Thank you to everyone for all of your great solutions submitted already. Our Student Nutrition Department utilizes many of the same solutions including Periodic Emails, Phone Calls, and Letters (At time of selection, mid-October, late-October, at expiration). We have found that it helps us to have a calendar such as the one attached to stay on task and make sure we complete multiple efforts via multiple modes of communication to increase response rate. This also helps us to maintain notes on the verification processes involved from one year to the next. Two other efforts that we have recently employed include:
- Encouraging the households to provide information via email: While many households do not have fax machines, scanners, or money to buy postage/envelopes in 2017, most do have access to a smart phone these days and are capable of taking a photo of proof of income and sending it via email. Additionally, we have set up a district email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, to allow all verification-related emails to come through one address and be compiled together. We have found that when the appropriate information is not provided initially, we get more follow up and correct information in a timely manner via email. The school year that we implemented this solution our non-response rate decreased from 32% to 27%.
- Utilizing a visual representation of how households can provide documentation: Many adult learners are more visual so they don’t respond well or at all to receiving a wordy document explaining what to provide in terms of documentation. To capture a response from this particular group, we have begun to utilize the attached Decision Tree and provide it in all mail outs requesting verification documentation in English and Spanish. It allows household members to answer questions to determine what steps to take to complete verification.
These inexpensive solutions have assisted us in raising our non-response rate over the last over the last four years from 49% to as low as 27%. We hope to continue to do so in upcoming years as well to ensure as many students as possible receive the benefits that they need. Thank you for your time.