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Importance of a Good Alumni Program for Your Rehab Center
Recovery from addiction is a lifelong process. Many people who complete a treatment program experience challenges integrating back into the world while newly sober. Alumni programs are an effective way to create support and community for your former clients and are proven to reduce the instance of recidivism. Among these benefits, there are several ways that these programs can be advantageous for your drug and alcohol rehab center.
What are alumni programs and why are they important?
Alumni programs offer continuing support to people who have completed drug and alcohol treatment programs. They help clients maintain a relationship with peers from the program and staff from your facility. These programs often offer regular communications and events to help engage the group. They typically provide opportunities to give back to the community and build relationships. The goal of these groups is to provide former clients with knowledge, support, and guidance on how to maintain a sober life without having to attend a structured rehab program. They alleviate isolation and effectively reduce the likelihood of relapse. These programs help clients connect with others who may have attended the same program at a different time, share their experiences and challenges, and maintain a connection with people and resources that helped them in their recovery journey.
Alumni programs as a business strategy
Beyond providing support to your former clients, alumni programs also have many benefits for your business. Here is a list of ways an alumni program can be beneficial to your business:
Improves your ROR
You can develop your return on relationships with former clients. These people have already gone through your program with success and are likely to still know people that could benefit from your services. They can act as some of the most effective referrals for gaining new clients. Since they have already qualified for your treatment program, they are more likely to refer leads who will also qualify. Their network is also likely to extend beyond potential clients, and can help you meet other leaders in the industry and community.
Maintains relationships in case of relapse
Relapse and recidivism are common in the addictions industry. By maintaining a relationship with former clients, you can increase the likelihood of them returning to your facility if they experience a relapse. Having close and consistent contact with them can help your facility stay top of mind when they search for a rehab facility. It also means that you already have a pre-screened and qualified lead if they need your services again, saving you time and money for recruitment. This is especially important considering that many programs have around 20% of alumni admits in a month.
Increases brand advocacy
Maintaining a relationship with your former clients can be extremely beneficial for brand advocacy. Your ongoing involvement in their lives and your continued support if they relapse are likely to result in them acting as brand ambassadors. They are likely to share their opinions with others, especially those they may become future clients. This helps you leverage the investment of time and care you have provided to these clients.
Provides opportunity to gather insightful feedback
Your alumni are some of the best sources of information. You can gather feedback about your programs, staff, and business overall from people who have firsthand experience with it. This can help you adjust aspects of your rehab to better suit clients and help you give praise to your team where it is due.
Alumni group activity ideas
If you are considering starting an alumni group, here are a few ideas you can use:
Friendly sports competitions
Facebook alumni support
Camping or nature experiences
Community clean ups
Arts and crafts
Going to the beach or lake
Tip: Remember that engaged alumni are key to realizing the potential that alumni programs can have for your business. You can create a plan for communication and events to help engage them, keep them informed, and encourage them to participate. You can create a newsletter for your alumni group, schedule regular in-person or online events, and share stories of success to celebrate achievements and build a sense of community.
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