Giving blood can save lives: one pint of donated blood can help as many as three people in need, according to the American Red Cross. While giving blood may not be an option for everyone, as donors must meet eligibility requirements and feel comfortable around needles, anyone can help the cause as a blood drive volunteer.
What Can You Do to Help?
If you can't give blood but still want to volunteer at your local blood drive, there are several options for needle-free ways to participate. From checking in donors and running raffles to providing post-donation refreshments, there are plenty of opportunities to lend a helping hand.
Check out organizations in your area, such as schools, hospitals, and religious groups, that may be looking for volunteers. If you're planning a community blood drive on your own, involve a qualified organization, such as the Red Cross or Lifesource, to handle all of the medical and privacy aspects of the event.
A blood drive volunteer is often needed to help check in donors as they arrive at the drive. Some folks may make appointments in advance—while others will show up on the fly during their lunch break. As a volunteer greeter, you can notify the nurses as their appointments arrive and answer any questions donors may have while they are waiting. You can also provide magazines or books for people to read while they wait. Making the process as enjoyable as possible will encourage donors to participate again in your community's next blood drive.
Blood Drive Barista
After donors give blood, they are encouraged to sit down for a few minutes to have something small to eat and drink. Juice, crackers, cookies, water, and other snacks and drinks should be available. If you want to help out at a community blood drive, consider volunteering to donate snacks and drinks. (You can even shop for them too.)
You can also offer your services as an on-site host of sorts, encouraging the donors to stay for a snack and providing them some tasty choices. If you've ever given blood yourself, you might also recall how hard it is to open a tiny juice box with one hand tingling! During snack time, you can also observe donors to ensure they aren't feeling lightheaded before they leave the blood drive. Notify the on-site nurses if you think someone might be feeling faint or disoriented.
Blood doesn't need to be the only donation received at a community blood drive — the event can also serve as a fundraiser for a local hospital or charitable organization. A split-the-Pot fundraiser is a great way to generate money while motivating participants with the possibility of a cash prize. You can run a split-the-pot fundraiser by selling raffle tickets for a dollar a piece for the chance to win half of the grand total. The winning ticket gets 50 percent of the money raised, while the other half goes towards your fundraising organization. It's the very definition of a win-win.
Raffle prizes are another great way to incorporate fundraising into a blood drive. Ask local businesses to donate goods or gift cards to support the cause. You can either raffle off each prize individually or put them together into attractive baskets. All of the money raised from selling raffle tickets can go toward your blood drive charity of choice. If you get exceptionally luxurious prizes, a silent auction is another good way to generate monetary donations at a blood drive.
Community blood drives seem to pop up after emergencies, but donations are needed throughout the year. Many hospitals face blood shortages—especially during flu season and busy summer months—and hosting a drive can do a lot of good for a lot of people. Don't let a fear of needles or medical restrictions stop you from being involved in a community event. Simply volunteering your time can also help a blood drive become a rousing success.
What are some creative things you do in the name of community service? Let us know on Twitter!
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This article was brought to you by Tom's of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom's of Maine.
Why It’s Good
Giving blood saves lives, but donating isn't an option for everyone. From running raffles to providing refreshments, there are several needle-free ways to be a blood drive volunteer.