United Blood Services

Date August 19, 2008

A couple of years ago I got an email at work from someone named Sharon from United Blood Services. They needed a new sponsor at my high school to organize blood drives. What was I getting myself into? I agreed immediately that the National Honor Society would sponsor this. Heck, it’s blood. It’s important. We all use it every second of our lives.

The first kickoff at Chase Field was very odd to me, and I didn’t Sharon liked me at all. I had already run my first drive and didn’t know what I was doing. Quickly I started getting people signed up to give blood. Slowly we began to get a ton of people to donate. Suddenly, Sharon tells me that we have a chance of beating everyone in our region. I began to push, and guess what? We did. We won. We were awarded a banner at Chase Field ON THE FIELD. It was pretty cool.

Going into the second year of blood I struggled. Frankly, I knew how important the blood drives were, but I was burned out. I was recruiting and inputting (most) myself, and I had to give up something for my sanity. The day before drives were the worse for me because I just felt the stress. My friend Erica was my cheer leader and I stuck it out. I resigned myself that we wouldn’t take the win this year. See the regions are based on total number of senior students, and this year we were in the same division as Highland High School. We’d been close with Highland and their sponsor has always been very amicable with me, but now we were up against each other. It was never really an issue. In the end Highland won. Actually I later discovered they won the division and way more.

This year, it was really a fluke what happened. Our student coordinator who I trained all last year was going to miss the first three weeks of school. He took it upon himself to assign himself a co-coordinator who grabbed the reigns and ran with it. She built a committee, assigned biweekly meetings, and took off.

Friday was our first blood drive of this year. They had us scheduled at 208 appointments, and they always calculate that down. As the team began recruiting and putting people into the computer, I sat back and was told not worry about it. Friday morning I got a call from Sharon who said we had way more people that expected (they always expect a certain percent of no shows), and we had to cut off walk-ins. After a bit I got a chance to head to the gym and we were packed! People were just piled into the gym. The kids told me they didn’t need more for anything and sent me back to class.

Today we had Sharon and her manager come out to debrief. They announced that we had 135% of our donations! We had more than 35 people beyond our 208, a minute number of noshows and a lower deferral rate than usual. Sharon and her boss, Jeanette, were duly impressed with the team. They were excited as was I.

After a great meeting with the kids, I walked the ladies out. I mentioned that after not doing well last year, our goal this year was 500 donations. Sharon said everything has changed with the new AZ law that allowed 16 year olds to donate. My response then was that our goal is now 600. Sharon was speechless, and Jeanette smiled politely on her way out the door. Can the kids do it? I know they can.