Host a blood drive

Hosting a blood drive is an enriching and great way to show your support for your community, create a team-focused activity, and help patients in our state who need blood. BloodCenter of Wisconsin wants to help you boost participation and awareness for your blood drive to make it successful and rewarding.

If you and your organization have never sponsored a blood drive, consider that patients in local hospitals use about 800 units of blood every day, and that these patients rely heavily on the participation and leadership of sponsors in our community. About half of that amount is collected at our 12 donor centers, but the other half must be collected through local drives organized by:
  • Businesses
  • High schools and colleges
  • Community and civic organizations
  • Faith-based organizations

Depending on space and other considerations, you can host a blood drive either at your organization’s site or on our Bloodmobile Bus. When thinking about hosting a blood drive, you may have questions about planning. Of course, the more time you give yourself the better, but see the blood drive planning timeline checklist for a list of what you can do to ensure a successful drive.

Organizing a blood drive is easy. Your BloodCenter of Wisconsin representative can walk you through the process. If you are interested in learning more, call 1-877-BE-A-HERO (1-877-232-4376) or fill out the blood drive interest form.

If you already are a drive coordinator you can manage your drive(s) by using our Drive Coordinator Application

What types of organizations hold blood drives?Many different types of organizations have banded together to host successful BloodCenter of Wisconsin blood drives. Wouldn’t you like to join them and help patients in your community? To find out more about having your business or community organization host a blood drive, call 1-877-BE-A-HERO (1-877-232-4376) or complete and submit a blood drive interest form. More information is also available in our Host a Blood Drive FAQs.

Business-sponsored blood drives
1-3-1_Anne_bus_212x160More than half of BloodCenter’s mobile blood drives are hosted by businesses. As a business leader, you can showcase your company’s commitment to the community by hosting a blood drive and encouraging blood donation among your employees. The blood collected will go to help neighbors, friends, maybe even co-workers because BloodCenter supplies 100% of the blood to more than 50 community hospitals.

Many businesses in Wisconsin hold regular blood drives. These drives range from a commitment of 20 donors to 200+ donors. They can be held on-site at your place of business, or on our Bloodmobile Bus which can accommodate up to 50 donors over a 5-hour period.

School-sponsored blood drives
1-3-1_Uma_School_212x160High schools and colleges all over Wisconsin host regular blood drives and represent a significant portion of all mobile blood drives. Young adults represent the future of blood donation. Hosting a drive at your high school or college can help to shape a new generation, and create lots of fun as well! Encouraging blood donation saves lives and can develop leadership skills among the students coordinating the drive. BloodCenter staff will help walk you through the process of setting up a successful drive. High schools are also invited to participate in our Ultimate Share honor cord program and scholarship.

To learn more about how we support and encourage students to become involved in BloodCenter’s mission through blood drives and activities, go to our For Students section.  You'll find additional information about our Ultimate Share Program that is designed to recognize students, faculty and staff for their support of BloodCenter.

Community-sponsored blood drives
1-3-1_Pam_Comm_212x160BloodCenter of Wisconsin works closely with many community and civic groups to organize blood drives. Donors are more likely to donate blood when they feel comfortable and are with people they already know. Community drives can also provide a very powerful and rewarding experience for participants. Many different types of community-sponsored groups have banded together to host successful blood drives including:
  • Community or citywide drives
  • Drives hosted by civic organizations, such as Lions or Elks clubs
  • Faith-based organizations that encourage members to help save lives
  • Moms’ groups or other special interest groups that host a drive to honor or commemorate an individual
Blood drive planning timeline to help you organize
An important part of hosting a blood drive is planning. Of course, the more time you give yourself the better, but this checklist can help you plan ahead to ensure a successful drive:

1. 8-12 weeks before your blood drive
  • Secure date and time of your drive.
  • Select an appropriate site and confirm the choice of facilities with your BloodCenter representative.
  • Confirm your blood drive donor goal with your representative as well.
2. 6-8 weeks before your blood drive
  • Meet with your BloodCenter representative to discuss committee development, drive ideas, and select promotional materials.
3. 4-8 weeks before your blood drive
  • Set up your committee and determine how many volunteers will join you.
  • Meet with your organization's leadership to get their support and plan how to show their involvement.
  • Meet, educate and motivate your committee members.
  • Determine a recruitment and communications plan. Your BloodCenter representative can assist you with this.
  • Begin using BloodCenter materials and create communications: e-mails, patient stories, press releases which can be found at our Tools for Drive Coordinators.
4. 1-3 weeks before your blood drive
  • Start asking people for their commitment to donate and schedule appointments.
  • Hold weekly committee check-in meetings.
  • Check into the online schedule provided to you by your BloodCenter representative
  • Use your promotional tools: e-mails, table tents, posters, etc.
  • Share inspirational DVD provided by BloodCenter representative.
  • Check-in with your BloodCenter representative and update him/her on how the drive appointments are going, and if there is anything else you need to ensure a successful drive.
5. Week of your blood drive
  • Reconfirm any logistics and remind and thank donors personally. 

