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Sustaining Support for Dads For Life

Exploring innovative opportunities to strengthen financial resilience to support sustained family engagement.

Posted on 14th December 2021

Dads For Life Hero

Posted on 14th December 2021


The Centre for Fathering embarked upon this programme with School of X to try to bring fresh thinking and creative problem solving to their organisation, as they grappled with entrenched challenges common across many non-profit service organisations, which were exacerbated during the COVID-19 Circuit Breaker period.

By working with volunteers, Board Members, and a diverse range of public participants, drawn from public and private sector backgrounds, Centre for Fathering was able to reimagine how services might become more effective and self-financing, in order to create stronger and longer-lasting impacts.


The Centre for Fathering, along with many Social Service Agencies, struggled to maintain service continuity and beneficiary outreach during the COVID-19 Circuit Breaker period.

The pandemic also heightened vulnerabilities around the long-term financial resilience of the organization, which was entirely reliant on grant funding and charitable donations.

The Centre for Fathering recognised that that families that could most benefit from their help during a pandemic, might be the least likely to reach out to seek it, and this provided a guiding direction for the user research activity.


Through a series of six online workshop sessions, spread out across a three-week period, participants worked in mixed teams to deeply explore the issues underpinning their challenge.

Through remote user research with a wide range of stakeholders, from beneficiaries to Board Members, employees to funders, the teams were able to identify patterns in the data that allowed them to better understand how to tackle the issues. They framed their challenge around the motivating factors and needs of their beneficiaries, in order to inform the design of solutions with compelling value propositions.

dads for life understanding
During six half-day online workshop sessions participants, working in teams of 5 to 6 members, were taught the Design Thinking process and implementation tools.

Finally at the end, after an intensive period of researching, ideating, prototyping and iterating, the teams came back online to present their findings and pitch their ideas.

For many of these participants, design thinking paved a new way for them to create solutions to real problems. They see purpose in their work. There was appreciation for the opportunity for a myriad of individuals to come together to work for a common cause.


Highly resourceful organisations such as Centre for Fathering, in which staff are adept at maximising impacts from limited resources, have strong abilities to generate new ideas. Nonetheless, it can also be challenging to entirely reimagine service delivery models, or push towards seemingly impossible stretch goals, that feel unfamiliar and uncertain.

During the idea generation phase of this project, School of X facilitators encouraged participants to go far beyond expectations to find very different approaches to long-standing problems.

This required participants to spend time reflecting on the inherent value of the organisation in order to understand its own value proposition, before being able to creatively imagine collaborative opportunities from a point of strength. After the very divergent phase of idea creation, the teams were able to narrow down priority concepts that represented the strongest impact potential for the least onerous effort.


Having developed strong idea concepts, and tested them through simple prototyping activities, participants embarked on a three-week pilot project during which they implemented their solutions with real users. This included testing out new partnerships models at Changi Airport’s The Jewel, and road testing “New Father Field Packs” to help dads understand how best to support their families after the arrival of their newborn baby. All of the ideas were presented to a panel of experts during a final pitch day event, and since then the ideas have been taken forward by the Centre for Fathering for further development and rollout at scale. Six-weeks after completion of the School of X programme, the New Father Field Pack was being distributed at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

Each new dad on 1st January 2021 received a welcome kit personally given out by Ms Indranee Rajah, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for National Development. In it were collaterals containing parenting tips and merchandise like caps to congratulate them and celebrate fatherhood.

Quote Mark

Whenever a child is born, mothers and their babies will always receive something from the hospital, but all the dad gets is the hospital bill,” said Bryan Tan, CEO of the Centre For Fathering.