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Want to Get Your Feet Wet will work well if you want to try using incentives to increase group attendance. Check out Bright Ideas which showcases examples of creative implementation by your colleagues around the country. There are many ways to implement, and these are just some examples that we hope will inspire you.Try this short term, simple incentive program to increase group attendance; it will cost you less than $250.00.

Here’s how you set it up:

Target audience: Patients attending group counseling sessions (e.g.orientation group, men’s group, or psycho-educational group).

• Target behavior: New patients attending and/or current patients attending more often.

• Target reinforcer: In weeks 1-12, a $10 gift card to the store of their choice (pharmacy, fast food restaurant, convenience store) and, in week 12, an additional prize worth $75.

• Frequency of Incentive Distribution: 1x a week group for 12 weeks, grand prize at the end of 12 weeks.

• Timing of the Incentive: Weekly raffle open to everyone present

• Design: Advertise the formation of a new group. Encourage particpation of an existing group.

    Make a colorful poster that announces gift card prizes and a grand prize raffle. Click here for asample poster. You could also provide a one-time welcome gift for each new member. It should be something simple like a keychain, inspirational rubber bracelet, a votive candle, a journal, and should cost a dollar or less.) sample poster

    Use raffle tickets and give one to each client as he/she arrives for group. The tickets should be difficult to duplicate, which can be done by having a counselor initial the tickets, or using a clip art picture. Clients write their name and the date on the ticket and put it in a hat, basket, or plastic container. You could encourage prompt arrival if you do the drawing five minutes after group begins, or you could encourage full participation if the drawing is a few minutes before the group ends, but be careful not to turn it into a negative reinforcement for those who do not comply. Click here for sample raffle tickets sheet.

    Keep the gift cards and the collected tickets in a safe place. Bring the jar of collected tickets to group each time because as the jar fills over time it will be a visual reminder of the patients’ accomplishments and good attendance. At the end of 12 weeks use all the tickets collected to hold an additional raffle for the grand prize. Members who attended most often will have the best chance of winning.

    You can end the 12 week program with refreshments to celebrate the collective effort and to encourage the cohesiveness of the group. Here are the attendance results for one such incentive.

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