Posted: 9 December 2015
Author: Cheryl Lovstrom, Community Learning Network
Found in: Program Planning
With the introduction of the new CALP Guidelines and a renewed focus on Foundational Learning, Adult and Family Literacy, CALPs are creating new and innovative programs for their communities. However, some of the General Interest programs our communities have come to know us for may no longer be the right fit to fulfill the mandate of our CALP grants and funding. So how can you help when General Interest programs are in high demand? Are there other organizations that are better positioned to offer this kind of programming? Are there potential partnership opportunities you could explore with others?
To answer these questions, let’s look at the bigger picture.
Keep in mind that the CALP grant your organization receives is specifically to support literacy and foundational learning in your community, and can also be used for programming in other areas such as Numeracy, Essential Skills and Community Capacity Building.
This doesn’t mean that your CALP can’t offer other programs, however you must be mindful that these programs must pay for themselves. You may find that offering General Interest programs is beneficial to your CALP, as a way to attract new learners and, in fact, may generate funds that can be used by your organization for any project it deems important (even if it’s funding more General Interest courses). Generating a profit is the end goal for General Interest programs.
Before you decide if delivering General Interest programming is right for your CALP, consider these questions:
Once you have considered your options and have determined you are ready to price out some General Interest programs, you'll need to calculate the right tuition fee to cover all your costs. Tuition is calculated by dividing your total program costs by your set minimum number of learner registrations to break even (this is any number set by the CALP, but keep in mind higher numbers mean lower tuition fees, and minimums that are too high may result in cancelling a course due to lack of registrations). CLICK HERE to download a spreadsheet you can use to calculate what the registration fees should be to make sure you cover all the costs of running a General Interest program.
Resource: General Interest Program Cost Calculator
General Interest programs can be fun and informative, and a great way to connect with your community, but they are not the focus of the CALP grant. So, before you begin, be sure you know just how your organization will manage all of the costs of running a course, and how you will cover those costs - especially to get a course up and running.
When in doubt, focus on your strengths and remember that the most important job you do is where every CALP shines brightest: supporting learners, creating strong partnerships and building vibrant learning communities.
Regional Support Staff