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Recovery Café Network

Deepening Connection Through a Customized Community Hub

The Mission

Recovery Café Network (RCN) is comprised of Recovery Cafés committed to serving people who have experienced trauma and the results of trauma such as homelessness, addiction, substance use disorder, and other mental health challenges using the Recovery Café Model. Through a cohort learning approach, Cafés are provided with mentorship, materials, and facilitated learning experiences to create a Recovery Café community in their area. Cafés offer radical hospitality in which we all come to know ourselves as loved with gifts to share.

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The Problem

Prior to our collaboration, Recovery Café Network relied on a disjointed system across multiple platforms like email and Dropbox to communicate, share resources, and manage internal processes. This resulted in confusion for members trying to find the most up-to-date information and inefficient workflows for Recovery Café Network staff who fielded one-off requests rather than having self-service options. Information was often siloed and hard to find.

The network needed a consolidated, user-friendly Hub to solve these issues and connect members to the information and tools required to run their cafes effectively. As Julia from Recovery Café Network shared, "The Hub for us was mainly to create a central location that was beautiful and easy to navigate. That increased engagement between members in our network made it much easier for them to find the real training materials and resources that we have available."

Alex from Recovery Café Network added: "Having [the Hub] be a live knowledge base where we can update it and not have to rotate this 180-page document once every three years, but instead we can do it piecemeal and have things connect to each other is really important to us."

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The Solution

Idealist Consulting partnered with Recovery Café Network to create a robust online Hub that would serve as the central platform for the Network's over 60 member Cafés across the United States and Canada. The overarching goal was to increase engagement among Network members, make training materials and resources readily accessible in one place, streamline internal processes like grant applications, and empower the Cafés to connect and serve their communities.

Idealist Consulting worked closely with Recovery Café Network over several months using a human-centered design approach to create the new online Hub on the Salesforce platform.

The Hub features:

  • An interactive bulletin board for members to connect
    Library with updated training materials and resources
  • Tools to streamline internal processes like grant applications
  • Centralized member directory and membership data/records
  • Announcements feed for important network communications
  • A responsive design accessible across devices

Throughout the process, Idealist Consulting focused on understanding Recovery Café Network's unique mission and needs in order to develop a customized Salesforce solution tailored specifically for their members and staff.

As Alex shared about Idealist Consultant Amy Clark and Project Manager Saul Belisle: "It was great having Amy and Saul really take the time to get to know us as people and then get to know our organization’s priorities and values for this Hub.”

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Hub logins since launch

The Result

Since launching the new online Hub:

  • Member Cafés are more empowered to self-serve information and resources instead of relying on central staff.
  • Internal processes like grant management have been streamlined, freeing up Recovery Café Network staff resources. According to Alex, managing grants internally "is much more intuitive and the moving parts work together. That has been one of the most impactful things."
  • Members are more connected through features like the bulletin board. As Alex shared, "That is something that we had tried to do in the past with the listserv that just didn't really work or it didn't really have the impact that we wanted."
  • Information is more organized and consistent across the network.

The transformed member Hub has not only saved time for the organization but has empowered members to access information autonomously. The Hub has also increased engagement among Recovery Café Network's national community, helping staff work more efficiently, and providing an intuitive platform for members - achieving the project’s original goals.

Both organizations are excited to continue enhancing the Hub to further support Recovery Café Network's mission into the future with a Managed Service support contract, made possible by RCN receiving The Idealist Grant in 2023. RCN team member Julia shared, “This additional 80 hours of work with Idealist will allow the Recovery Café Network team to continue to develop the RCN Hub, which we see as one of the most important developments in our evolution as an organization.”

RCN envisions extending the Hub's capabilities by introducing more chatter groups for specific cohorts and executive directors, adding a more in-depth training component, and streamlining events. The ongoing collaboration provides the opportunity to make continuous updates and improvements. The support contract will further assist in identifying and addressing challenges, ensuring the Hub continues to align with Recovery Café Network's strategic plans.

Many processes that required many manual steps are now automatic, resulting in increased efficiency, saving things from falling through the cracks, and making the processes more seamless for our users.

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Julia Selle, Special Projects Manager