups allow individuals or businesses to create new
pieces of content by combining multiple online content sources.
Microblogging – is the act of broadcasting short messages to other subscribers of a Web
service. On Twitter, entries are limited to 140 characters, and applications like Yammer, Plurk
and Jaiku take a similar approach with sharing bite-size media.
MySpace – MySpace is a social networking website owned by News Corporation. MySpace
became the most popular social networking site in the United States in June 2006 and was
overtaken internationally by its main competitor, Facebook, in April 2008.

Net Neutrality – is the principle requiring Internet providers to act as common carriers and
not discriminate among content or users — for example, by providing degraded service to
rich-media sites, by throttling file-sharing services, by penalizing customers who watch or
download a lot of videos or by blocking Internet applications and content from competitors.
News Reader – A news reader allows users to aggregate articles from multiple websites
into one place using RSS feeds. The purpose of these aggregators is to allow for a faster and
more efficient consumption of information.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 83

Open Source – refers to software code that is free to build upon. But open source has taken
on a broader meaning — such as open source journalism and open source politics — to
refer to the practice of collaboration and free sharing of media and information to advance
the public good. Well-known open-source projects include the Linux operating system, the
Apache Web server and the Firefox browser.
Organic Listings – listings that search engines do not sell (unlike paid listings). Instead, sites
appear solely because a search engine has deemed it editorially important for them to be
included, regardless of payment. Paid Inclusion content is also often considered “organic”
even though it is paid for. This is because that content appears intermixed with unpaid
organic results.
Orkut – Orkut is a social networking website that is owned and operated by Google. The
website is named after its creator, Google employee Orkut Büyükkökten. Although Orkut is
less popular in the United States than competitors Facebook and MySpace, it is one of the
most visited websites in India and Brazil.

Paid search marketing – is the placement of paid ads for a business or service on a search
engine results page. An advertiser pays the search engine if the visitor clicks on the ad (payper-click or PPC).
Permalink – A permalink is an address or URL of a particular post within a blog or website.
Podcast – A podcast, or non-streamed webcast, is a series of digital media files, either audio
or video, that are released episodically and often downloaded through an RSS feed.
Posterous – Posterous is a blogging and content syndication platform that allows users to
post content from any computer or mobile device by sending an e-mail.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 84

Quantcast – Quantcast provides website traffic and demographics for websites. The tool is
primarily used by online advertisers looking to target specific demographics.

Real-Time Search – Real-time search is the method of indexing content being published
online into search engine results with virtually no delay.
Reddit – Reddit is similar to Digg and Newsvine. It is a social news site that is built upon a
community of users who share and comment on stories.
RSS (Really Simple Syndication) – sometimes called web feeds – is a Web standard for
the delivery of content — blog entries, news stories, headlines, images, video — enabling
readers to stay current with favorite publications or producers without having to browse
from site to site. blogs and news content using a news reader.  All blogs, podcasts and
videoblogs contain an RSS feed, which lets users subscribe to content automatically and
read or listen to the material on a computer or a portable device. Most people use an RSS
reader, or news aggregator, to monitor updates.

Screencast – is a video that captures what takes place on a computer screen, usually
accompanied by audio narration. A screencast is often created to explain how a website or
piece of software works, but it can be any piece of explanatory video that strings together
images or visual elements.
Scribd – Scribd turns document formats such as PDF, Word and PowerPoint into a web
document for viewing and sharing online.
Search engine marketing (SEM) – is a series of online tactics that, when combined with
search engine optimization, helps to attract customers, generate brand awareness and build
trust. SEM (sometimes called search marketing) seeks to increase websites’ visibility chiefly
through the purchase of pay-per-click ads and paid inclusion.
Search Engine Optimization – Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving the
volume or quality of traffic to a website from search engines via unpaid or organic search

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 85

Second Life – Second Life is an online virtual world developed by Linden Lab that was
launched on June 23, 2003. Users are called “residents” and they interact with each other
through avatars. Residents can explore, meet other residents, socialize, participate in
individual and group activities, create and trade virtual property and services with one
another, and travel throughout the world.
Seesmic – Seesmic is a popular desktop and mobile social application. Using APIs, Seesmic
allows users to share content on social networks such as Twitter and Google Buzz from the
same application.
Sentiment – Sentiment is normally referred to as the attitude of user comments related to a
brand online. Some social media monitoring tools measure sentiment.
SlideShare – SlideShare is an online social network for sharing presentations and documents.
Users can favorite and embed presentations as well as share them on other social networks
such as Twitter and Facebook.
Skype – Skype is a free program that allows for text, audio and video chats between users.
Additionally, users can purchase plans to receive phone calls through their Skype account.
SMS – stands for Short Message Service, a system that allows the exchange of short text-based
messages between mobile devices.
Social bookmarking – is a method by which users locate, store, organize, share and manage
bookmarks of Web pages without being tied to a particular machine. Users store lists of
personally interesting Internet resources and usually make these lists publicly accessible.
Social Media – Social media is media designed to be disseminated through social interaction,
created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques.Social Media Monitoring –
Social media monitoring is a process of monitoring and
responding to mentions related to a business that occur in social media.
StumbleUpon – Free web-browser extension which acts as an intelligent browsing tool for
discovering and sharing web sites.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 86

