Improving the Fill Rate for Blood Donor Ambassador Volunteers at the American Red Cross in Douglas County, NE
Emuron, Tammie L.
The partner organization for this Capstone Project was the American Red Cross of Nebraska-Iowa. The Red Cross is the largest supplier of life-saving blood products in the U.S. Douglas County, home to Omaha, is a major contributor through over 200 monthly blood drives. Volunteers are crucial to the success of these blood drives, and a key volunteer role is that of Blood Donor Ambassador (BDA). BDAs facilitate a smooth event and a positive blood donor experience, while helping to minimize costs and maximize blood production. Unfortunately, there has been a shortage of BDAs for Douglas County over the past several years, leading to unfilled shifts and burnout among existing BDAs, and an adverse impact on blood production. The purpose of this Capstone Project was to gain a deeper understanding of the need for BDAs in Douglas County, the organizational and individual factors that may be facilitating or inhibiting their recruitment and retention, and the segments of prospective volunteers that have high potential to be well-suited for and interested in the role. The study design was informed by a review of the relevant literature, and by a conceptual framework which built on Haski-Leventhal & Bargal’s (2008) Volunteer Stages and Transitions Model (VSTM). It included the collection of existing data elements, as well as collection of original data through semi-structured interviews with relevant ARC staff and current BDAs, and an open-ended questionnaire from Douglas County BDAs. Findings from analysis of this data included identification of four main facets of the need for BDAs in Douglas County; several prominent organizational and individual factors that facilitate or inhibit BDA recruitment and retention; and prospective volunteer segments that fall in the top, high, and medium tiers of potential, in terms of fit for and interest in the role. These findings informed recommendations for improving the BDA fill rate in Douglas County.