In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, blood supplies are running low. The American Red Cross reports maintaining a blood supply during ‘normal’ times of 5 days; current supplies are around 2 days. Blood donations dropped during the pandemic ‘stay at home’ period. As the economy and activities are opening up and elective surgeries are being scheduled, demand is increasing. Donations, however, are not. In addition, we have entered hurricane season when demand increases even more.
To help increase blood supplies across the state, consider sponsoring and holding a blood drive in your county. Blood drives are partnerships between the community and the blood organizations. These organizations include the American Red Cross, local blood banks, and local health care organizations such as hospitals or medical groups. Make your first call to one of these local organizations to discuss your interest in sponsoring a blood drive and their requirements for working with sponsors.
- American Red Cross https://www.redcrossblood.org/hosting-a-blood-drive/learn-about-hosting/how-hosting-a-blood-drive-works/apply-to-host-a-blood-drive.html or call your local office of the American Red Cross.
- Locate the nearest blood bank or donation center using the American Association of Blood Banks Locator tool at http://www.aabb.org/tm/donation/Pages/Blood-Bank-Locator.aspx
- Contact local hospitals to see if they work with local groups to sponsor blood drives. For example, in Central Texas, Baylor Scott & White utilizes a mobile blood center to conduct blood drives.
As a blood drive sponsor/partner, here are some of the responsibilities you will likely have.
- Find a place. The first step to planning a blood drive is to find a suitable location, such as a public square or a community center. A few points to keep in mind: a comfortable waiting area for donors with adequate space to maintain physical distancing, likely weather conditions on the day and easy access to parking or public transportation.
- Contact your local RED CROSS or OTHER PARTNER. Hosting a blood drive is a partnership. Get in touch to schedule your drive and find out specific information and instructions from your partner organization. Work with your blood organization partner to set a realistic goal for your Blood Drive.
- Do your research. As the blood donation drive host, you’re responsible for setting up shop. That means providing equipment such as tables, chairs and trash cans, along with drinks and refreshments. See the Resource section below for helpful guides.
4. Recruit volunteers. You’ll need help on the day of the blood drive, so once you’ve got a date and place set it’s time to recruit some volunteers. Start with your Master Wellness Volunteers, TEEA clubs, 4-H members and families, and other Extension volunteers. Due to COVID-19, many blood drives are currently operating via appointments only. After visiting with the American Red Cross or other blood organization partner, you may need volunteers to assist in contacting donors.
5. Advertise the Blood Drive. Last but not least – time to advertise the event to your community. Email blasts and social media posts are a cheap, easy way to get the word out about your blood donation drive. Flyers can be posted in community centers, laundromats, grocery stores, convenience stores etc. Send announcements to local churches and ask for a mention in their Sunday bulletins and notices. You will need more donors than your goal number to reach that goal. For every 100 donors, only about 40 are able to actually donate.
- Remember to use COVID-19 in your TeXas reports on this activity.
- Once you have a date set for your drive, please enter it into this Google form https://forms.gle/8gB6hmrPxTjvz2Ad7 .
- Following the completion of your Blood Drive, please report results using the following Google Form https://forms.gle/vQXu6CETSnkEasny7 .
American Red Cross
Hosting A Blood Drive FAQs https://www.redcrossblood.org/faq.html#hosting-a-blood-drive
Blood Program Leader Tool Kit https://www.redcrossblood.org/hosting-a-blood-drive/manage-my-blood-drive/blood-drive-coordinator-toolkit.html
Tips and Tools for Running a Successful Blood Drive https://www.redcrossblood.org/hosting-a-blood-drive/manage-my-blood-drive/blood-drive-coordinator-toolkit/tips-tools-for-recruiting-donors.html
Organize a Blood Drive http://www.aabb.org/tm/donation/Pages/organize.aspx