Running an Escapade Blood Drive

Mahlon Stacy, 6/2014

DOVES ran a Red Cross Blood Drive at the 2014 Escapade in Goshen, Indiana. This page will describe the steps taken to make this happen, should another drive be planned.

1. Designate a project coordinator. Once the DOVES board decided to use a blood drive at the Escapade as a promotional event to make DOVES more visible, Mahlon Stacy offered to take on the project. The project was begun 7 months ahead of the event.

2. Find the RC Blood Services office for the intended location. Track down the Red Cross Blood Services office that covers the location for the drive. For Goshen, we asked the Elkhart chapter we worked with for training who we should contact. They located a name in the Goshen RC office, Marla Miller, and we were contacted that person. (Keep in mind that Blood Services works with partners like companies and churches to provide blood drives all the time, so this is not an unusual request).

3. Determine the resources needed. Ideally, the blood drive will take place inside a building with adequate space. In the case of an Escapade, it's possible that Blood Services has already had a blood drive in the designated location. For Goshen, this was the 4H Fairgrounds, and RC and the Fairgrounds staff already had worked together at the site. RC suggested an indoor location they had used previously. Given the time of year (May) they expected that air conditioning would likely be needed.

4. Contact the event organizers. We located Escapade Director (Molly and Bob Pinner) through the Escapees web site. We requested permission to hold the blood drive 6 months ahead of the Escapade, which we received after a couple months. The Escapade directors informed us that there was no inside space available, as the Escapade would be using all of it. Once we received permission from Escapees, the blood drive was a GO.

5. Review the resources with Blood Services and the Event. Since no interior space was available, Marla Miller offered to use a Bloodmobile, and found a time to schedule it within the time frame of the Escapade. The Escapade Director and the Fairgrounds Office designated a location for the Bloodmobile that would be visible but not interfere with other Escapade activities, and this was coordinated with Blood Services. We also requested a blood drive sign-up table during the registration at the beginning of the Escapade, on Monday morning. We discovered, too late, that there would be early registration on Sunday as well.

6. Determine and plan for DOVE supplied resources. DOVES would need to be on hand during the Escapade registration and during the blood drive to welcome appointments and walk-ins. RC now works on appointments for blood donations, Plan for DOVE volunteers for the entire registration times, Sunday (10:00-2:00) and Monday (9:00-2:00) to make appointments for blood donations. Also plan for DOVE volunteers to staff the welcome table during ther drive. In Goshen, we ran the drive from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. That time frame allows up to 40 donors, depending on the staff available to collect blood.

For Goshen, we enrolled a DOVE blood drive manager (Jodie Scales) to oversee the activities during the Escapade. But the project coordinator could serve this function as well.

Since the Bloodmobile had no space inside to welocme donors, we arranged to borrow a Red Cross Logo 10'x10' EZ-Up shelter to place outside the bloodmobile, for further DOVE/RC visibility. A table and 4 chairs were supplied by the fair office.

7. Promote the Blood Drive. Blood Services will provide appointment sign up sheets, a web site to manage sign-ups, and posters to promote the blood drive on site. The manager handled the sign up sheets. Now that the location, times and who to contact were determined, we sent a blast to the DOVES about 30 days before the Escapade inviting them to sign up to give blood during the event.

The Escapade will promote the event, but we did not get the info to them early enough. The Escapade promotions from Escapees start 5-6 months before the Escapade. To include blood drive info in the Escapade web sites posted 4 months before the event, we had to provide blood drive info 5 months before the event. To show up in the Escapade newsletters that started about 60 days before the event, a news release needed to be delivered at least 90 days before the event. In Goshen, we finally manged to have a newletter announcement 1 day before early registration. It did not include info that donors were invited to pre-register, which prompted some complaints from SKPs.

8. At the Escapade.

Promotion. Blood drive posters should be placed prior to the beginning of parking and registration for early arrivals on Sunday. Arrange for announcements during the opening session and the evening announcements prior to the drive.

Registration. DOVE staff with appointment sheets should be available at the Blood Drive registration table during all the Escapade registration periods.

Day before the drive. It was noticed that cars were parked in the location for the bloodmobile on the day before the drive. In coordination with the Fairgrounds office, orange cones were placed to prevent parking there on the day of the drive.

The EZ-UP was retrieved from the chapter.

DOVE volunteers were enrolled to help at the welcome table.

Day of the drive. Bloodmobile arrives and parked (In case the blood drive is held inside a building, Blood Services staff will arrive early to set up donor areas as needed)

EZ-UP set up before appointments start. Welcome table staffed before appointments start.

Welcome donors for appointments, handle walk-ins as appropriate. If appointments are not full, schedule walk-ins at an open time later in the day.

After the last donor, fold and store EZ-UP, return tables and chairs. Profusely thank the Blood Services staff for their efforts.

Arrange for an announcement during the evening session to report how many pints of blood were collected, thanking the Escapees for their donation, and make sure DOVES is acknowledged for their efforts.

After the drive. Suggested to post a sign in the ROW booth indicating how much blood was collected.