The winter of 2008 produced unprecedented weather in northern New England. One of the consequences was a dramatic drop in blood collections, as storm after storm passed through the states of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine in January, February and March.
Eventually a 1,500 pint shortfall developed – a shortfall the Northern New England Region was required to make up in order to meet hospital contractual obligations.
Our three state region set about to collect our goal during the spring months and, in addition, to eliminate this major shortfall no later than June 30 by consistently over-collecting. The task required a dramatic shift in thinking outside the norm to “achieve the unachievable.”
The effort required the expertise of not only Donor Recruitment, but key personnel involved in collections, scheduling, marketing and communications as well. This core group worked closely during the spring months, looking at the challenge from a strategic and intentional point of view.
The concept of “business as usual” became merely the foundation upon which all other tactics were based. Little time was spent discussing routine blood drive preparations, such as postcards, telerecruitment calls and so forth.
The key factor leading to the region’s successful annual goal attainment was goal validation. In step one, each Donor Recruitment Manager reviewed every blood drive with their account reps and altered goals to be more realistic. These goals were then reviewed drive by drive by upper management and, finally, by me as CEO to make sure they were well grounded in reality.
Almost as important as goal validation was the daily and weekly monitoring of blood drive collection results to make sure the region was
staying on target. Additionally, upcoming blood drives were looked at during this time period with an eye toward which drives were safe and which were at risk. Managers worked with each account representative on strategies to be immediately put into place to recover any drives not on solid ground. Conversely, drives which had the potential for growth were also identified, with strategies implemented to achieve a greater return on these drives.
Breaking down the overall deficiency into numbers which seemed more attainable, Donor Recruitment management kept everyone appraised of how many units were needed each day, over and above the daily collection goals in May and June, to make the yearly goal and eliminate the 1500 pint deficit – 34.1 per day in May and 41.9 per day in June.
Looking at promotions and giveaways, the region took fixed site sponsorships to another level and did strategic promotions which were tried and true. We became much more strategic with giveaways at drives,
focusing on targeted donor gifts based on the audience, rather than on generic giveaways.
Accountability was also a crucial element to our success. One of the most effective methods of keeping everyone focused, on task and accountable was the scheduling of weekly videoconferences with all Donor Recruitment management, account representatives and various other key staff members. The purpose of these meetings was to get more cross pollination of creative marketing strategies and opportunities, as well as to keep everyone accountable to each other through face to face contact.
As CEO, I asked the tough questions that needed to be asked. Although I am an optimistic person by nature, I did not allow anyone to use the word hope. While this might sound like a contradiction, hearing my staff say they were hoping to make goal just wasn’t enough with such an ambitious undertaking. There was no such thing as “We’ve done everything we can do.” When it seems that way, that’s the time to dig down deeper and find one
the Drop - ADRP’s Quarterly Newsletter Winter 2009 / Page 15