Tag Cloud – A tag cloud is a visual depiction of user-generated tags, or simply the word
content of a site, typically used to describe the content of web sites.
Technorati – Technorati is a popular blog search engine that also provides categories and
authority rankings for blogs.
Troll – in internet slang, a troll is someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant
or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum or chat
room, with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response or to
generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion.
TweetDeck – TweetDeck is an application that connects users with contacts across Twitter,
Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and more.
Tweetup – A Tweetup is an organized or impromptu gathering of people that use Twitter.
Twitter – Twitter is a platform that allows users to share 140-character-long messages
publicly. User can “follow” each other as a way of subscribing to each others’ messages.
Additionally, users can use the @username command to direct a message towards another
Twitter user.
Twitter Search – Twitter Search is a search engine operated by Twitter to search for Twitter
messages and users in real-time.
Tumblr – Tumblr lets users share content in the form of a blog. Users can post text, photos,
quotes, links, music, and videos from your browser, phone, desktop, or email.
TypePad – TypePad is a free and paid blogging platform similar to Blogger. It allows users to
host and publish their own blogs.

Unconference – An unconference is a facilitated, participant-driven conference centered
on a theme or purpose. The term “unconference” has been applied, or self-applied, to a wide
range of gatherings that try to avoid one or more aspects of a conventional conference,
such as high fees and sponsored presentations.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 87

User-generated content (UGC) – an industry term that refers to all forms of user-created
materials such as blog posts, reviews, podcasts, videos, comments and more.
USTREAM – USTREAM is a live interactive broadcast platform that enables anyone with an
Internet connection and a camera to engage to stream video online.
URL – A URL is most popularly known as the “address” of a web page on the World Wide
Web, e.g.

Video Blog – A video blog is a blog the produces regular video content often around the
same theme on a daily or weekly basis. An example of a successful video blog is Wine
Library TV.
Vimeo – Vimeo is a popular video sharing service in which users can upload videos to be
hosted online and shared and watched by others. Vimeo user videos are often more artistic
and the service does not allow commercial video content.
Viral Marketing – Viral marketing refers to marketing techniques that use pre-existing social
networks to produce increases in brand awareness or to achieve other marketing objectives
through self-replicating viral processes.

Web Analytics – Web analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of
Internet data for purposes of understanding and optimizing web usage.
Web conferencing – used to conduct live meetings or presentations over the Internet. In a
web conference, each participant sits at his or her own computer and is connected to other
participants via the Internet. This can be either a downloaded application on each of the
attendees computers or a web-based application where the attendees will simply enter a
URL (website address) to enter the conference.
Webinar – A webinar is used to conduct live meetings, training, or presentations via the
Widget – A widget is an element of a graphical user interface that displays an information
arrangement changeable by the user, such as a window or text box.

YMCA Digital Engagement Survival Guide | PAGE 88

Wiki – A wiki is a website that allows the easy creation and editing of any number of
interlinked web pages via a web browser, allowing for collaboration between users.
Wikipedia – Wikipedia is a free, web-based, collaborative, multilingual encyclopedia project
supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Its 15 million articles (over 3.3 million
in English) have been written collaboratively by volunteers around the world, and almost all
of its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the site.
WordPress – WordPress is a content management system and contains blog publishing
tools that allow users to host and publish blogs.

Yammer – Yammer is a business communication tool that operates as an internal Twitterlike messaging system for employees within an organization. It is used to provide real-time
communication and reduce the need for e-mail.
Yelp – Yelp is a social network and local search website that provides users with a platform
to review, rate and discuss local businesses. Over 31 million people access Yelp’s website
each month, putting it in the top 150 U.S. Internet websites.
YouTube – YouTube is a video-sharing website on which users can upload, share, and view
videos. Three former PayPal employees created YouTube in February 2005. In November
2006, YouTube, LLC was bought by Google Inc. for $1.65 billion, and is now operated as a
subsidiary of Google. YouTube is the largest video sharing site in the world.

Version 1.1

Building healthy
Plein de vies

Copyright @ 2012 by YMCA Canada
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be modified without prior permission from:
YMCA Canada
1867 Yonge Street, Suite 601
Toronto ON · M4S 1Y5
T: 416.967.9622