Program implementation is more efficient when AF chapters, state health departments and partnering agencies share their expectations about program roles and document in writing their agreements on how to handle course logistics and responsibilities.
- Issues that need to be addressed, preferably before training occurs include:
- How to handle registration.
- How each organization’s costs will be covered.
- Whether fees need to be charged and if so how they will be collected.
- If scholarships will be offered and how this process will be managed and funded.
- Who will handle obtaining any needed equipment and materials.
See: Chapter 1- 4 Securing a Commitment to learn more about how to negotiate and document roles and responsibilities in a letter of agreement
- Many different methods are being used to enroll program participants.
- The facilities offering the programs usually handle participant registration.
- Program host sites may have specific sign-up times and their own application process.
- Partner sites that do not have an existing registration process in place can refer to the AF’s sample application forms.
- Partners that are membership organizations and agencies that offer ongoing classes may not have a specific registration process but may allow participants to join the classes at any time.
- Online participant registration may be an option. Check with the AF, National Office Public Health Department at 404-872-7100 to find out how to access this resource. Keep in mind that you will probably need to also maintain some sort of traditional registration mechanism as not all program participants will be computer savvy. This mechanism will take some upfront work to establish but may help expedite the registration process over the long-term.
- Occasionally AF chapters handle registration in house.
- To facilitate the registration process, it is helpful to create a “program registration hotline” or a designated line or phone contact for program registrations.
- Make certain that each class member signs the standardized AF Participant Release form relinquishing the AF and the facility of financial responsibility or liability for injuries or expenses incurred as a result of their program participation. This is a mandated procedure designed to legally safeguard both the AF and the site location/partner.
See: Sample Particpant Application Form
AF Program Participant Release Form
- Often, class participants are charged a small program fee to keep the programs cost-effective. An exception to this would be if you have received outside support that covers expenses or a government grant that prohibits charging fees.
- The fees are usually set and collected by the agency that is incurring the program costs, which is usually the facility offering the program. Mechanisms for covering other expenses involved, such as the costs of AF educational and promotional materials, need to be established as part of the partnership negotiation process.
- When fees need to be charged, they should be reasonable given your target population and the fees charged for equivalent programs in your area.
- After deciding upon a process for collecting fees, keep in mind the following tips:
- Make sure that all of your promotional materials and registration clearly state the fees.
- Consider collecting fees prior to the start of the program and preferably when you collect the participant registration form. This will help to ensure that participants have completed this transaction prior to participating in the program and will help you to avoid the awkwardness of “chasing down the money”.
- Many organizations offer scholarship programs. Offering scholarships to those in need allows more people with arthritis to participate in the programs and reap the many benefits. Funding is provided through many different sources. Some examples of where to look for funding are:
- United Way
- Community Grants Programs
- Private sector funding
- Partner sources
- If you are offering scholarships to participants, make sure you mention this in your promotional and registration materials and that those who are collecting the registration forms and fees are aware of this option. Some people have trouble asking for help, so make sure it’s clear who is eligible for financial assistance.
EXAMPLES FROM THE FIELD
The AF Utah/Idaho Chapter offers scholarships through funding from the Utah Department of Health Arthritis Program. They simply ask the applicant to cover the minimal cost of materials ($15.00) or provide whatever they can to help defer costs, which allows more people to take advantage of the funding available. The AF Maryland Chapter has minimal requests for scholarships, so they are able to allot monies in their yearly budget for this program, which might be an option for others who experience few inquiries for such funding.
See: AF Central Ohio, Eastern Missouri, Michigan, and Virginia Chapter Scholarship program information
- The AF Life Improvement Series programs are designed to be low-cost and easy-to-implement in a variety of settings so that there are minimal requirements for materials and equipment. Some examples of items and sources include:
- The Arthritis Helpbook used in the AF Self-Help Program can be obtained from a variety of sources such as the AF Web site (www.arthritis.org) or Customer Interaction Center, Amazon.com or through bookstores. Some organizations have also established lending libraries for this book to reduce program costs.
- The Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program Class Participant’s Manual is available through the AF National Office Print Center, which offers a “print on demand” service to AF Chapters. Local AF chapter offices can place these orders. Allow seven to 10 days for completion of your order from the time the order was received. Please keep this timeframe in mind when planning your courses.
- An overhead projector and/or flipcharts may be used in the AF Self-Help Program classes. For the AF Exercise Program, a CD/tape player and music or relaxation tapes and various exercise and movement aids such as balls, scarves and therabands are useful. Both the AF Aquatic and AF Exercise Program also include the optional use of exercise equipment. These items are usually provided by the facility where the program is offered.
AF CHAPTERS TAKE NOTE!
To learn more about how to order the program materials and other AF educational resources, go to AF Connect for up-to-date information.
AF Michigan Chapter Aquatic, AF Exercise, and AF Self-Help Set-Up and Delivery Checklists
AF Utah/ Idaho Chapter AF Self-Help Program Materials Checklist
AF Utah/ Idaho Chapter AF Self-Help Program Procedures for Senior Center Leaders
AF Exercise Program Materials List