Blood Drive Benefits for Everyone

Getting Your Congregation Excited to Donate Blood

QUESTION:

We are having a hard time recruiting folks for our congregation’s twice-yearly blood drive. Do you have any suggestions on how we might excite people to be involved in this important health service?

 

ANSWER:

Blood drives are a great way to help others who need any of the various blood products that are obtained this way, and each donation may help up to three people. But did you know that blood donors may be improving their own health as well? You might try making an announcement like this (or putting something like this in your congregation’s newsletter or e-mail blast):

I am here to offer you an opportunity to reduce your risk of heart disease and save a life at the same time. According to research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, blood donors are 88 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack and 33 percent less likely to suffer any type of cardiovascular event. Why is that?

One theory is blood donors are generally more healthy people. They must be free of a number of health conditions to be considered as a donor, so this may be a self-selected healthier group. Another theory is that donating a pint of blood removes a small amount of iron from your circulatory system, which may reduce your risk for hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis).

In addition, you can lose a pound in just a few minutes! What’s not to love about this way to help save a life (maybe even your own)?

Just a quick note: the need for blood donation rises at certain times of the year, such as summers when schools and colleges who hold blood drives are out of session. And the whole process from your welcoming sign-in to a guilt-free cookie takes only about an hour (and the actual blood draw takes only about 10 minutes).

Try to recruit people to recruit their friends directly. People are more likely to do something if someone asks them directly than if they just read a note about it. Your whole health committee may need to make some personal calls. And you should be equipped to answer a lot of questions. Luckily, the American Red Cross makes the answers to most of those questions readily available on their website. First-time donors may wonder what tests are done during screening, what questions they are asked, whether the process is painful, or how often they can donate blood.

You might also try a theme for your blood drive. Some themes folks have used in the past include holiday themes, seasonal themes, sports themes (think baseball!), nautical, and Mardi Gras, among others. The American Red Cross also has a list of great ideas for blood drive event themes online.

And thanks for your efforts on behalf of all those in the communities you serve!

Excerpt from Health Ministry Advice for Everyone by Deborah Patterson.

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