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Harnessing the Power of Incentives to Recruit and Retain Dads

Posted by Erik Vecere

Most Recent Fatherhood Posts

Mar 5, 2024


How can you get more dads to attend your program and ensure they keep coming back? Most dads aren’t sitting around asking what they can do to be better dads, after all.

I have one word that can help you increase father engagement…


Incentives are a powerful tool for recruiting and retaining dads in your fatherhood program.

How can you leverage them for the best results?

The first step is to identify the types of incentives you can offer. Here are a few categories:

  • Incentives that address wants and needs. These incentives include helping dads obtain employment, advance their education, gain access to their children, navigate the court system, and get their driver’s license reinstated.
  • Incentives that remove barriers to participation. These incentives include gas cards, passes for public transportation, providing food and childcare, and offering in-person and virtual options.
  • Incentives that encourage dads to be involved with their children. These incentives include age-appropriate books to read to their children, items for new dads (e.g., diapers, body wash, shampoo, blankets, baby carrier, and thermometer), and dad-child activities (e.g., sporting events, live shows, fishing, and daddy-daughter dances).

The second step is to match the right incentives to your dads. Here are some ways you can accomplish that:

  • Ask dads what types of incentives are most valuable. Create a survey that includes a list of incentives and allows dads to add anything not on the list. Involve dads enrolled in your other programs and services, on your staff, and connected to other activities in your community. The more dads you survey, the easier it will be to see trends.
  • Provide a list of incentives for dads to choose from. Select the top vote-getters from the above survey and allow the dads to select the most valuable one.
  • Study your community. The characteristics of your community can inform the types of incentives you offer. Consider demographics (e.g., size, racial-ethnic breakdown, and common male occupations) and data on father absence and involvement (e.g., percentage of father absence by demographic groups; employment and financial indicators; and effects of father involvement on poverty, education, crime, and other community health issues). Use the data to spark ideas. If you learn many dads are involved in custody issues, for example, offer free legal assistance.

Identifying potential incentives and learning which ones best match the dads in your community will help you leverage this powerful tool for recruiting dads and keeping them coming back!

What types of incentives can you offer to recruit and retain dads? Are there incentives that can do both?

How can you choose incentives that would resonate the most with dads?

Cutting Edge Tips for Running an Exceptional Fatherhood Program (On Demand)

Topics: fatherhood parenting, marketing fatherhood programs, Featured, General Fatherhood Program Resources, Program Recruitment & Retention

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