Program Design & Planning

Fatherhood programs come in many shapes and sizes; some begin as demonstration or grant-funded programs, some as grassroots efforts, and others grow out of pre-existing organizations. Regardless of their origin or structure, launching fatherhood programs is not an easy task. Careful planning and design are important for ensuring success and sustainability throughout the life of a program. Identifying needs, understanding the community, fostering solid partnerships, crafting a thoughtful logic model, and determining the scope of services are important design steps.

A few key questions for fatherhood program early planning include:

  • What outcomes and benefits do you anticipate as a result of the program?
  • What staffing do you need?
  • What are the budget implications? How will you gain additional funding?
  • How will you document and assess efforts in order to make program modifications?

Program design is an ongoing process. Successful programs monitor their performance and make necessary adjustments to services, staffing, and partnerships to ensure that participants’ needs, and program goals are met. 

This page includes resources and information to assist practitioners with each of these aspects of planning and designing a program.

Tips & Best Practices

  • You know there's a need and you want to help. But how? The 7 Steps to Starting a Successful Fatherhood Program from the National Fatherhood Initiative can be helpful in starting the planning process. This resource discusses gathering evidence, identifying your program’s target audience, approaching your organization, thinking through program funding, and more.
  • Early planning should decide:
    • The needs the program will address
    • The actions the program will take to directly address these needs
    • The staffing needed
    • A budget
  • Launching a new program is not easy. Five key elements to make the process easier and ensure positive outcomes:
    • Staff with passion, and who are effective, well trained, and well supported
    • A champion who believes in the program’s potential, can overcome internal barriers, and can speak for the organization with community partners
    • Support from top administrators
    • Effective community partnerships

Consistent documentation and incorporating feedback to improve outcomes


How long is the planning process?

Well-established community organizations may complete the planning process in 2‒3 months, while newer organizations may need 6‒12 months or longer.

What are some key questions we should ask early in planning?

  • What community needs should be addressed?
  • What will we do to directly address the needs?
  • What individuals or organizations already provide services that can address these needs?
  • What organizations are already serving fathers?
  • Who can we partner with?

Find A Fatherhood Program

  • Current: Step 1/3
  • Step 2/3
  • Step 3/3
Was this page helpful
bot icon