Lisa Grimmett, blood drive coordinator for the Redding Host Lions, is not your typical coordinator. On more than one occasion, she has issued donors a challenge. “If 10 of you sign up for my drive in the next 15 minutes, I will jump in this hotel pool.” On both occasions, she jumped in the pool in her work clothes.
Grimmett does it because she knows the difference she is making.
“Knowing that what I’m doing, and donors are doing, makes a difference. It only takes a little time to donate, which can equate to a lifetime for someone else,” says Grimmett.
Grimmett started hosting blood drives 14 years ago when a Vitalant account manager came to speak to her Lions Club. “I decided I could do more than donate,” she recalls.
She’s continued to inspire others since then, including her own son. “Ever since he was little and I’d bring him home a Nutter Butter after a drive and tell him how donating is so important, he’d ask me when he could start donating blood,” said Grimmett.
Grimmett’s son turned 16 this year and donated for the first time at a blood drive she organized. “I am so proud that he too is passionate about donating and how important it is,” Grimmett exclaimed.
When it comes to hosting a successful blood drive, Grimmett has several pieces of advice.
For one, never let people self-defer. Encourage someone who thinks they may not be able to donate to speak with someone from Vitalant. You never know, they may be eligible.
She encourages others to be present during the drive. Engaging with and developing relationships with donors will keep them coming back. Most importantly, thank them for showing up. Everyone wants to be appreciated for their efforts.
And lastly, make it a fun experience. “Generate enthusiasm. Be willing to do almost anything to get people to sign up – even if it is cannonballing into a pool in your work clothes,” says Grimmett. “If it is something you are truly passionate about, go all in. If you share your passion with others, and put in the time and effort, you will have successful drives.”
Grimmett’s enthusiasm is contagious and it’s saving lives.