Entrepreneurial roles and causes that resonate: this combination has served as the guide for Meghan Reddick’s nonprofit marketing communications career. Understanding that nonprofit roles are just as intense and require just as much personal sacrifice as corporate roles, Meghan believes that putting her efforts behind a cause in which she truly believes is critical.

Since October 2010, Meghan has worked as the Vice President, Communications at YMCA Canada; a newly created role with a mandate to develop a master brand strategy for all Ys in Canada. In addition to branding, Meghan is responsible for YMCA Canada’s marketing, production, advertising, collateral development, digital engagement, crisis communications as well as public and media relations. The Y’s small national office of 20 people, supports 51 independent Member Associations – with locations in more than 1,000 communities – across the country.

From a marketing and awareness perspective, the YMCA is working to overcome a specific challenge: being perceived as only a ‘swim and gym’ facility. According to Meghan, the organization’s charitable status, and the breadth of YMCA Canada’s program offerings are not well understood and include large, respected childcare, employment services, camping and youth leadership programs, among others.

“When you add up all of the Ys in Canada, we serve more than two million people. Under our new Federation Strategic Plan, we are all working together to achieve a common mission; to nurture the potential of children, teens and young adults, promote healthy living and foster social responsibility,” explains Meghan. “A big part of my work over the last couple of years has been to develop a national brand strategy that all Associations in Canada embrace.”

Since 2010, Meghan has led the development of national brand guidelines (including visual identity and consistent messaging components), a new tagline (building healthy communities), common naming of YMCA Canada programs, and a national digital engagement strategy for both social media and web development. In the coming months, YMCA Canada will roll out its first nation-wide advertising campaign by MacLaren McAnn including TV, radio, video, print and digital.

Using a collaborative approach, Meghan has leveraged work that was already in place in the member Associations and struck a Brand Council made up of senior marketing and communications within the Associations.  According to Meghan, this approach allowed the group to take the best learning from everywhere, and elevate it together.

“Across the country, the Y has a lot of expertise, a lot of innovation. My job is to tap into those golden nuggets and share them with others,” says Meghan. “I’m really proud that we launched our national brand strategy in November 2011 and that every YMCA in Canada is now following the guidelines and embracing the strategy. The new brand is visibly rolling out in our physical spaces, and through our print materials and our messages. Most importantly, our member Associations are reaping the benefits of working together collaboratively, with shared resources and tools.”

Prior to joining the Y, Meghan was the Director of National Marketing at Kids Help Phone for ten years. “I feel it’s important to choose the causes I’m passionate about. If I’m going to be spending time away from my family every day for work, at least I can feel confident that I’m helping millions of kids and contributing to building healthy communities,” explains Meghan. “I look for jobs that are very entrepreneurial; a lot of my success has been in cultivating an idea and being allowed to follow it through. The great thing about nonprofits is that you can really make a difference if you put yourself out there, be bold and try.”

Connect with Meghan on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.

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Marlene Oliveira

Marlene Oliveira

Communications advisor and copywriter at moflow
Marlene Oliveira is communications consultant and copywriter at moflow and founder of the Nonprofit MarCommunity blog. Having worked in the nonprofit sector since 1999, Marlene specializes in working with capacity building and grant-making organizations, advising on communications strategy, and writing stories and other content.
Marlene Oliveira
Marlene Oliveira