Monday, March 18, 2013

5 Tips for a Great Tax Clinic

Planning a tax clinic?  Here are a few tips that may help ensure a successful event!

1. Secure a location!
It may sound obvious, but make sure that you have a physical location for your clinic, and maintain an open line of communication with your chosen site to help avoid mistakes in scheduling or double booking of any rooms you might need. If possible ensure that your counselors have a low traffic or private area to work with clients. If that’s not possible get creative! One site used tri-fold poster boards to screen clients and counselors at each work station, making sessions feel more private..

2. Advertise!
Once you have the location, date, and time of your clinic, get the word out there! This season, many of the most successful clinics that the Mobile Express has attended have used a combination of advertising strategies including radio advertisements, word of mouth, newspaper ads, and flyers. In particular, we have noted that events (especially those in smaller or rural towns) that have advertised in a local newspaper have experienced a notable increase in appointments. Templates for all of these are available in The Ohio Benefit Bank Tax Clinic Kit.

3. Schedule!
Knowing your capacity and the capabilities of your staff is critical to having a successful event. Some of our most successful tax clinics have developed strategies that allow them to maintain a steady workflow and also accommodate any unexpected walk-ins. On average, expect an hour to an hour and a half for each appointment. Having an extra counselor on hand to help out with any walk-ins or overflow can really help take your clinic to the next level.

4. Register!
During your tax clinic, have your clients sign in in a separate area with a registration table to help organize a steady pace for your counselors. We have seen sites that = print copies of The Ohio Benefit Bank™ Terms and Conditions and review it with  incoming clients during registration.  Some sites have taken this one step further by creating new client profiles as a client waits for their appointment. When a tax counselor is ready, the client can move directly to the tax application process. This is also a great opportunity to screen clients for benefits with Quick Check! 

5. Report!
Recently, we have noticed that some of our tax clinic sites request that clients fill out a brief exit survey with questions about how they found out about the event, how their experience was, and other relevant feedback. This has really helped some sites plan future events, and can be a great asset towards making improvements in the process!
Got more questions?  Check out The Ohio Benefit Bank Tax Clinic Kit for great tips on planning and organizing your next tax clinic!

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