How You Can Help!
Here's a poster that some awesome folks signed at a drive in Hong Kong!
Many thanks to all of you who want to help me and other Asians needing bone marrow transplants. I know a lot of you have already taken the ball and started to run with it. Others have asked for suggestions, so here goes:
Organizing A Drive
It's easy and effective and you can do it in your church, school, workplace, even the local mall. Whether the drive is big or small, each person that you register makes a difference. All it takes is some coordination on your part and the local donor center does the rest!
Here are seven easy steps:
1. Get informed
Find out as much as you can about bone marrow transplants, donor registration, and about the need to register more Asian and other non-white donors. Read this ENTIRE website. Your local donor center or donor recruitment organization can provide more information and answer any questions you might have.
2. Determine the date, time, and place of the drive
Choose a location or organization where you can reach lots of Asians. Ideally, you want to start where you have personal contacts, for example, your school, church, or workplace. If you don't already belong to an organization where there are lots of Asians, be creative! Drives can be held at cultural festivals, marketplaces, even baseball games. You can also contact Asian community groups in your area and see if they will help. Once you have identified a host organization, work with them to determine the best site, date, and time for a drive. September is the best time to help Alan and in the US it also happens to be National Bone Marrow Donor Awareness Month!
3. Contact your local donor center
Your local donor center or recruitment organization will help you organize the drive. They can make presentations to the organization hosting the drive about the registration and donation process, and help train volunteers to work the day of the drive. They'll make the arrangements for blood drawing, lab testing, medical review, registration forms, and educational materials. (In the US, for materials in languages other than English, contact one of the donor recruitment organizations.) Your local donor center will also provide the necessary medical staff on the day of the drive.
4. Coordinate logistics of the drive
Make sure that you confirm with everyone involved all arrangements regarding the date, time, and place of the drive. There's nothing worse than confusion about when and where a drive is taking place! Click here to let us know the details of your local drive, so we can put it on the web site!
When you have taken care of these things, clarify with your local donor center what they will provide and what you are responsible for coordinating, then recruit some volunteers to help you. Project how many people you expect to register. In advance of the drive, you will need several people to publicize the drive extensively, to contact the media, and to make any necessary preparations. On the day(s) of the drive, your needs will vary according to the size and location of the drive, but plan on recruiting at least 3 volunteers to staff the area at all times (you can break the time into shifts, but be sure to allow one hour before and one hour after the drive for set up and clean up).
5. Generate publicity and educational materials
A successful drive requires effective publicity and education before and during the drive. Your donor center or recruitment organization can provide you with good general educational materials, and they may also be able to help you with flyers, posters, leaflets, press materials, and even free helium balloons! You can plaster an area with flyers, go door-to-door, do presentations, call people, get on the radio, hire a pilot to do some skywriting--anything you can come up with! Think big and use your imagination, but act quickly! To download a flyer you can customize for your drive, click on the .pdf icon ->. To download Adobe Acrobat to view and print the flyer, click here -> . Click here for information about how to organize a media campaign. And here for a sample press release you can use to publicize your drive.
6. Have the drive
On the day(s) of the drive, you should know well in advance what arrangements have been made with the local donor center or recruitment organization and what you need to do.
7. Follow up
After the drive, be sure to thank your volunteers and any individuals or organizations that assisted you, including your local donor center. Call them or send them a short note telling them you appreciated their work and that the drive was a huge success. Let them know how many people registered and if there was any relevant media coverage (you may even want to include press clippings).
Be sure to let us know how things fared, and don't forget to pat yourself on the back!!
Congratulations and thank you for your help!
Organize a Media Campaign
Help publicize Alans story and get the word out about upcoming drives in your area! Media folks are often eager for stories like this; sometimes all it takes is a simple phone call. Think of all the people you can reach! Just follow these six easy steps:
1. Get informed
Find out as much information as possible about Alan, about bone marrow transplants, registration, and the need to register more Asians and other non-whites as donors. Read this ENTIRE web site and/or contact your local donor center or recruitment organization. They can provide you with educational materials and answer any questions you may have.
2. Prepare a press release
Click here for a sample press release which you can modify to include local events and contact information. Ideally, you should print it on organizational letterhead, but otherwise, just make sure it looks polished and professional! Be sure to display the following information accurately and prominently:
Its up to you to come up with the right angle for "pitching" the story to the media, but here are our suggestions:
3. Gather media contact information
Find out how to reach local print, TV, and radio journalists. Use any personal connections you have or try to reach prominent media personalities who might be willing to help (particularly anyone interested in issues concerning Asian Americans). Try to reach as broad a range as possiblecall everyone you can think of! If nothing else, call information and get a general number for each station or paper. When you call, ask for the news director or assignment editor (or someone like the health editor). Be sure to get the NAME of the person you need to speak with, their FAX number, and their DIRECT phone number.
4. Pitch the story
METHOD A: If youre really motivated, you can hold a press conference. Send a press advisory to all your contacts announcing the date and time of your conference, and work with your local donor center or recruitment organization to create the content. At the conference, announce your upcoming drive, have someone from the donor center talk about bone marrow transplants and the need for more Asian donors, and have someone speak about Alans present situation. (Contact us for help and more information if you want to do this.) Be sure to hand out "press packets" before and after the conference, with complete information.
METHOD B: Call people directly and ask them to run a story. Think of all the major points in your press release. When you get in touch with someone, mention as many points as you can, then ask them if they would be willing to run a story about Alan and help publicize your upcoming drive. Explain that you can send them additional materials (e.g., press release, photo of Alan, Alans appeal letter, etc.). If its a TV station, tell them that there is also a possibility of obtaining broadcast-quality video footage of Alan, his family, and his doctor, which they can cut into a news story. (Contact us for more information about this.) Even if the person you speak with doesnt seem interested, ask if you can fax them a press release.
5. Follow up
As promised, fax, mail, or deliver the appropriate information to anyone who wants it. Once you have, follow up with a phone call to inquire about the possibility of a story. If they arent going to run one, ask if they will do a PSA (public service announcement) and simply announce the upcoming drive.
6. Follow up some more
After an article or news story appears, send a letter or make a phone call to say thank you. Its a nice thing to do, and it helps you maintain a positive relationship with that person/organization, which may come in handy later (say, when you want them to run a follow-up story or cover something totally unrelated).
Good luck! Whatever you do, keep us posted, and let us know how we can help!!
[ Main | Latest News | Alan's Illness | Steps in Donating | How to Register | Frequently Asked Questions ]
[ How You Can Help | Alan's Real Life | Bone Marrow Links | Odds and Ends | Guestbook ]