Framing the Challenge: Decline or Shift
Not surprisingly the pace of change in how we interact with and support our hospitals continues at a brisk pace: hospitals joining systems, systems merging with systems, and mega-systems forming purchasing umbrellas. Our members are demonstrating creativity in expanding relationships with their customers, partnering to deliver unprecedented value, and forging new networks to extend their reach according to the evolving footprint of their customers. Amid these dramatic responses to an increasingly complex service environment, what responsibility do we have in making our donors aware of these changes?
We all know our donors do not donate because of the cookies in the canteen; the cookies simply aren't that good. Donors always have and always will donate for the patient - the patient they will likely never meet. This connection is powerful and has always struck me as one of the most amazing examples of altruism. But how effective are we in stretching that relationship between the donor and patient to span an increasingly great distance?
I believe there are likely many member centers that have done an excellent job at creating such an elastic connection between the donors and patients in the face of our ever-changing environment. Some have formed an identity without geographic limitations or based on a preference for local vs. national support - a motivation that keeps the visualization of the recipient real and meaningful without attaching a parochial sense of "ours." But I also believe the increasing pressure on type-specific donor recruitment exacerbates the challenge of messaging our cause in a way that resonates with donors, while national coverage characterizes blood use as declining. Regardless of how well we have communicated the need for blood to our donors in the past, the new realities posed by a shifting demand and associated type-specific requirements, coupled with a fluid healthcare delivery environment pose new challenges to proven donor recruitment systems.
The work for donor recruitment professionals has never been more daunting, but at the same time the wealth of support available has never been greater. America's Blood Centers offers an excellent forum for exchanging ideas, inviting perspectives from other industries on new approaches, and facilitating a productive dialogue to design solutions that meet the needs of our hospital customers and the patients they serve. Collaboration will ensure that a successful outcome will never be out of reach.
Dave Green, Board President; firstname.lastname@example.org