Re-Branding—Ouch! That Hurts

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Ruth McCambridge

Maybe this is just an odd resistance on my part but I sometimes wonder at some of the re-branding and renaming that goes on at nonprofits, especially the nationals. And I don’t just wonder about it, if truth be told it often makes me think that the organization is faltering and just looking for a life raft.

This is probably a very unfair and regressive attitude and I know it is not always true (for instance I know it’s probably not true in the case of NPR re-branding themselves as . . . NPR, and please don’t berate me with your own legitimate re-branding stories), but I thought what the Village People did yesterday in response to the YMCA’s re-branding as the “Y” was hilarious.

My eyebrows raised when I heard about that decision mostly because I wondered if they are now the “Y,” does that imply that they are the sum total of what exists in relationship to that well known letter? Exactly what does that mean for the YWCA?

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I used to lead a YWCA/YMCA in Kansas, albeit for a very short time—no swimming pools involved. It was kind of a radical stronghold if you want the truth, but it was interesting becoming familiar with the two entities’ histories under the same roof. Very different kettles of fish they were, and our particular operation was an even more different fishy concoction, which leads me to another rumination on the state of federated agencies.

What is going on with the federated organizations in your area? Are you seeing mergers and other reorganizations and upheavals among them? Are these reorganizations working to the benefit of your community or to the detriment? Do you feel that some of the local unique flavor of these operations is being lost?

We have heard from a number of readers on this topic and have been following that kind of activity in the Newswire but what do you see happening with the United ways, the Y’s, Boys and Girls Clubs, Easter Seals, etc?

Let us all know by commenting here  on our web site or slip a quiet and confidential note to me here.