How To Create An Online Community For Your Alumni
Aftercare programs are a standard component of most treatment centers. These types of programs include monthly alumni meetings, regular phone calls, email updates, and Facebook groups. All of these outreach methods are meant for the patient to get the help, support, and other resources to stay clean and sober.
One important piece of any aftercare plan is to connect your new and existing alumni so they can receive support, encouragement, tips, strategies, and resources to help in early recovery. We all understand the benefits of peer support and how community can promote hope and healing, but what motivates your alumni to participate?
- Your alumni want to give and receive support, this includes being able to celebrate accomplishments like sober birthdays or getting a job. Many of your alumni welcome service work opportunities and want to be an “alumni ambassador” so they can help others.
- Content and other resources are important to your alumni, but it’s important to make sure content is targeted to where each person is in their recovery journey. Someone in early recovery needs different content and resources than someone who is 5 years sober.
- Privacy is critical for your alumni, especially in early recovery. Even private or secret groups on Facebook don’t offer complete privacy and many alumni are uncomfortable associating with a treatment center or sharing personal information in the group. Also keep in mind that alumni in early recovery may not want to be active on social networking sites because of triggers.
Now that we know what’s important for your alumni let’s look at what features your online community platform needs to make your job easier and track success:
- Collecting data on alumni community participation is important so we can create strong, healthy and vibrant online communities. Here are a few basic pieces of data that you should be collecting:
- How many alumni are participating
- How often they are logging in
- What types of content are most popular
- Identify alumni ambassadors
- Managing your community can be time consuming and tedious. To keep your community engaged you must post frequently and include alumni announcements, sober birthdays and other content. The best way to manage all of these posts is schedule as much as possible in advance. It’s also important to send invite updates to alumni, in case they used a different email address or the invitation slipped through the cracks.
- Referrals are a great by-product of a vibrant and engaged community, but only if we keep it top of mind and make it easy for alumni.
Facebook has been a popular choice for alumni communities and even though it’s free, it’s not perfect. CaredFor was created to connect, engage, and influence your alumni. We are helping you take your alumni Facebook group to the next level by providing a private social platform that gives your team the tools to collect important data, improve outcomes, increase referrals, and easily manage your group.
If you would like to learn more contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 802.345.4046