Key Tips and How-Tos

Develop a clear understanding of facility and meeting room requirements

Look both within and beyond to identify potential program sites

Develop an ongoing promotion and recruitment plan

Sign co-sponsorship agreements to document mutual responsibilities


Develop a clear understanding of facility and meeting room requirements


  • To ensure that the experience of the program participant is safe, consistent and appropriate for people with arthritis, it is essential to be familiar with and follow the facility policies.
  • The specific program policies regarding facilities can be found in the Policies and Logistics sections of the AF Aquatic and AF Exercise Program Instructor Manuals and in the AF Self-Help Program Guidelines and Procedures Manual.


    See:   Facility Responsibilities handout for a summary of the policies and guidelines regarding program host sites. You can share this with prospective sites to provide an overview of the policies.


Look both within and beyond to identify potential program sites


  • System partners should start by looking at their own delivery network to see which of their own facilities might make good program delivery sites.
  • Examine whether you can expand your programs through existing sites. For example, the AF Northern New England Chapter was able to add the AF Self-Help Program to existing sites already offering the AF Aquatic Program.
  • If you need to look within your broader community or service area to identify potential program sites, begin by asking yourself some of these questions:

    • Where do people with arthritis typically go?
    • What agencies are already providing arthritis or related health programs that may complement AF programs and services?
    • What are the major health and fitness organizations in the community such as major health facilities, neighborhood community health centers, local health departments, pharmacies, complementary providers, fitness clubs, etc.? See other ideas in the Possible Program and Meeting Sites chart below.



Health Organizations

  • Local health departments
  • Individual hospitals/ academic medical centers or arthritis centers
  • Group practices/associations (primary care, rheumatology, orthopaedics)
  • Community health centers
  • Ambulatory care centers
  • Rehabilitation and physical therapy centers

Fitness Organizations

  • Individual fitness/ wellness clubs
  • Parks and recreation
  • Walking organizations/ clubs
  • Shopping malls with meeting space/ mall walkers groups
  • Weight Watchers and other diet groups

Agencies that Serve Select Populations

  • Assisted living communities
  • Nursing homes
  • Residential hotels
  • Elderly day centers
  • Senior Centers
  • AARP groups
  • Older Women’s League groups
  • Other Seniors Groups
  • Independent Living Centers
  • Disabled citizens’ alliance
  • Multicultural community centers
  • Nutrition centers/ meals on wheels/ soup kitchens
  • Minority organizations
  • Migrant workers groups
  • Farm workers organizations
  • Extension service agencies
  • Neighborhood associations

Other Voluntary/ Community Groups

  • Churches and other faith communities
  • Civic groups
  • Interagency coalitions and councils
  • Easter Seals
  • Other voluntary health organizations


  • Businesses that serve your target group such as neighborhood grocery stores, hair salons, health food stores, restaurants, banks, pharmacies/ drug stores, theatres etc.
  • Hotels with pools and meeting facilities

Government / Institutions

  • Schools, universities, training centers
  • Libraries



Develop an ongoing promotion and recruitment plan

  • If there are not locations where you can offer your programs, you can have all the participants in the world, but you will not have a way to accommodate them.  While you will intensify your facility recruitment efforts just prior to any training workshops, it is also useful to create a promotional plan that will incorporate ongoing efforts to reach new facilities.
  • Develop a comprehensive approach that includes multiple strategies.
  • Recruit through delivery networks. For example, the AF Michigan Chapter partnered with their state and area agencies on aging, who in turn recruited individual senior centers to deliver the AF Exercise Program.

  • See:
    Examples from the Field to learn more about the Michigan experience and the Recruitment Flyer used to explain the project to the senior centers. Learn how the AF Tennessee Chapter extended its reach by partnering with Americorp to recruit new program sites.


Sign co-sponsorship agreements to document mutual responsibilities

  • For legal and insurance purposes, it is essential to have a signed agreement with any agency that delivers the AF programs. Signing a Program Co-sponsorship Agreement helps to ensure that the roles of the partnership are clear and defined upfront.  Without this documentation there is room for various interpretations of responsibilities and follow-through that might make the relationship more difficult to navigate.
  • Sometimes your agreement with a large partnering organization may cover all of its individual facilities. If not, then you will need to ensure that a key decision maker within the facility signs an agreement after you have established joint responsibilities.

  • See:
    The Roles and Responsibilities checklist which can be used to clarify responsibilities, the

Program Co-sponsorship Agreement (WORD and PDF format)


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