Blood Drive Public Relations Plan

The Local Section Public Relations Guide provides a very detailed description of how to publicize a program including the suggested timeline below.

Blood Drive Program Overview

A local section can sponsor a blood drive through the American Red Cross.  Planning such an activity requires working closely with the American Red Cross blood center to arrange either a Blood Mobile visit to a company or university location or transporting donors to a central collection site if one is available in your community.  A successful (well-attended) blood drive offers an opportunity to gain local publicity for the chemistry enterprise in general and the local section in particular.

Blood Drive Talking Points

  • People feel great about saving lives, so blood drives can boost morale, support team-building, and demonstrate that your organization cares about the community.
  • One out of three people will use blood products at one time in their life. In that instance you, your family, and your friends will need the support of volunteer blood donors.
  • By hosting blood drives, ACS members and affiliates can make blood donation convenient, provide essential support to patients in your community, and help the organization become more civically minded.
  • A 2002 survey conducted by the Council on Foundations found that customers are three times more likely to be loyal to companies that they believe give back to the community, and the employees of philanthropy-minded organizations are four times more likely to be loyal to their employer.

Chemistry is crucial in numerous aspects of blood collection and preservation.

  • The collection bags and tubing are made of plastics – a product of chemical synthesis.
  • Blood is separated into fractions.  Specific chemicals are added to each fraction of blood for preservation and/or to prevent coagulation.  The chemicals are designed to preserve the fraction while not interfering with subsequent tests done on that fraction.
  • The tourniquet used for collection is normally made of latex, a naturally occurring chemical.  Non-latex synthetic chemical tourniquets are manufactured for those who have latex sensitivity.
  • Natural latex gloves are used by collection personnel.  Non-latex synthetic chemical (nitrile) gloves are used for latex sensitive persons.
  • Disinfecting chemicals are used on the puncture site.  Isopropyl alcohol is used followed by betadine (an iodine containing liquid).

PR Timeline

6 months before program begins:

  • Meet with the Red Cross collection facility to determine the site and date or project if there is a Blood Mobile involved or a date for a group donation at a central Red Cross facility. The first contact can be made through the Donor Recruitment Department.
  • Determine the message (service).
  • Determine the audiences (local media, partner’s outlets for media).
  • Prepare materials (media release(s), invitations, signage, t-shirts, online products).

2 weeks before program begins:

  • Inform the public through media outlets (television, radio, newspaper, Internet).
  • Identify the spokesperson and key messages
  • Depending on the news outlet timing send media release.
  • Note: Do not ignore local media.

2 days before program begins:

  • Make follow-up phone calls to the media.

Day of the Event

  • Send summary of the event and photos to the media.
  • Upload summary of the event and photos to the Service Outreach Project (SOP) webpage.

After the Event

  • Send notes of appreciation to participants and organizers.