I figured I'd be able to donate and get home in time to eat dinner before the San Jose Sharks game started at 7:30. Silly me.
Instead, I got a lesson in seeing the "get out the donor" efforts employed by the Blood Banks might be focusing on the wrong part of the equation: Stop spending your resources trying to get rewards for donors (free ice cream, free movie tix, free tshirts) and instead spend your resources making the donation experience efficient and rewarding in itself.
Let's fast forward through the highlights of my blood donation experience tonight:
- I arrived for my appointment at 6:05pm (a good ten minutes early) to find the waiting area packed with others waiting to be processed
- I filled out my usual paperwork and started waiting for my health screen at 6:10pm
- Called for my health screen at 6:50pm, cleared by Tech A by 7pm
- Waited in an empty donation room for 10 minutes before Tech B finally came in to stick me
- Tech B botches the stick and states he has to do the other arm and must get new needle/bag kit.
- Tech B disappears
- I wait with no update for 15 minutes while two other techs (Tech A and Tech C) tend to other later-arriving donors
- At 7:30pm (75 minutes after my appointment time), Tech B finishes with the other donor and comes over to stick me in my (only) good arm
- I finish bloodletting in my usual 5 minutes and am cleaned up and bandaged shortly thereafter
- After 15 minutes resting in the canteen, I'm on the road home at 7:50pm, an hour later than I'd planned when setting the appointment, trying to figure out why I've resolved to do this to myself five more times this year
- Treat your regular donors like repeat customers: thank them for the business and see if there's anything that'll ensure they come back again. I have to imagine it's harder to get a first-time donor in the door than it is to get someone to repeat
- Appointment-holding donors should be given preference over walk-in donors, period
- If you're running behind, respect the donors waiting by acknowledging the delay and giving your best guess as to how far behind you're running
- Don't leave a volunteer donor alone in a room waiting to be stuck by a tech, ever
- Don't pass a donor from one staffer to another without informing the donor. The donor should be the FIRST one informed of a transfer and why its happening
It's not the fact that I had to be stuck twice. It's the fact I felt so taken-for-granted throughout the entire experience. Ample room for improvement. I'll let you know how they do come March.