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ROC Weekly Marketing Minute
How to Create an Effective Drug and Alcohol Rehab Alumni Program
Creating an effective alumni program is a way to continue supporting clients after they leave your facility. These programs help to connect former clients with others in similar situations and help them maintain contact with your services and support when needed. Alumni programs can help your former clients avoid relapse, continue to build healthy habits and relationships, and offer a support system that can be critical to their sobriety.
By maintaining a connection with your clients, you can help them stay committed to their recovery. This can help improve the quality of your service offerings, build the reputation of your facility, and help support your clients as they progress on their journey.
How to get started
Here is a list of steps you can take to plan and create your alumni program:
Align the goals and values of your business with your program
By aligning your business and alumni program, you can help to maintain consistency in your message and delivery of services.
Outline the important activities and schedule
You want to ensure you offer a variety of activities that are consistently scheduled to help keep alumni engaged. Consider how often you want to hold events, the budget and staff needed, and the activities you plan to offer. For instance, you can consider offering regular events on-site, weekly or bi-weekly meetings, mentorship or buddy systems, and outings.
Determine the resources and staff that are needed
It is beneficial to delegate or hire a few staff members to coordinate the alumni program. They can create ideas for each activity, make arrangements, promote them, and run each event. You can also compare the budget you have to the one you need and think about how you might cover any additional costs.
Create a communication and promotion strategy
After you have a rough schedule and have delegated the tasks, you can then think about how you will communicate with your alumni to invite them to take part and keep them updated as the activities progress. Consider how you plan to convey the value of the program, why they should join, the channels you will use, and how you plan to account for people in different stages of the recovery process. Be sure to assess your alumni and client contact list to ensure you have the information needed to contact them.
Create an effective announcement
Once your program is ready to launch, inform your contacts that the program is live. Encourage them to get involved, let them know they will receive updates as the program progresses, and list where they can connect with others and find out more.
How to manage and promote your program
Here is a list of things to consider to help ensure the success of your alumni program:
Create an email reminder system: Be sure to create a mailing list for your alumni program to help keep participants informed and involved. Consider creating special content (ex. blogs) to share with them, inform them of upcoming events, connect them with resources in the community, and stay present in their inbox to remind them you are still there to help.
Create mentorship programs: By offering mentorship programs, you can help your alumni learn from others who have already overcome the challenges they are facing. These people can encourage your alumni to try new things, develop new skills, and celebrate their achievements. It also provides the mentor with an opportunity to give back to the program and celebrate their own successes along the way.
Facilitate volunteer programs: By encouraging participation in volunteer activities, your alumni program can give back to the community. This can help build confidence in your alumni, develop their skills, and help them stay busy as they exit in-patient rehab and get back out into the world.
Create a group on Facebook: By creating an exclusive group on Facebook, your alumni can stay informed, interact with others, and share their experiences and concerns. An online community can connect people with the same goal; to maintain a life free of drugs and alcohol. This can help alumni see the progress of others, share their milestones, and have a community accessible at any time and from anywhere.
Stay in contact: To help your alumni stay connected and access the resources they need, be sure to reach out to them after they leave the program. Consider giving them a call or personal email to see how they are doing and ask if you can do anything to help. Consider implementing a hotline strictly for alumni to access your services when they need them the most.
Create an activity calendar: By having an easily accessible outline of all the activities for your alumni group, you can help encourage attendance and build anticipation for your events. This can also help your alumni build a routine around your program offerings. Be sure to include guest speakers at your facility, outings, applicable meetings, and any retreats you plan.
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