A. The importance of a Voluntary Blood Donor Organization
An ideal model for the foundation of a safe blood supply is a committed group of healthy, altruistic blood donors who have been recruited by a well-organized and dynamic blood donor organization. Countries that have efficient voluntary blood donor organization are able to sustain a constant inflow of donors.
The goal of securing a sufficient number of voluntary, non-remunerated blood donors for a regular and safe supply of blood has not yet been achieved. A blood donor organization an be critical in ensuring that there is a sufficient blood supply. This fact sheet outlines how to set up and administer such an organization in your community. Who should be involved? A few highly enthusiastic volunteers should be found, preferably at the local level, should be indentified to forma motivation body
While medical doctors are experts in their field, they often have little or no experience in marketing, public advocacy, media strategy, fund-raising, or law. It is in these areas that the expertise of volunteers can be especially helpful. The volunteers should be supported by an adequate budget that will cover logistical expenses and also pay for outreach campaigns.
The Role of volunteers within a blood donor organization should include:
Maintaining close contact with local blood centres to ascertain the need of donors.
Urging lawmakers to enact legislation, where necessary, to prohibit the practice of paid or family replacement donation.
Working closely with health authorities to establish the necessary guidelines for blood donation – for instance maintaining the anonymity of both donor and patient-and ensuring that blood centres are sufficiently modern and efficient.
Experience shows it is difficult to retain donors if collection facilities are shoddy and blood centre staff inefficient and badly trained.
Enhancing donors- experience by greeting, guiding and accompanying them throughout their donation experience.
Helping educate current and potential blood donors about the crucial service they can provide by avoiding high risk behavior.
Urging other voluntary organization – such as religious bodies, youth organization, labour unions and sports teams – to support and participate in the movement
Forming partnerships with curriculum coordinators of schools and colleges so blood donor information becomes part of their educational programmers.
When a number of local donor organizations have been established, a national organization of voluntary, unpaid blood donors can be created. The national organization should have a board that would include a medical advisor, a coordinator of information activities, and a legal expert who can advise on legislative matters. The national donor organization should, at an early date, establish a comprehensive database of local blood donor organization and seek funds "preferable form public sources" for the establishment of a national office. These funds would be used to facilitate:
Participation in exchange visits and National Donor federation meetings.
The purchase of office equipment, computers, and a phone line with a permanent and easily recognized phone-number.
The production of press packets to target media and regular newsletters for public distribution.
The purchase of software to create on-line campaign materials and recruitment tools.
The development of a logo, T-shirts and other recruitment material geared toward attacting new donors.
Training seminars for new volunteers.
Developing a strong donor culture and efficient donor organization may take years, considerable patience and work. But the rewards "a network of efficient blood donor organization and a regular and safe blood supply" are well worth the effort.
D. Strategies to encourage repeated blood donation.
The National Blood Transfusion Council along with State Blood Transfusion Councils with support from IRCS or NGOs has to carry out extensive work for donor motivation and retention. Below are some of the findings and methods that can help recruit and retain blood donors.
Session availability encourages donation.
Donor frequency and donor retention are largely determined by session availability.
All donors should be processed promptly. If people are forced to wait for unacceptable periods of time they perceive that staff to be inefficient. If beds are empty while people are waiting to donate, negative impressions tend to be reinforced.
Good treatment of donors promotes retention: donors must be treated as individuals. The manner in which thanks, rewards and recognition are offered has an effect on retention, as does giving more bedside care to first-time donors.
The aura of a professional and organized “medical” environment is also essential to maintain motivation. Donors tend to be put off if they have unpleased experiences, such as failed puncture of the vein or bruises or double pricks.
Continued reinforcement keeps donors involved: Donors should constantly be made to feel good about belonging to a select group of people. They must be educated about the need of blood, as the knowledge that blood donation is essential to prevent deaths is a strong motivation.
Written communication can be used to inform and educate but must appear in jargon-free language and not give the perception of wastage of blood through over collection.
Repeat blood donors perceive that there is a constant need for blood and approach blood donation with feelings of duty, responsibility and pride. They tend to feel that the service they receive from staff is professional, caring and appreciative, and are more willing to forgive or ignore any negative experiences they might have had.