Trends in YMCAs, YWCAs, JCCs and Boys & Girls Clubs
A Look at Trends in Ys
In this section, we cover Ys, a category that, for our purposes, includes not only YMCAs, but also similar facilities that are typically nonprofits, such as YWCAs, JCCs and Boys & Girls Clubs, among others. Due to their nonprofit operations, these facilities tend to stand apart in unique ways. Respondents from Ys and similar facilities made up 6.6% of the survey respondents in 2020.
Y respondents were most likely to be located in the Midwest and Northeast. Some 38.4% of Y respondents said they were from the Midwest, while 23.3% were from the Northeast. Another 18.6% were located in the South Atlantic region, 15.1% were in the West, and 4.7% reported in from the South Central region.
Nearly half (47.7%) of Y respondents said they were located in suburban communities. Another 29.1% were in rural areas, and 23.3% were found in urban communities.
On average, Y respondents said they reach a population of 83,310 people. Some 37.1% of Y respondents said they serve a population of 20,000 or fewer. Another 38.4% reach a population of between 20,000 and 99,999 people. And 24.4% of Y respondents said they serve an audience of at least 100,000 people.
Respondents from Ys said they manage an average of 2.5 facilities (down from 4.2 in 2019). They were far more likely than other respondents to manage between one and three facilities. While 82.6% of Y respondents said they manage one to three facilities, just 53.2% of non-Y respondents manage three or fewer. On the other end of the spectrum, while 20.7% of non-Y respondents manage 10 or more facilities, only 1.2% of Y respondents have 10 or more facilities to manage.
Y respondents were far more likely than other respondent types to report that they form partnerships with other organizations. In fact, 100% of Y respondents said they form such partnerships, compared with 88.2% of non-Y respondents. The most common partners for Y respondents include: local schools (91.9% of Y respondents had partnered with schools); nonprofit organizations (82.6%); corporate or local businesses (72.1%); local government (66.3%); and health care or medical facilities (59.3%). (See Figure 56.)
A majority of Y respondents (59.5%) said they primarily serve an all-ages audience. Another 21.4% said they primarily reach adults, and 16.7% primarily serve children at their facilities. Finally, 2.4% said they primarily serve an audience of seniors 65 or older.
Revenues & Expenditures
The percentage of Y respondents who reported that their revenues had increased year-over-year was up considerably for 2019, with 61.2% of Y respondents reporting that revenues had increased from 2018. This compares with 51.5% who reported an increase from 2017 to 2018. Another 30.6% of Y respondents said their revenues held steady in 2019, and 8.2% saw a decrease. (See Figure 57.)
In January 2020 when the Industry Report Survey was taken, Y respondents were optimistic about the year to come, with 63.1% expecting revenues to increase over 2019, 27.4% projecting no change, and 9.5% expecting a decrease.
The COVID-19 Update Survey taken in early May showed the vast majority (97.4%) of Y respondents were expecting revenues to decrease. Some 13.2% of Y respondents said they expect their revenues to be down by 10 to 20% in 2020. Nearly half (47.4%) are expecting a decrease of 30 to 40%. And more than one-third (36.8%) are expecting revenues to fall by 50% or more in 2020.
After a couple of years of decreasing operating expenses (down 4.8% in 2018 and 9.3% in 2019), Y respondents reported an increase of 5.3% in 2020, from an average of $2,640,000 to $2,780,000. Looking forward, they expect a further 8.3% increase over the next two years, to an average of $3,010,000 in 2020.
On average, Y respondents reported that they recover 71% of their operating costs via revenues, down slightly from 73.2% in 2019. While more than half (54.8%) of Y respondents said they earn back 71% or more of their operating costs via revenues, just 29% of non-Y respondents earn back so much. And while nearly half (46.2%) of non-Y respondents said they earn back 50% or less of their operating costs in revenues, just 20.2% of Y respondents earn back 50% or less.
