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CHW Health Disparities Initiative

2.2 Keep People Coming

Have you thought about how you will keep people coming back?

“We had incentives: Every time they came, they got something. And it’s also due to Filipino values. They’re all about the greater good of the community. They have a shared sense of responsibility. They would encourage each other to go.” —Ritabelle Fernandes, Physician with Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services in Hawaii

Remember, it is common in any type of program for people to drop out or miss sessions. It is important you understand the reasons why this happens and learn ways to avoid it. Use the links below for guidance.

Helpful Handouts and Tools

Common Reasons Why People Stop Going or Do Not Regularly Go to a Program

Toolkit Tip

Improve your skills as a facilitator. Check out Facilitator Tips for Running Sessions pdf document icon (PDF, 548 KB).

There are many reasons why people may drop out of your program or miss sessions. These reasons vary by person and by group. You will have a good idea what these reasons are if you understand the needs of the people in the community where you recruited. You can understand this by going through Decide Who to Reach. In that section, you will also find information about barriers that make going to the sessions challenging. Then, learn ways to handle barriers.

Ways to Keep People Coming to Your Program

Want Examples?

Check out Sample Agenda for Session 2 pdf document icon (PDF, 145 KB). Get ideas for setting up a well-organized session.

“…[T]he participants were making progress and were able to see this progress on the scale and through decreases in blood pressure or lipid levels. Continuous monitoring and continuous feedback kept participants motivated to keep coming back.” —Diane Phillips, Program Dietitian previously with the Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo in New Mexico

People will want to join and keep coming to your program if it meets their needs. If you do not know what your group’s needs are, check out Decide Who to Reach.

Also, use the tool Strategies to Keep People Coming pdf document icon (PDF, 211 KB), which describes how to

  • Over recruit,
  • Make sure that your program is “easy” to attend,
  • Have a graduation celebration at the end of the program,
  • Get feedback right away,
  • Describe the benefits of your program clearly and often,
  • Show the people in your program that they are co-owners of it,
  • Offer a mix of things to do,
  • Make your program perfect for adult learners,
  • Offer rewards and incentives, and
  • Add small touches that have a big impact.

Examples from the Field

Successful recruiting was no problem for these three groups:

  • Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo in New Mexico. The Diabetes Prevention Program covered the cost of softball league fees for different teams if the people on the teams would agree to attend a certain number of Honoring the Gift of Heart Health sessions. The softball coaches kept track of attendance. Playing time and field positions were determined based on each person’s attendance in the heart health program. “People loved it because it was hard for teams to come up with that money so that was a great way for people to play the entire season. And they were learning in the process,” says Diane Phillips, a Program Dietitian previously with the Pueblo.
  • Big Bend Area Health Education Center in Florida. Their community health workers had healthy snacks available each time their group met. At the end of each class, they would announce what the following week’s snack would be. Participants were excited to try out a new snack each week.
  • Housing Opportunities Unlimited in Boston. Their team would call participants with a reminder before each upcoming session.

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Next: 2.3 Adjust Materials and Add New Ideas