Donor recruitment drives are an integral part of Gift of Life. They directly impact the lives of patients around the world who are in need of bone marrow and blood stem cell transplants by improving their chances of finding suitably matched donors in the registry. Running a donor drive is a very worthwhile experience for both the coordinator and the community, and the Gift of Life staff is there every step of the way to ensure that it’s a success. All one has to do to get started is contact one of our recruitment coordinators.
Before scheduling a drive, the date, time and location must be established. The organizer should schedule a date where the greatest number of people will be available. A successful tip that many drive coordinators take advantage of is hosting the drive during an event that’s already scheduled. Local fairs and fests are great because there will already be a large number of people present; college students have had success running drives during homecoming football games and other campus events. Hosting a drive during a party, wedding, bar/bat mitzvah, marathon or other event will help maximize attendance and make the drive more successful.
The location should be a high traffic area where a large number of people will notice, and it should comfortably accommodate the number of tables, chairs, and anticipated donors. Avoid scheduling a drive during holidays, popular vacation times, and the middle of the week because the turn out could be quite small. Usually, drives held on the weekend are more successful. When setting the time, have the drive during hours when it’s convenient for the most people to stop by. This could mean holding the drive early in the morning at a community breakfast or later in the afternoon at a sporting event.
After the drive has been established, the coordinator must begin recruiting volunteers. Enlisting the help of others is vitally important; although the drive coordinator is the leader of the event, they should delegate tasks to individuals whom they’ve chosen to help out. The number of volunteers recruited will depend on the anticipated size of the drive; the bigger the event, the more help will be needed. All volunteers must be adequately trained, and the Gift of Life recruitment coordinator will help with training by sending the proper materials and ensuring that the drive organizer is properly trained, as well.
Training is an important step in the recruitment process, and a training session should be held prior to the drive; it is an effective way to educate volunteers about bone marrow and blood stem cell donation and transplantation. The organizer can distribute Gift of Life materials, show the DVD provided in the coordinator’s packet, or give a presentation on the importance of registering to be a potential donor. Educating the volunteers will allow them to properly inform donors why it’s important to join the bone marrow registry.
Another vital aspect of running a donor drive is marketing. Publicity efforts should be targeted towards the ideal audience: generally healthy adults between the ages of 18 to 60. Gift of Life supplies the drive coordinator with a PDF version of a flier for the drive, and it is a fundamental part of marketing. It can be distributed electronically through an e-mail listserv or on social media sites, or it can be printed off and distributed throughout the community. Coordinators can enlist local radio stations to run a public service announcement about the drive and create and submit press releases to local newspapers. Sample PSA’s and press releases are included in the coordinator packet and can be used accordingly. Other types of marketing include placing an ad in local magazines, posting the event on local community calendars and posting boards, as well as sending a personal email to prominent members of the community inviting them to the drive.
“It’s easier than one thinks [to run a drive]. If you have a good heart and want to make a difference in the world, it’s simple to do. We make it easy; we supply a lot of information and help as much as we can,” says Northeast Recruitment Coordinator, Ruth Miller. Gift of Life recruitment coordinators are dedicated to helping all donor drives succeed, and they train all drive coordinators and ensure that any questions or concerns the facilitator might have are answered and addressed before the day of the drive. Gift of Life runs drives all over the United States; if there is an audience and a person willing to run the drive, we’ll do it. If you are interested in running a donor recruitment drive in your area, contact our recruitment department at email@example.com 800-9MARROW.
Running a donor drive is a great experience and I recommend it to anyone wanting to get involved in a lifesaving community service project.
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