It can be a challenge sometimes to recruit donors and volunteers. The following section offers innovative, fresh ideas to help promote your blood drive and boost participation.
Partner with a business in your community.
- Approach a restaurant for a Student Special the day of a blood drive when students present their student ID. A great idea is a hearty breakfast that will provide students with the protein they need before blood donation.
- Partner with a grocery store or caterer to bring fruit, cereal and breakfast bars into the cafeteria for breakfast before school.
- Offer discount coupons as an added bonus for participants in the blood drive.
Involve your Booster Club or Parent Teacher Organization.
- Ask your Red Cross representative for a news release that can be placed in a parent newsletter.
- Actively involve parents in reminding their students to donate blood and to eat well before donation. Your Red Cross representative can help with information for a letter to parents or for a telephone script if you already have a phone tree in your PTO.
- Invite your parent organizations to provide breakfast before school for students and to make sandwiches for the canteen area at the blood drive.
Use this as practical experience for your students.
- Have an art class create the posters and banners for the blood drive and for reminders to eat well before donation. Be sure to give students examples of what a “good breakfast” means.
- Have a business or economics class create a marketing plan for your blood drive. Work with local business people to help frame and execute the plan. It may include:
- Who is our audience?
- How do we motivate them?
- How do we reach them?
- How successful were we?
- Involve your Family and Consumer Sciences classes in providing students with healthy snacks.
- Breakfast before the blood drive.
- Sandwiches in canteen and health snacks (celery with peanut butter, bread and jam, etc.).
- Students can practice cooking skills and learn lessons in nutrition to ensure donors eat a healthy meal or snack before donating blood.
Use your school media.
Do you have a school newspaper, web site, radio station or an in-house television studio? Use these vehicles to not only recruit blood donors but to remind students how important it is to eat well.
Find a recipient of blood products within your school.
Work with your donor recruitment representative to use that story as a recruitment tool.
Combine your blood drive with another Red Cross service.
- Collect items to pack American Red Cross Comfort Kits for disaster victims.
- Write and send notes to military personnel. Your Red Cross representative can help put you in touch with the right people to make this possible.
Create a Blood Club.
- Challenge students to join the Blood Club by donating blood.
- Track their donations.
- Recognize their achievement when they reach a milestone (e.g., three donations). Check with your Red Cross representative on appropriate prizes or recognition ideas.
- Create a “Wall of Donors” by hanging a paper blood drop with each donor’s name.
Use reminders of the blood drive goal and progress.
- Post a totals board (it can be as easy as a wipe-off board on an easel) in a high-traffic area to let your students know what the goal is and how many units they’ve donated so far. In addition, the sign could be used before the drive to let students know how many sign-ups the school has so far.
Hold a contest or initiate a challenge among groups.
- Challenge another school in the community.
- Create a challenge between classes or departments.
- Encourage people who are unable to donate blood to bring in a canned food item for a local food pantry or supplies for a local shelter.
Think outside the box.
- Have a contest for the most original and effective recruitment/reminder tactic or challenge a group of students to come up with the tool that would remind them to eat and sleep well before donations.
- Signs in bathroom stalls?
- A skit by drama students at a school assembly?
- The school mascot mingling with students before school with reminder cards about eating well before donating blood?
- Reminder screen savers in school computer labs?