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How to Run a Successful Blood Drive

The first successful human blood transfusion was performed in 1818 by a British doctor. The theory of blood transfusions to treat severe blood loss was known for some time. But this was the first successful transfusion history has recorded.

Since that time, blood transfusions have become routine. However, even though the procedure is routine, blood banks occasionally run low on blood supplies. Some reasons blood supplies run low include:

  • Major disasters where blood is needed.
  • A slowdown in blood donations.
  • Insufficient donations to replace blood discarded due to age. Whole blood can only be stored for about 42 days while plasma can be stored for up to one year.

Because blood is continuously rotated through the blood banks, blood banks require a steady supply of blood donations. While your donation is important, organizing a blood drive can help blood banks ensure an adequate supply regardless for everyone injured whether caused by a natural disaster or a car accident.

Here are some tips for running a successful blood drive.

Pick Your Time and Location

You need to pick a time and location for your blood drive well in advance so you can promote your blood drive and schedule appointments for your donors. Donors are more likely to commit to an appointment if they know the window of time available and where they need to be.

The most common locations for blood drives include:

  • Your facility: You can hold a blood drive in your conference room or other room with space for six eight-foot tables. For many company blood drives, your busy workers do not have time to go off-site for a blood donation. An in-facility blood drive is ideal for a law firm or other business.
  • Community facility: You may be able to use a community facility like a recreation center, church, city office building, or community center for your blood drive. You may even be given the use of the facility for no charge since you are running a blood drive.
  • Mobile facility: Many blood banks have buses or large trucks outfitted for mobile blood drives. These vehicles can handle blood drives of 20 to 40 people and only need a flat parking spot to take donations. If you have a building that is too small to set up a blood drive but have a large flat parking area, a mobile facility might work.
  • Donation center: If you have a donation center nearby, you can coordinate with the donation center for your blood drive. The benefit of using a donation center is that they are prepared if anything goes wrong, from first aid equipment to a hospital bed for anyone who takes longer to recover.

When you pick your time and place, make sure it is convenient for your donor group. For example, if your donor group consists of members of your church, setting your blood drive for Sunday after church might help you maximize your donations. Conversely, setting your blood drive for the morning of a workday might result in a lot of no-shows and cancelations.

Contact Your Blood Drive Partner

Whether you work with a hospital, the Red Cross, or a blood bank, you will need a partner for your blood drive. There are a few reasons for this:

  • Your blood drive will need trained medical personnel to draw blood and store it safely until the end of the blood drive.
  • You will need storage facilities for the blood until it is transported to the blood bank.
  • You will need transportation to carry the blood safely to the blood bank.
  • You need someone who can help donors if they have difficulty recovering from their donations.

Choosing a partner for your blood drive might simply be a matter of choosing the partner nearest you. Not every community has a blood bank, so your choices might be limited.

But if you have a choice, you might need to interview a few partners to see how much support you will receive from your partner. You will also need to make sure your partner is available at the time you plan to run your blood drive.

Finally, you will need to make sure your partner has the facilities you need. For example, if you have planned a mobile blood drive, you need a partner with a mobile blood donation facility. By talking to your blood drive partners ahead of time, you can ensure that your blood drive will be adequately staffed and run.

Form a Leadership Committee

Once you have a blood drive partner, you will begin to promote your blood drive and make arrangements to collect blood donations. To ensure that everything gets done and you reach your blood drive goal, you should form a leadership committee so you can delegate tasks.

Your leadership committee does not necessarily need experience in running blood drives to make it successful. Instead, you need people who have experience in the tasks you delegate to them and a level of responsibility to make sure they get accomplished.

The Red Cross recommends your leadership committee include two teams:

  • Recruitment Team: Your recruitment team is responsible for recruiting donors. The recruitment team will market the blood drive and reach out to potential donors. The team members will find ways to excite donors about the blood drive and reach out to them. The recruitment team will need people who are sociable and have connections with potential donors because an in-person, face-to-face donation request is the most effective. Nevertheless, you will need broad-based marketing efforts to raise awareness, like posters, social media posts, emails, and phone calls. Your recruitment team will also help donors schedule donation appointments. Donation appointments help you make your goal by placing (good) pressure on your donors to show up for their donation. The Red Cross has an online tool to help you schedule appointments for your blood drive.
  • Blood drive planning team: The planning team is responsible for making sure the blood drive runs smoothly and successfully. This includes operational concerns, like coordinating with volunteers, the blood drive partner, and the rest of the leadership committee to make sure everyone is on the same page. The planning team will make arrangements for the blood drive facility. The planning team also makes sure the donors are taken care of. This can include decorating the facility with flowers, setting up a comfortable waiting area and recovery area, and managing competitions and incentives for donating. The planning team is responsible for providing refreshments for donors before and after they give their donation.

