According to American Red Cross, every two seconds someone in the US needs blood and more than 38,000 blood donations are needed every day. Whether it is a child with leukemia, a mother with sickle cell disease or a cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy, blood is essential to save lives. By organizing a blood drive, you can help give live to others.
- Choose a blood-service provider in your area to schedule a blood drive. American Red Cross is typically used, but there are other sources as well. http://www.aabb.org/resources/donation/Pages/bblocator.aspx
- Choose a date at least a month i advance to allow plenty of time for publicity.
- Choose a location. The blood service coordinator may have specific instructions, but a large open room like the church hall usually works. Alternatively, you may hold the blood drive in a bloodmobile.
- Gather volunteers, especially those who have donated blood before. Form a recruitment committee to help sign up potential donors and to get the word out.
- Advertise the blood drive extensively in your church and in the community. Ask permission to post flyers on bulletin boards at local businesses, and contact your local radio stations and newspapers. In addition to time, date, and location, include little-know facts such as:
- One donation can help save the lives of up to three people.
- The average red blood cell transfusion is approximately 3 pints, but a single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood.
- The actual blood donation typically takes less than 10-12 minutes.
- Donating blood is a safe process. A sterile needle is used only once for each donor and then discarded.
- On the day before the drive, make sure your location is in proper condition (lighting, heating, cooling).
- On the day of the event, arrive early to meet the blood drive team and to set up tables and chairs. Have your recruitment committee contact no-shows during the drive.
- Set up a registration table to sign in donors and to answer questions.
- Station a few volunteers talk to new donors to reduce potential fear in donating. Share information about basic eligibility requirements, possible deferrals, and the donation process.
- Thank the donors, and encourage them to give blood in the future.
- Do not ignore those who are not eligible to give blood; you can use their help, too.
- Do not pressure anyone into donating.
- Make sure donors have had adequate fluids and have eaten prior to donating.
- Encourage donors to schedule appointments in advance. Send appointment reminders.
- Consider getting food donations or other treats for donors and volunteers. Check with the blood drive representative about donor recruitment incentives; failure to do so could result in an FDA violation.
- You can also collaborate with the Bone Marrow Registry to have bone marrow testing.
- To increase the number of minority blood donors, consider holding the blood drive in September during National Sickle Cell Awareness Month.