A National Resource to Support Excellence in Community Action
Last Revised: Jan 15, 2010 - Initial Posting: May 23, 2003
Purpose

Community Action Partnership of Lancaster and Saunders Counties (formerly Lincoln Action Program) established the Incentive Program to help motivate and reward families participating in self-sufficiency activities.

Description

Community Action Partnership of Lancaster and Saunders Counties uses the Incentive Program to provide access to Community Action’s Incentive Store that stocks women's, men's and children's clothing, shoes, personal care and cleaning products, hardware, toys, books, and other household goods. Donations are secured through national and local firms and many caring individuals.

Families may participate if they are involved in Community Action case management track services.

Points are earned based on progress made toward self-sufficiency and items may be obtained from the Clothing and Household Bank according to point values and established procedures.  The point system is loosely based on what an item would cost if purchased in a second-hand store.  The pricing system is a result of analyzing prices in area thrift stores.

Caseworkers meet with each program participant monthly to set mutually agreed-upon goals for the month.  These goals incrementally move the family toward economic self-sufficiency.  At the conclusion of each month, the caseworker and program participant meet to review progress and to set goals for the next month.  For incremental monthly accomplishments, program participants earn Bonus Points that may be redeemed in the Incentive Store.  Caseworkers have considerable flexibility in assigning point values for specific action steps, in order to respond to the unique challenges and goals of each program participant.  All items distributed through the Incentive Store are earned and not sold for cash.

A proprietary agency-developed computer database is used by caseworkers to enter and issue Bonus Point Certificates to program participants.  This software is used to track the number of points issued to each program participant and to facilitate the checkout process when a "purchase" is made in the Incentive Store.  "Change" is given in Bonus Points if the amount "purchased" does not equal the total amount on the Bonus Point Certificate.  Bonus Points are valid for up to 60 days.

The checkout computer that keeps track of the number of points spent and the amount remaining still available is staffed by volunteers.  The Incentive Store is staffed daily by volunteers. One AmeriCorps member has been specifically assigned to manage the Incentive Store.

Hours are:

Monday through Thursday 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Friday, Saturday, Sunday: Closed

Outcomes

1,052 families qualified to redeem Bonus Points in the Clothing & Household Goods Bank in 2003.  On an average, each family "purchased" items valued at over $350 during the course of the year.

Contact

Michelle Martinez, Director of Family Outreach
402.471.4515 ext. 131