If you are ever having a bad day, I’ve found the cure: attend an Association of Donor Recruitment Professionals conference. You’ll be surrounded by hundreds of positive, passionate recruiters and marketers who can shake you out of your doldrums and make you feel great just by being around them. I attended the ADRP Conference last week in St. Louis, MO and the energy was palpable – their stories about how blood donations change lives truly inspired me.
Like most industries today, however, Blood Centers face tough challenges: uncertainty in healthcare regulations, capital investments, a sluggish economy and donor apathy top the list. When you consider that only 38 out of every 100 people can actually give blood, because of medical deferrals, recruitment is even more onerous. Of those 38 potential donors, less than 2 actually donate. After listening to amazing life-saving stories, you wonder how anyone could say no to a recruiter. As it turns out, there are plenty of reasons – and what amazes me most is how recruiters remain optimistic in spite of these difficulties. It must be something in the water. Or perhaps, their blood?
The seminars at the conference addressed donor resistance issues head on. Breakout sessions were held that showed a number of really creative blood drives, including a couple from Jennifer Siegal and Christopher Macri of the Rhode Island Blood Center. They took incentive gifts to an entirely new level and had impressive results. Everyone seemed eager to learn more about the available tools and strategies that can help in the recruitment efforts. In one session I attended, Dr. Moira Carter of the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service, spoke about “Right-Sizing the Message” in her native country. Her comment about “delivering the right message, at the right time, to the right audience” resonated with everyone. If you can deliver a relevant message – one that truly speaks to that individual – you’ll drive increased response.
Engagement and education are the keys to acquiring new donors or convincing lapsed donors to come back. Most centers use telemarketing, mail, email, or mobile and everyone is trying to figure out how to generate social ROI. Combining these channels in a highly integrated fashion, with timely and relevant messages, enables centers to attract both blood products and financial donations more quickly – and save money.
Organizations can use data and modeling tools to discover what their best donors look like. This makes finding new ones that resemble them much easier. If you know what they look like and why they donate, you can engage them more quickly. But you have to first capture their attention – which can be difficult in a noisy marketplace. Engaging donors, lapsed donors and prospective donors requires all of the tools in your bag. Thankfully, technology (also a major theme at the conference) is available to enable marketers to communicate in a powerful and cost-effective manner and learn this important information.
The conference was great and we look forward to continuing the dialogue with our new friends and connections. We are excited to be helping the Blood Bank of Delmarva harness a multichannel approach to spur acquisition and retention efforts. Stay tuned for upcoming webinars and information on how SourceLink’s communication solutions are powering increases in donations and how we can help you define, achieve and surpass your goals.