Why Donate Blood?

A blood donation truly is a “gift of life” that a healthy individual can give to others in their community who are sick or injured. In one hour’s time, a person can donate one unit of blood that can be separated into four individual components that could help save multiple lives.

From one unit of blood, red blood cells can be extracted for use in trauma or surgical patients. Plasma, the liquid part of blood, is administered to patients with clotting problems. The third component of blood, platelets, clot the blood when cuts or other open wounds occur, and are often used in cancer and transplant patients. Cryoprecipitated anti-hemophilic factor (AHF) is also used for clotting factors.

Organize a Blood Drive

The first step in organizing any blood drive is to contact the nearest blood bank or blood donation center, Once the blood donation center is contacted, a blood drive representative is usually assigned to help the person organizing the blood drive.The representative will ask a number of questions that will enable him or her to help the blood drive organizer plan a successful blood drive.

The organizer should be prepared to answer the following questions:

  • What is the goal or mission of the group or organization?
  • How big is the organization and where is it located?
  • Additional questions may be asked to ensure that the organizer’s group meets the donor center’s requirements.

Once the representative has determined that an organization meets the requirements, the organizer and the blood drive representative begins to plan the actual blood drive. Mutual goals for the drive will be established, based on the size of the group, and how many people will likely participate. A date and time for the drive will be set, and an appropriate site will be selected.

Blood donor recruiters from the local blood bank will likely provide materials and instructions on making the blood drive successful. The following outline provides general tips for conducting a blood drive and ensuring its success:

  • Work with the local blood drive representative

  • Work with executive staff/HR to provide staff with one hour of time off to donate

  • Build a committee that includes members from all parts of the organization to help get the word out. Ask people who have donated blood before to help organize the drive – they often make the best recruiters.

  • Advertise two to three weeks in advance using various marketing materials and direct methods that include:Sign up donors, allowing enough time for all donors to complete the process

  • Posters – displayed in high traffic areas

  • Brochures – make available during briefings and in high traffic areas

  • Flyers – hand out when meeting with potential donors, seek permission to include in payroll materials

  • Briefings/presentations/announcements – as appropriate in meetings, in the organization’s newsletter

  • Table Tents – if your organization has a cafeteria

  • Email – when possible

  • Get donors to the donation site

  • Keep in touch with donor center staff

  • Ensure donors have had adequate fluids and have eaten prior to donating

  • Follow up after the blood drive by making sure the committee is thanked and the blood drive’s success is reported in the organization newsletter. Create an honor roll of those who volunteered to donate and post it in a central location before and after the drive. Thank everyone involved using awards, certificates, etc.

  • Book the next drive right away! It is NEVER too early to schedule future drives.