Blood drive sponsorships raise awareness, offer incentives for donations
By Shannon Harsh, The Review, Published January 30, 2013
In a time when there is an urgent need for blood, local drive sponsorships are attempting to increase support.
According to David H. Plate, CEO of the American Red Cross, blood types O Negative and B Negative are especially critical now. "Donors with these specific types are needed now, as hospital distributions of these blood types are outpacing donations, causing an urgent situation," Plate expressed in a letter to the Donor Recruitment Team.
Plate said the Red Cross must collect more than 17,000 pints of blood across the country to keep up with patient need. "Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. In northern Ohio, we depend on volunteer blood donors to help collect 900 pints of blood daily to meet the needs of patients in 57 local hospitals," he said.
According to the Red Cross, despite January being National Blood Donor Month, blood donations are often down this time of year due to cold and inclement weather. Plate added that the severity of the cold and flu season this year has also taken its toll, making it difficult to keep up with blood needs.
"We desperately need donors. The needs right now are overwhelming, and we cannot impress enough on our community the difference an hour of their time and a unit of blood will make for another individual," Michele Quinn, Alliance Community Hospital Blood Drive Committee member, said. "Each unit of blood has the capacity of making a difference for three individuals. Given the extreme need for blood right now, we are asking our community to step up and help to make a big difference for the community."
In addition to donors, Quinn said ACH is always on the look-out for businesses, civic organizations and individuals to partner as a business express sponsor. "It's a great opportunity to team up and work together for the benefit and betterment of our community," she expressed.
Quinn said sponsors help by providing an item for a random drawing among the donors. She said some of the items that have been donated include baskets filled with a variety of gifts and coupons for a percentage off on a purchase at the business.
Sponsorships have three different levels -- corporate, business express and civic. Corporate sponsors host a blood drive on-site, encourage employees to participate and provide items for drawings or other incentives exclusive to that drive. Business express sponsors assist with one of ACH's monthly hospital drives by providing giveaways, raffle items or other incentives for donors. Civic-sponsored drives are similar to business express-sponsored drives, but may also be held for a specific reason, such as in honor of an individual or cause.
In December, Paulus Orthodontics stepped up as the business express sponsor of ACH's monthly blood drive, offering an Apple iPad 2 and a certificate for orthodontic care as prize incentives.
Brenda Miller, treatment coordinator at Paulus Orthodontics, said Drs. Bill and Mike Paulus felt fortunate to have the opportunity to be a part of the blood drive and help the community. "What a personal benefit this is, as well as for the business, to get involved," she said. "It costs nothing but your personal time to do that. When we saw the amount of people who came out and wanted to participate, I can't tell you how rewarding that is."
The drive exceeded its goal of 33 donors by almost double. There were 62 donors -- including four first-time donors -- from which 58 good units were collected. Miller said they expected a normal turnout, but were thrilled with the amount of donors who showed up.
"Our sponsors are a large factor in the success of our drives. Paulus Orthodontics is a great example," Quinn said. "They had a staff member (Miller) with a welcoming smile at the registration table thanking all who came to support such a great cause. And not only did they provide generous raffle items for donors, but the doctors and staff literally rolled up their sleeves to donate blood. They encouraged patients, friends, family and others in the community to donate as well."
Miller said shutting down their office to get personally involved in the drive was a rewarding experience, and they highly recommend sponsorships to other businesses. "If everyone puts forth a little effort into giving back to the community, there's no end to what our whole area can be," she said, adding, "The personal gratification and rewards of knowing your efforts have been appreciated and you are helping to save lives is wonderful."
The next blood drive, to be held from 12:30 to 6 p.m. Feb. 7 in conference room 1-A beside the hospital cafeteria, is being sponsored by H&R Block and Independence Business Supply. Those who donate blood will be entered in a drawing to win a free tax return and a Kindle Fire digital tablet.
Donors must be at least 17 years of age (unless a parent/guardian has provided a signed release for a 16-year old), weigh no less than 110 pounds and be in general good health the day of the donation. A picture ID or blood donor card is also required at registration. Appointments are encouraged by calling the Volunteer Department at 330-596-7821 or 330-596-7822. Those interested in sponsoring a future blood drive may contact Quinn at 330-596-7821.