The YMCA is a good organization with a noble mission: To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all. As the last two words of the mission attest, the Y is known for inclusion. So I was puzzled when I came upon this message while hiking the local greenway recently.
The event in question is the Evansville Half Marathon. The YMCA sponsors this event to promote health and well-being for all while generating funds to further its fine mission. However, the exclusionary tone of this notice is at odds with what the organization professes. The “be advised” phrase in particular is a stiff arm, like a letter carrying a threat of legal action.
With a little thought, the writer might have turned the need to alert me into an opportunity to invite me. I would have felt much better about the Y and its event had I read something like this:
Saturday October 3 • 7 am to 11 am
Join over 1000 runners and walkers on this trail.
Register at evansvillehalfmarathon.org
Every time we marketers publicize a message, we get a fleeting chance to further the mission of the organization. If we ignore this fact, we risk weakening our public image and the effect we intend.