GIVE Fitness: You Get Fit - We Give Back

Our guest blogger is one of our newest FIT-C members, Josh Donovan.  He graciously agreed to share about the unique model at GIVE Fitness Health Club.  

GIVE Fitness took the first step toward accomplishing their vision to “transform the fitness industry” when their first facility opened in March of 2014. Commonly referred to as “GIVE” by members, the gym operates under the umbrella of its parent company: Working To GIVE. Matthew Holguin started Working to GIVE when completing his MBA at Azusa Pacific University in 2005. It was his intention to create a company that was purpose driven rather than profit driven. As a result, the GIVE model pre-allocates all profits for the various businesses that currently operate under the Working to GIVE umbrella. Working To GIVE welcomed Josh Donovan in 2013 as Chief Operating officer of the Fitness Division and together, he and Matthew formed GIVE Fitness Health Club.

Josh Donovan and Matthew Holguin

Josh Donovan and Matthew Holguin


            Working To Give had not previously been involved in the fitness industry. Josh brought with him over 10 years of fitness experience and a unique outlook on the industry:
“I was really wanting to change the way that fitness was being presented and sold, I wanted to give people something that they could truly be a part of and care about. When I met Matt, it seemed to be the perfect blend of my skills and talents with something much bigger and meaningful.” GIVE Fitness established their vision to “Transform the fitness industry by becoming pillars in the communities in which we conduct business. We will do this by generously donating 50% of our profits to programs that strengthen personal character, create value in people and provide opportunities for personal growth.” In order to accomplish that though, it first meant creating and operating a profitable health club.

            With an intimate understanding of how today’s consumers interact with fitness, Josh felt he know how to capitalize on that customer behavior to streamline operations and limit unnecessary expenses. “We have to meet people where they are: I welcome the integration of technology, am always looking toward the future and strive to remain flexible in an ever-changing market.” GIVE Fitness vowed to not “sell” fitness by allowing their prospects and members to have control of the process. All new member sign-ups are completed through the GIVE Fitness website and monthly Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) is the only form of payment accepted. They do not have a membership sales or service team, they do not charge enrollment fees and do not utilize monthly specials. Josh Donovan, now President and Co-Founder of GIVE Fitness, shares, “We are very transparent: Our prices are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. And they are all available to view on our site. If you call to ask us how much a membership is, we tell you…without any kind of runaround.” He went on to explain that because employees do not earn commission, they have the opportunity to focus on building and fostering relationships.  “That helps us create the type of culture that we desire and feel our customers/members do as well.” After joining, members are encouraged to download the GIVE Fitness mobile app provided by Netpulse. The app is used to engage members through contests or push notifications, they are able to post and track workouts and many members use their mobile phone/app to check into the facility. From there, Josh says, “It is also very important that every prospect or member understands our GIVE model and message. ‘You Get Fit. We Give Back®.’ We want them understand they are a part of something bigger than just a gym.”

            Now in their third year serving 3,200 members within their 15,000 sq. ft. facility, GIVE has become a pillar in their community of Atascadero, Ca. “We’ve been able to make sizeable donations to organizations like our local homeless shelter, Lighthouse: a non-profit dedicated to eradicating teen drug addiction, and a playground in the works specifically designed for children with special needs.” Beyond donations though, GIVE Fitness makes it a part of their everyday practice to be a part of their community and to find opportunities to GIVE. Often times, special programs will be directly tied to an aspect of giving. Their “Pound for Pound Weight Loss Contest™” yields one pound of food donated locally for every pound of weight lost by all participants. In October, GIVE supports Breast Cancer Awareness by donating 50% of all new member card fees to local women currently in the fight. They have offered self-defense classes that raised money to be donated toward providing services for battered women. Their Thanksgiving Day workout raises money to provide Christmas gifts for underprivileged children. Once a month, GIVE Fitness offers Service Saturday: an opportunity for members and staff to serve the community together in a tangible way. Donovan says, “We are a purpose-driven company, so we strive to attach a specific purpose to most things that we do inside or outside of the gym.”

            In October of last year, GIVE Fitness was the featured cover story for Club Business International (CBI). Article can be found here: http://pubs.ihrsa.org/CBI/October2015/index.htmlJosh shares, “One of our biggest goals in doing business is ‘to inspire others to do the same’ so we were extremely humbled and grateful to have IHRSA share our story.” As a result of that exposure, other gym owners began to reach out to GIVE Fitness with interest in the giving concept. Josh explained that it seemed other owners and operators wanted to be able to give, but struggled with how and the execution. In an attempt to meet that interest and potential need, GIVE Fitness has established the GIVE Alliance. “We want to provide a platform for others to join us in transforming the industry by being purpose-driven.” The GIVE Alliance allows others to adopt and utilize “You Get Fit. We Give Back®” as well as some other specific items and programs that help bring GIVING to the forefront of the business. Josh says, “The GIVE Alliance is new and it’s early, but is allowing me to have conversations with other owners and operators about truly changing the way we approach business to engage our members and communities. I think ‘You Get Fit. We Give Back®’ should be our industry’s tagline.”

            Technology is a major factor when it comes to the operations of GIVE Fitness and ultimately, plays a big role in allowing them to give. Josh said his decision to join the Fitness Industry Technology Council was an easy one. He is looking forward to the opportunity to work with other industry professionals to continually improve the user experience and to help shape what the future of fitness looks like.

We welcome Josh as a valued member of the Fitness Industry Technology Council!