6. Day of your blood drive
  • Have tables and chairs ready and the rest of the room cleared.
  • Have the temperature set to 70 degrees or slightly lower.
  • Meet with the BloodCenter charge person at the start of the drive to confirm everything is ready to go.
  • Contact any donors who are 15 minutes late for their appointment.

7. After your blood drive

  • Send thank you notes to donors, organization leadership and your committee.
  • Include drive totals in your correspondence and encourage donors to continue donating at BloodCenter donation centers or at another upcoming mobile drive. They can call 1-877 BE A HERO for locations and appointment times.
  • Hold a team meeting to solicit feedback on the event.
  • Share your organization’s results with the rest of the organization. It’s a time to celebrate! Review drive results with your BloodCenter representative and set a date for your next successful drive.

Fill out our blood drive interest form to get startedHosting a blood drive has great benefits — not only for patients in our community — but for your organization as well. By hosting a blood drive, you will be helping accident and burn victims, surgery patients, leukemia patients, premature babies, and many others.

Blood really is the gift of life. To be contacted by a BloodCenter of Wisconsin staff member and learn more, please call 1-877-BE-A-HERO (1-877-232-4376), or fill out the online form.

Useful tools for blood drive coordinatorsThank you for contributing the time and effort to host a blood drive with BloodCenter of Wisconsin. Participating with us means that your organization provides tremendous benefits to people who need blood, including accident victims, cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, premature babies, patients undergoing surgery and many others in need of blood transfusions.

These tools are available to help you prepare for your blood drive and ensure a successful event:

Advertising templates to use to promote your drive:

Manage your drive(s) by using our Drive Coordinator Application .

Hosting a blood drive FAQsWhy should my organization host a blood drive?
Hosting a blood drive has several direct benefits:

  • Your donations with BloodCenter of Wisconsin are the only source of blood for local hospitals. Everyone in your group – from organizers to donors – can feel good about helping patients who depend on receiving that blood.
  • Hosting a blood drive can be a very visible extension of your organization’s values because it shows that you are working together for the good of the community.
  • Individuals who work together to plan the drive can benefit from the leadership experience it provides.
  • Some organizations find that hosting a blood drive brings their entire group together because there is an opportunity to rally around a very real and important community cause.

What are the steps in hosting a blood drive?
Our blood drive planning timeline checklist offers a checklist of what you should do and when, but here’s an overview to ensure that your blood drive will go as smoothly as possible:
  1. First, contact BloodCenter of Wisconsin (1-877-BE-A-HERO) or complete a blood drive interest form and discuss possible dates and the size of your group. If you plan to host the drive at your facility our staff will stop by to look at the room you have selected to ensure there is adequate space, lighting, outlets, etc.
  2. Then, we recommend forming a committee to divide duties such as logistics, recruiting and decorating. BloodCenter staff will provide you with checklists, posters, table tents and other materials and will remain in contact with you to answer any questions.
  3. On the day of the drive, BloodCenter’s mobile crew will arrive before the start of your drive to set up all equipment. After your drive has ended, our crew will break down all equipment and transport it away.

How many donors do I need to have a blood drive?
A minimum of 20 donors is needed to host a blood drive. Our largest drives host over 200 donors. Most smaller drives are held over a 4-hour period; larger drives can stretch over a longer time.

Do I need to have the drive at my organization’s offices? We don’t have the space
BloodCenter of Wisconsin’s Bloodmobile Bus is often used by organizations. The Bus can accommodate up to 50 donors over a 5-hour period. It requires sufficient parking space and access to restrooms. BloodCenter staff can discuss this option in more detail with you.

How far in advance should I schedule a blood drive?
Ideally, planning 8 to 12 weeks before the actual date works best. This gives you time to organize and recruit, helping to ensure a successful drive. Smaller windows of time can be accommodated. Again, this is something you can discuss with our BloodCenter staff.

What’s the most important thing in ensuring a successful drive?
Getting donors committed to giving is absolutely critical. Studies have shown that the main reason people haven’t donated blood is that no one asked them. Forming a committee and personally asking people — even signing them up for donation times — is the best way to ensure that you’ll achieve your goal. If there is someone from the organization with a personal story about needing blood, ask if they are willing to share their story. Real stories can create a personal connection and provide further motivation for blood donation.

How much time should donors set aside to donate blood?
It takes about 60 minutes from registration to refreshments in the café. The actual blood donation time is approximately 10 minutes.

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