Creating a father-friendly culture is the most important factor in a successful fatherhood program.
I was reminded of that very fact as I co-led a training institute last week with Erik Vecere (NFI's VP of Program Support) on the 24/7 Dad® program in Aberdeen, MD.
At the start of the training institute, we asked the 19 facilitators we trained to share their fears and concerns about implementing the program. Like so many other facilitators we've trained, many of them wondered how successful they'd be recruiting dads into the program and, once there, whether the dads would maintain their participation in it.
Recruitment and retention is a two-headed monster when it comes to implementing a fatherhood program. Compared to moms, it's simply more difficult to recruit dads and maintain their participation in a human service program.
Successful recruitment and retention starts and ends not with creative marketing strategies and tactics, even though they're important. It starts and ends with getting every staff member and the entire organization behind serving dads. Staff must integrate serving dads into the organization's DNA--into every aspect of their program and service delivery--by creating a father-friendly culture that creates a father-friendly environment.
One of the best examples I've seen of an organization creating such a culture and environment is UIH Family Partners in Trenton, NJ. (I've blogged about this incredible organization before.) As the video below reveals, every level of the organization from frontline staff to the executive director to board members has bought into and actively supports serving dads. They understand that creating a setting that's welcoming to dads is the first step to transforming dads' relationship with their children and helping dads with the most basic of needs (e.g. getting a job).
National Fatherhood Initiative® provides the tools and training your organization needs to create a father-friendly culture and environment.
- The Father Friendly Check-Up™. This free tool will help you, fellow staff, and other stakeholders (e.g. board members) comprehensively assess the level of father friendliness of your organization in four areas: Leadership Development, Organizational Development, Program Development, and Community Engagement. It shows you how to "score" your organization in each area, thus identifying areas that need improvement. It also shows you how to turn the assessment into no- and low-cost tactics to become more father-friendly. Click here to download the check-up.
- The Father Engagement Certificate™. This popular and affordable online, on-demand, self-paced training will help you to help your organization develop the five core competencies necessary to successfully engage and serve dads. (Spoiler: It includes help with recruitment and retention!) Click here to learn more about this fantastic training and here to learn how other organizations have benefitted from it.
The good news is it's never too late to create a father-friendly culture and environment. Even if your organization already serves dads through a fatherhood program or in the smallest way, it will reap the rewards of an initiative to become more father-friendly.
Has your organization undertaken an initiative to become more father-friendly?
Does your organization possess the five core competencies necessary to successfully engage and serve dads?