Many practitioners and organizations “leap before they look” when engaging fathers, as they often don’t take the time to consider the competencies they need to effectively engage fathers. As a result, they step off a cliff and into an abyss, and soon wonder why working with fathers is such a challenge.
During the next five weeks, I’ll highlight the five core competencies (one per week) you need to effectively engage fathers, and how you can develop each competency with NFI’s Father Engagement Certificate™ (FEC), an affordable on demand training that will help you develop those competencies.
Creating a Father-Friendly Organization
The first competency in effectively engaging fathers is often the most overlooked: the ability to create a father-friendly organization. The fact that it’s often overlooked is unfortunate because it lays the foundation for the other competencies and success in engaging fathers.
What does it mean to be father friendly? It means that serving fathers is integrated into the fabric of an organization’s culture. Specifically:
- The leaders and other stakeholders have “bought into” and provide emotional and material (e.g. financial) support to serving fathers.
- The policies and procedures of the organization—the nuts and bolts that guide staff behavior—are inclusive of fathers, encourage staff to engage fathers, and hold staff accountable when they don’t effectively engage them.
- The programs and services include fathers as a distinct audience to serve and include content relevant to fathers’ needs and wants as men and parents.
- The organization engages the community in promoting its service to fathers (e.g. via referrals from other organizations) and to generate support (e.g. financial and political) for its father engagement efforts.
The trap many practitioners fall into is thinking their organization is father friendly simply because they have a fatherhood program or serve fathers as part of a larger program (e.g. general parenting or family-strengthening program). They don’t understand that it’s not enough to simply add a program, service, or other effort aimed at fathers. It’s vital to adopt a holistic approach in creating an organization that, at its very core, understands the importance of serving fathers and acts on that understanding.
That’s why Session 1 in our Father Engagement Certificate training teaches you How to Create a Father-Friendly Organization from a holistic perspective, with a focus on four areas for improvement that create an organizational culture that supports exceptional fatherhood programs and services. Learn the 8 Pillars of Leadership and no-cost and low-cost tactics to help your organization become father friendly, and also about The Father Friendly Check-Up™: the most widely used tool in the nation that helps organizations become father friendly. The session also includes case studies of how other organizations have successfully used this tool.
How father friendly is your organization?
Can you name the four areas of focus in creating a father-friendly organization?
Don’t delay. Click here to start the process of earning your Father Engagement Certificate™.