Tips For Hosting A Successful Community Blood Drive

SET A DATE, TIME AND PLACE. Pick a day and date that you feel is convenient for the majority of the community. Most communities choose to designate one or two days, five to six times per year to host blood drives. This enables CMBC to maintain an adequate blood supply throughout the year especially during the difficult summer and winter holiday seasons.

ESTABLISH A COUNCIL. As the blood drive coordinator, you will want to include dependable people throughout the community to help with planning, publicity, incentives, and other drive-day logistics. Ask people who already give blood to participate as they often offer the most support. Invite an enthusiastic representative from major employers, churches, civic organizations, high schools, colleges, etc. Spreading out the responsibility makes your job easier and gets more people talking about the blood drive throughout your community.

SET A GOAL FOR YOUR DRIVE.  Work with your CMBC representative to set a reasonable goal for your drive.  Share the goal with council members and establish a number for each person to recruit, based on the size of the company or community represented. Sometimes competition for the greatest level of participation can be a fun way to spur council members towards their goals!

EDUCATE YOUR COUNCIL.  To help your council feel comfortable in participating, educate them on blood, the need for blood in our community and about the donation process. This can be accomplished through one-on-one meetings, presentations to different companies and local organizations. Please refer to "Educating Your Volunteers" section in this handbook for helpful information.

INVOLVE THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY! Work with your CMBC representative to obtain blood drive posters, flyers, etc. Ask area churches to publicize it in their bulletins, ask youth groups to help deliver flyers, ask local grocers to distribute flyers in customer sacks, ask area businesses to post a flyer in their window and place the information on their marquee if they have one, etc. Invite everyone to participate. You may even want to ask local businesses to place the information in their company newsletter, make announcements at staff meetings when possible, or include blood drive information with paychecks and/or place flyers in employee boxes. Large organizations and companies can even use e-mails to communicate with their members and employees as often as possible up to and on the actual day of the drive.  Banks and utility companies are sometimes willing to place the blood drive information in the statements they send out. Make this blood drive a community event!

PUBLICIZE! Work with the CMBC Marketing Director (see Timeline for info) to determine what has been placed in local newspapers, radio interview opportunities, opportunities available for a CMBC to do a presentation at local club or organizational meetings, etc.

CREATE EXCITEMENT!   How do I do that? Let your CMBC work with you to hold a Kick-Off Meeting with a guest speaker, blood trivia, door prizes, etc. Develop a theme for your drive.  Encourage competition between companies or organizations. Display a large blood drop or gauge in the donation area so that you can visibly track your progress towards your goal.   Encourage local merchants to donate small tokens of appreciation for your donors or ask major companies to offer incentives to donors.

RECRUIT DONORS. The most important ingredient in creating a successful blood drive is personal contact.  Studies show that the most common reason people do not donate is because NO ONE EVER ASKED! Ask people face-to-face with confidence. Be enthusiastic.  Acknowledge and address the concerns of the prospective donor and rely on the staff at CMBC for information and assistance. When talking to your prospective donor, let he or she know that giving blood is one of the most important and compassionate things a person can do.

SCHEDULE APPOINTMENTS TO THE BEST OF YOUR ABILITY. This helps the blood center know how much staff, equipment and supplies to send. Plus, an appointment schedule cuts donors' wait time, minimizes disruption of their daily routine, helps accurately measure the progress toward your goal and helps assure that the donors' needs are met. Donors with appointments are more likely to show up! To make scheduling appointments more convenient, CMBC will provide you with appointment sheets.

REMIND DONORS. Assign each council member a portion of the donors that have signed up.  Have them send a reminder card a couple of days prior to the drive and then place a reminder call the night before the blood drive. When doing so, inform donors to eat and consume adequate fluids prior to donating. If a donor misses their appointment, have a council member call them right away to reschedule a time later during the ongoing drive.  

EVALUATE THE RESULTS. Invite your CMBC representative to attend a final council meeting to evaluate your drive. What did you and your council do to make your blood drive successful?  Would you like to do anything different next time? Was one group outstanding? If so, involve them on your blood drive council. Don't forget to complete the enclosed form to evaluate CMBC and it's staff so that we know how to better serve you and the donors in future drives. Be candid.

PROVIDE RECOGNITION. After the drive, please remember to thank everyone who donated, as well as those who tried. Make sure to praise all of those who participated in any way to make your drive a success. If you had a competition within groups, hold a special meeting to recognize and award the winners. Possibly host a special luncheon for gallon donors, successful groups, organization with highest percentage of donors, etc.

CELEBRATE SUCCESS!  Publicize the results of the drive within your community and mention the date of the next drive so donors can mark their calendars in advance. If you haven't scheduled your next blood drive, please do so with your CMBC representative.

Now, give yourself and your council a pat on the back for making a difference!