The Father Factor

The Most Vital Cost for a Fatherhood Program

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Aug 31, 2016

What's the most vital cost for a fatherhood program? Maintenance. When an organization seeks to start a fatherhood program, staff often consider the cost to implement it and ignore or assign lower importance to the cost to maintain it. 


There is no doubt that the implementation cost is important. After all, if you can't afford to get a fatherhood program off the ground, the cost to maintain it is moot.

But when you decide your organization can afford to acquire and start a program, it's the cost to maintain the program that requires the most thought if your organization is to succeed with the program for the long haul. 

Here's an example of why the maintenance cost is so important.

Let's say you research fatherhood curricula and find two that you like. Curriculum #1 costs $700. Curriculum #2 costs $550. Curriculum #2 seems the logical choice.

But wait. The handbook for participants associated with curriculum #2 is $15 while the handbook for curriculum #1 is $7.50. Your objective is to serve 100 dads in a year. You get 20 handbooks with each curriculum leaving 80 that you'll need to purchase now or sometime during the year. The cost of 80 curriculum #2 handbooks is $1,200. The cost of 80 curriculum #1 handbooks is $600. Considering the maintenance cost of the handbook, curriculum #2 is now $1,750 for the year while curriculum #1 is only $1,300. Quite a difference indeed. 

The handbook is only one maintenance expense. Some of the other expenses that roll up into the maintenance cost are:

  • How much staff time will your organization need to dedicate to running the program and in what period of time (e.g. annual cost)? How many staff will be involved in delivering all or parts of it? Will your organization use volunteers?
  • Program materials. In addition to handbooks, will staff need to reproduce handouts for future program participants and, if so, how many and in what period of time? How much will the handouts cost to reproduce per participant?
  • What tactics will staff use to market the program? Will they use flyers, posters, print ads (e.g. in community newsletters), and door hangers? Will staff attend community events (e.g. health fairs) and speak about the program at locations in the community where they can recruit dads (e.g. schools and YMCA's)? Will they meet with staff who work for potential referral sources (e.g. child support enforcement or the court system)? How much will each marketing tactic cost?
  • Snacks, beverages, child care, and other attendance incentives. Will you provide these and other incentives (e.g. gift cards) to encourage dads to attend on a consistent basis? 
  • Program events. Will events for dads and their families, such as barbecues or outings to the zoo or local sports, be an integral part of the program? 
  • Wrap-around services. If in addition to fatherhood education the program will include other components (e.g. obtaining a GED or driver's license), what will they cost to deliver?
  • Technical assistance. Will the curriculum developer charge your organization if, after the initial training, you run into a challenge implementing it and need some help?

We're diligent at National Fatherhood Initiative® at helping organizations keep their maintenance cost as low as possible. We:

  • Keep the cost of our curriculum handbooks as low as possible.
  • There are very few handouts staff must reproduce for participants. To further reduce the maintenance cost, we include those handouts on a CD-ROM to print out in black and white.
  • Although we encourage training on our programs, we don't require it. We provide everything in our curriculum kits that an organization needs to launch our programs including reproducible evaluation tools and affordable, customizable, reproducible marketing materials and graduation certificates.
  • We provide free technical assistance after organizations purchase our programs. If an organization needs some advice on how to run an activity in one of our program sessions, for example, they simply need to call or email and we'll help.

We also provide additional free and low-cost support materials, such as our free guides on implementing our programs with fidelity and our online, on-demand training on how to effectively facilitate a fatherhood program.

Are you just now starting a fatherhood program? Download our free 7 Steps to Starting a Fatherhood Program ebook to help you get off on the right foot.

Do you facilitate a fatherhood program? Register for our affordable, on-demand, online Effective Facilitation Certificate™ training to learn how to be an even better facilitator!  

Are you a dad looking for help? Please visit our Fatherhood Program Locator™ and enter your city and state on the map to find programs and resources in your community.

Topics: NFI-Specific Programs & Resources, Tips & Tricks

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