Case Study

YMCA England & Wales

Pyramid of children
229 K

views in the last 12 months

3 K

total assets

7 K

downloads in the last 12 months



YMCA England & Wales comprises 116 local chapters and 90 charity shops that run youth-based programs and events.


Without graphic designers at each YMCA location, they struggled to present a consistent brand across marketing initiatives.

Our Solution

Acquia DAM (Widen), including the Assets, Insights, and Templates applications.


Acquia DAM helps the organization deliver a consistent brand by enabling local YMCAs and shops to create quality marketing materials.

The Client

YMCA England & Wales is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating communities where all young people can belong, contribute, and thrive. Each of their 116 local YMCAs and 90 charity shops manage events and programs to support this mission.

Two image collage with one group photo of youth in front of screen reading "YMCA of the Year"; second image of adolescent using laptop

The Situation

Despite working toward shared goals, the majority of YMCA locations struggled to present a consistent brand across marketing initiatives. 

The Challenge

“The YMCAs looked as if they were working in silos,” says Palmer Hestley, the former Director of Communications at YMCA England & Wales. “Nothing was consistently done. People were using clip art; they were using different types of photography. It certainly didn’t make our brand look very consistent, and it was hurting us quite a bit.”

The root of the problem was layered and complex. Professional-looking and on-brand marketing materials and digital assets existed within the organization, but nobody could find them in a maze of shared folders. Further, without in-house designers in many locations, staff was often left to their own devices to customize communications and marketing collateral for their unique audiences, events, and efforts. Something had to change — fast. 

The Solution

Eager for change, YMCA England & Wales decided it was time for a digital asset management (DAM) solution. And in the spring of 2018, they implemented Acquia DAM.

One central, searchable library

Acquia DAM now stores and catalogs all of their photos, images, videos, and other digital assets in an organized file library. Users can quickly and easily search for assets and content based on very specific parameters, such as gender, age, mood, activity, and more.  

A people-empowerment tool

Each YMCA location has its own events, initiatives, and communication needs. Using Templates, a design tool within Acquia DAM, anyone (designer or not) can adapt brand-approved collateral, such as flyers, social media images, and brochures, to meet the needs of their specific location. 

Local YMCA events, for example, are a popular use case. “I now have a tool that I can use to create all of these materials, create an editable portion so that [YMCA staff] can change that material to a date, a location — but the rest of it is completely aligned with the event structure and the brand that goes along with it,” Palmer explains. 

A partner, not a service

To combat branding inconsistencies and live up to their reputation as a leading YMCA branch, YMCA England & Wales knew they needed more than just a DAM platform. They needed a partner who was just as invested in their success as they were. “It was more of a partnership than us paying for a service, which, of course, in the long run is going to serve you better,” says Palmer about Acquia. “Clearly we’ve made the right choice.” 

The Results

Brand strength

“Having a digital asset management system enables us to maintain our brand across each of our channels so that when someone sees a flyer or video from YMCA, they know which organization that is and they know what that organization stands for,” Palmer reports.

People enablement

YMCA England & Wales now has a tool that empowers staff to customize materials for their locality, without jeopardizing the consistency, quality, and professionalism of the brand. “It’s still people doing these [localized] designs that aren’t designers…[or] communications experts,” Palmer notes. But using templated designs significantly reduces the risk of local YMCA staff creating materials that don’t align with their brand. 

Saved time

Policing the brand is incredibly time consuming for Palmer and team. Acquia DAM ensures that YMCA England & Wales can work more efficiently. “It helps us as communications professionals that we don’t always have to feel like we need to be looking at everybody’s work,” Palmer says. “We’re comfortable in knowing that the materials that are being produced are on-brand.” 

Global influence

“We are the founding movement, so whether we like it or not, YMCAs across the globe are going to look to us and see how we are doing things,” Palmer reiterates. Thanks to Acquia DAM, YMCA England & Wales can set a positive brand example for YMCAs near and far. 

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