Develop a Marketing Message

Most successful blood drives have a message. From disaster restoration after a hurricane to running a blood drive in an accident victim’s memory, people are more willing to donate when they have a cause.

Think about why you were motivated to run the blood drive and see if you can draw a marketing message out of your own motivation. Talk to your leadership committee to see if there is something that motivated them to help. Developing a marketing message helps ensure you have a lever to push potential recruits into becoming actual donors.

Once you have a marketing message, use it consistently. Use it on flyers. Develop an email template. Maybe even tattoo it on your arm. But do everything you can to spread your message and reach potential recruits.

According to the Red Cross up to one-third of the recruits who sign up for appointments will no-show, cancel, or fail the screening process. This means that to collect 40 units of blood, you will need to sign up 60 recruits for appointments. This means that the more recruits you sign up for appointments, the more likely you will be to make your blood drive goal.

Make sure you discuss your recruitment message with your team. This can:

  • Ensure everybody understands the message before contacting potential donors.
  • Make sure your donor is universal and will not offend any potential donors.
  • Help your team members provide input to refine and focus on the message.

Whether your drive is motivated by an earthquake on the other side of the world or the memory of a local veteran who has entered hospice services, having a message with an emotional appeal will help you reach donors and motivate them to donate.

Line Up Volunteers

Volunteers are critical to a successful blood drive. A blood drive requires volunteers to screen donors for venous disease and other disqualifying conditions. Volunteers must keep the refreshments stocked and keep donors informed of the process as they check-in and check out.

The Red Cross has a clever strategy for lining up volunteers. When your recruiting team is soliciting recruits to donate blood, they will receive a lot of “no” answers. But when someone says they will not donate blood, have your recruiting team ask them if they will volunteer their time to help with the blood drive.

Train your recruiting team to find volunteers as they line up donors. But also have a strategy for getting volunteers. For example, if you have a company blood drive, ask employees to volunteer an hour of their time during the day to help run the blood drive. If they are paid during their time volunteering, you will probably have a fully staffed volunteer crew for your blood drive.

Volunteers are invaluable for your blood drive. Whether they are directing donors to the waiting area or making sure there are ice cubes for the post-donation orange juice, your volunteers will be necessary for your blood drive.

Market Your Blood Drive

As your recruitment team markets your blood drive, be inclusive. If you are running a company blood drive, ask friends and relatives of employees to donate as well. If your church is running a blood drive, partner with other churches to make sure you meet your donation goal.

Remember that your goal is to reach a certain number of units donated. If your potential recruit pool is small, you might not reach your goal without expanding the pool of potential donors. The Red Cross has a lot of experience in running blood drives and it projects that a company or church blood drive with 100 members will struggle to produce 40 units of blood without reaching out beyond the members.

As you market your blood drive, use every tool available to you including:

  • Social media: Social media can be an effective tool because your message can go viral and reach people you do not have direct contact with.
  • Phone calls: Phone calls are useful because you can answer questions from the potential donor to reduce their hesitancy.
  • Posters and flyers: Posters and flyers are useful for creating awareness. But posters and flyers are notoriously bad at convincing donors to donate.
  • In-person solicitation: In-person solicitation is the most effective tool for marketing your blood drive. Your recruitment team and volunteers are at their most persuasive when they can speak to someone in person. Moreover, an in-person meeting can include signing up recruits for an appointment so the recruit will receive reminders to show up.

Run the Blood Drive

Ideally, all the hard work will be done before the day of the blood drive. This leaves only the actual logistical tasks of coordinating volunteers, donors, your blood drive partner.

Make sure your donors are taken care of. Donors should not be inconvenienced by making them wait for their appointment. Donors should also feel like their donation was appreciated. You can give a gift to your donors so they have a tangible reminder of your appreciation.

Also, take care of your volunteers. Volunteers are giving up their time to help make your blood drive successful, so do not yell at them and give them a sense of fulfillment for helping.

Blood drives can be an enormous help to your community. Blood donations save lives and improve the safety and health of communities. Running a successful blood drive can give you an incredible sense of accomplishment and help your community in ways that are hard to measure.

To run a successful blood drive, plan ahead. If we talk about anxiety, depressive disorders, the duration of treatment with Xanax can reach up to 6 months. During the treatment of panic disorders, the course may be increased to 8 months. Pick a time and location for your blood drive and secure a facility. Pick a blood bank or relief organization as your partner for your blood drive and rely on their experience to make your blood drive successful. Form a leadership committee with a recruiting team and an organizing team that can share the responsibility of the blood drive with you. Market to a wider pool of recruits than you think you need to reach your goal. And make sure your volunteers and donors feel appreciated.

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