by Dean Witherspoon   Dean's profile on LinkedIn  

It happens to all health promotion programs more than a couple of years old. Sometime during the year — often during annual planning, or end-of-year report season — you look up and realize that 20% or more of your regulars haven’t signed up in a while. They’re still around, but wellness participation is down their list of priorities.

The reasons can range from you did such a good job they don’t need your services anymore to you really screwed up and they wouldn’t cross the street for you now. Typically, the reasons are somewhere in between — and may be unrelated to what you did or didn’t do.

But unless your organization is fast growing and you have an endless stream of new faces showing up at the wellness door, you’ll eventually lose momentum unless you recover at least some of your former participants. A few ideas:


  • Don’t let relationships wither. Even if someone is too busy to participate as they have in the past, you can drop a note, make a call, or send an FYI article — anything to show you’re thinking about them.
  • Keep your participant database current. Most organizations announce moves to different departments, relocations, promotions, etc. through a central communication vehicle. Review it daily for familiar names and update your participant database.
  • Use milestones as an excuse to contact. The new year, an anniversary, a birthday… just about any milestone on the calendar is a good, nonthreatening reason to contact those who have dropped out.
  • Update them. If you’ve got something brand new you think might interest former participants, bring it to their attention. Suggest a free trial to get them back.

Don’t overdo it, though — a couple of contacts a year to win back someone is showing interest; more frequent contacts could feel intrusive.


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