Traveling Blood Donation: Behind the Scenes of Mobile Blood Drives

January 7, 2015 at 3:56 pm

Mobile bus55,000 units of blood per year – that is the collection goal of Stanford Blood Center. If that sounds like a lot, that’s because it is. What you may not know is that approximately 55% of this goal is met through mobile blood drive collections.

Of course, blood collection at our center locations is also important but while centers are more focused on recruiting donors of certain blood types to meet specific demands, mobile drives focus on collecting as many units as possible. Another primary goal of mobile drives is recruiting first time donors. Our collections staff travels to a variety of locations, making it convenient for people to give blood. Often times, this is how individuals learn about SBC and decide to become first-time donors. The hope is that these new donors then turn into repeat donors.

Mobile drives can be held at an office building, a high school, or even at a neighborhood community center. SBC requires a minimum of 20 sign-ups, so those that can rally at least that many interested individuals together can host a mobile drive.

Mobile charge nurse of 12 years, Sue Belanger, provided some insight as to why she loves working on mobiles:

“Every day is different. Working on mobiles provides us (nurses) insight into Silicon Valley. We can feel what the pulse of the people is because donors come in and tell you a lot about their lives, their jobs and why they donate. They feel good about donating, so it’s very rewarding to be able to interact with them. It is a privilege to be able to go to any one of the businesses we visit and get to know their unique group of people.”

Blood Drive Coordinators

Currently, SBC serves over 460 active accounts that host mobiles drives annually. Many accounts started with a patient need, somebody’s co-worker or family member needing blood after becoming ill, prompting them to hold a blood drive. These folks have then continued to host drives as a way for their group to help others in need, just as their loved one was helped through the generosity of volunteer blood donations.

For those who would like to take on the role of organizing blood drives, there is the opportunity to become a volunteer blood drive coordinator (BDC). This person may be an administrative assistant at a large office, a pastor of a church, or the owner of a small business, so long as they are passionate and committed to helping SBC collect blood. “Working with a volunteer blood drive coordinator is really the cornerstone to the success of mobile blood drives,” explains Karen Hendryk, donor recruitment manager. The BDC works with an SBC account manager to determine the location and logistics of the drive, promoting the drive, facilitating donor sign-ups, and making sure everything is set up for collections staff the day of the drive.

SBC thanks each of our BDCs for all the good they have done, whether they have just completed their first drive or have been involved for ten or more years. The number of people they have helped through these donations is countless.

To arrange a mobile drive at your office or in your community, please call 650-723-8015. For more information, please visit our website.