As the calendar turns to a new year, I reflect on where my life was before Al‑Anon and where it is now. I reflect on my good fortune to have found a place that has shown me warmth, understanding, and love. While I continue to work the program to better my life, I’m compelled to share what I know with others. With over a decade of digital marketing experience, I know all the tricks of the trade to generate online clicks, leads, and sales. Therefore, I felt qualified for the job. However, this is where my two worlds collided—how to raise awareness of Al‑Anon’s program while simultaneously embracing Al‑Anon’s Traditions.
The first challenge is understanding the difference between attraction and promotion and how they apply to public outreach. While there are several key differences between attraction and promotion, the ones that stood out to me most are that attraction is providing information, whereas promotion is making promises. The comparison in the digital marketing world is that attraction would be a banner that asks “Do you worry about someone else’s drinking? Al‑Anon can help.” Promotion would be the same banner that says, “Attending Al‑Anon meetings will make your life better.” While the latter is true in my case, it is an implied promise; therefore, it is promotion rather than attraction.
So, this means that we can build websites, design billboards, and post flyers and posters in our local communities. Most of these activities have some sort of cost associated with them, whether it’s paying for a website address, such as al‑anon.org, paying for a billboard, or printing materials. Paying for these goods and services is another way we practice Tradition Seven. However, there are other projects that groups and Districts undertake with very little cost. The Public Service Announcement (PSA) project is one example. Here, members can contact their local TV and radio stations to give them information about Al‑Anon and ask if they would be willing to help families and friends of alcoholics by playing our PSAs to raise awareness of our program.
Another example of a low-cost public outreach project is to host an open meeting and invite local addiction and mental health professionals to visit to learn more about what Al‑Anon is. Doing so is a great opportunity to provide them with Al‑Anon pamphlets and literature, such as Al‑Anon Faces Alcoholism, to pass along to their clients or patients. When I think of members, groups, and Districts around the world pitching in on various public outreach projects, I can’t help but smile and think of the Al‑Anon Declaration and feel satisfied knowing that I’m doing my part.
By Scot P., Associate Director—Digital Strategy
The Forum, January 2020