As is generally the case, Y respondents were far more likely than most other respondents to indicate that they had taken action to reduce their operating expenses. While 90.6% of Y respondents said they had taken such action (down from 93.2% in 2019), 80.6% of non-Y respondents had taken action to reduce their expenses. The methods Y respondents were most likely to use to reduce their costs were: improving energy efficiency (67.1%); increasing fees (65.9%); reducing staff (48.2%); cutting programs or services (23.5%); and putting construction plans on hold (18.8%).
Once again, Y respondents were more likely to see either increasing or decreasing usage at their facilities than to report no change. More than half (53.5%) of Y respondents said the number of people using their facilities had increased from 2018 to 2019, while 20.9% reported a decrease. Just around one-quarter (25.6%) said the number of people using their facilities did not change from 2018 to 2019. (See Figure 58.)
Looking forward, more than one-half of Y respondents expected to see further growth in 2020 (55.3%) and 2021 (55.4%), while the percentage expecting to see a decline in usage falls to 10.6% expecting a decrease in 2020, and 4.8% expecting a decrease in 2021.
A growing number of Y respondents have been planning construction over the past several years. In 2020, 74.4% of Y respondents said they had plans for construction, up from 74% in 2019 and 64.2% in 2018. Half (50%) of Y respondents said they were planning to renovate their existing facilities. More than one-third (34.9%) were planning additions, and 30.2% said they were planning new construction. (See Figure 59.)
On average, Y respondents were planning to spend $7,780,000 on their construction plans, a substantial increase of 49.3% from 2019, when the average was $5,210,000.
The 10 features most commonly found in Y respondents' facilities in 2020 include: Wi-Fi-service; fitness centers; indoor courts for sports like basketball and volleyball; exercise studios; locker rooms; classrooms and meeting rooms; childcare centers; indoor aquatic facilities; playgrounds; and bleachers and seating.
Some 38.4% of Y respondents said they have plans to add features at their facilities over the next three years, down from 42.5% in 2019.
The most commonly planned additions for Y respondents in 2020 include: splash play areas; playgrounds; bleachers and seating; exercise studios; park shelters; community gardens; indoor running and walking tracks; fitness trails and outdoor fitness equipment; locker rooms; and indoor aquatic facilities.
As usual, all Y respondents covered by the survey said they offer programming of some kind at their facilities. This compares with 96.7% of non-Y respondents.
The programs most commonly provided by Y respondents' facilities in 2020 include: day camps and summer camps (provided by 94.2% of Y respondents); holidays and other special events (91.9%); fitness programs (89.5%); youth sports teams (88.4%); group exercise programs (88.4%); mind-body balance programs such as yoga and tai chi (86%); swimming programs (82.6%); educational programs (80.2%); aquatic exercise programs (80.2%); and programs for active older adults (77.9%).
Programs that saw an increase in the number of respondents providing them from 2019 to 2020 include: day camps and summer camps (up from 93.2%); holidays and special events (up from 87.7%); fitness (up from 89%); youth sports teams (up from 83.6%); group exercise (up from 86.3%); mind-body balance programs (up from 83.6%); educational programs (up from 75.3%); and aquatic exercise (up from 75.3%).
The number of Y respondents who said they have plans to add programs at their facilities over the next several years increased from 37% in 2019 to 39.5% in 2020. This compares with 34.8% of non-Y respondents who said they had plans to add programming.
The 10 most commonly planned program additions for Y respondents in 2020 were:
- Teen programming (no change from 2019)
- Environmental education programs (up from No. 5)
- Individual sports activities like swim clubs or running clubs (no change)
- Performing arts programs (no change)
- Sport-specific training such as golf or tennis lessons (up from No. 7)
- Adult sports teams (did not appear in 2019)
- Nutrition and diet counseling (up from No. 8)
- Special needs programs (down from No. 2)
- Trips (did not appear in 2019)
- Daycare and preschool programs (did not appear in 2019)
As is usually the case, there's a lot of variation in the programs Ys are planning to add from year to year. In 2020, adult sports teams, trips, and daycare and preschool replace sports tournaments and races, educational programs and arts and crafts from the top planned programs for 2019. RM