Significant preparation, prior to offering your first class, will lay the foundation for a successful healthy marriage education or relationship education program. Before you begin offering services, you’ll need to identify your target population. Once you have identified your audience, conduct a community assessment, to provide valuable insight into what your potential audiences want in a healthy marriage & relationship program.
Identify Your Target Audience
Identifying your target audience is the first step in creating the structure of your healthy marriage and relationship program. This decision will affect the location of your program, the course and activities you choose, how you market your marriage & relationship program, and the development of goals used to evaluate program effectiveness.
Here are some questions to guide the identification of your target population:
- Is your community largely Caucasian, African American, or Hispanic?
- Do you have an under-served or low-income population in your community?
- Are you hoping to serve couples in a particular life stage, (i.e. pre-marital, having a baby, parents with a grade-school aged child or empty nesters)?
- Do you have a strong relationship with a community organization that offers services to a certain population and could assist with program recruitment?
- Are there guidelines established by your funding source that require you to serve a pre-identified population?
If you live in a small rural community, the identification of your population may not be a difficult process, but programs in larger metropolitan areas will need to be thoughtful about which group(s) can be easily accessed and will benefit most from the marriage and relationship education services your program will offer.
After you identify your target audience you may want to review the Healthy Marriage and Relationship Programs: Promising Practices Guide. This document is intended to be helpful to a variety of audiences, including those who are interested in starting a new program, those already involved in running a program, and those who are evaluating or funding such programs.
Building Community Relationships
How to Form a Healthy Marriage and Relationship Coalition
Collaborating within State Government to Support Healthy Relationships: Tips for State Administrators
By: Jerry Regier, MPA, former Secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families and Oklahoma Secretary of Health and Human Services
Connecting with the Business Community
Relationship Education and Teen Pregnancy Prevention: What's the Connection
A Win-Win Partnership: MRE and Child Protective Services
A Win-Win Partnership: MRE and Child Support Enforcement
A Win-Win Partnership: MRE and Head Start
Coalition Building: California Healthy Marriages
Branding a Marriage and Relationship Education Program
Hiring Marriage Educators for Your Healthy Marriage Program