Singing For Life saves livesOne thing that the Barbershop Harmony Society has always encouraged is having chapters be more involved in community service. With approximately 27,000 members across the United States and Canada, if the Society could influence becoming more active in local communities, this could potentially help a large number of people and help spread the word about barbershop.
The Society's Operations Team was in charge of the creativity aspect – to gather ideas, create tools, and even implement some program that would assist 800+ chapters in this endeavor. Who better than the Team's Marketing & PR Committee (M&PR) to spearhead this challenge?
In the past, the Society had heard of chapters that had been active in teaming up with blood donor agencies to promote blood drives. Stories of those efforts showed up occasionally in the Society's bi-monthly publication The Harmonizer. Interestingly enough, at the same time this community involvement project was in the works, one of the Society's top performance coaches was diagnosed with a medical issue, requiring many blood transfusions.
After several pitched ideas and thorough discussions, members of the M&PR committee decided to link the Society's chapters with local blood donor agencies across North America and hold a blood donation event on the same day across the Society. SINGING FOR LIFE (SFL) was born.
The M&PR committee met with executives from the four major blood donation organizations in North America: American Blood Centers (ABC), American Red Cross (ARC), Canadian Blood Services (CBS), and Hema-Quebec, since these organizations account for the majority of blood donor collections in the United States and Canada. They agreed that SFL was a great idea as it could boost donations, and decided to go forth with the program. Originally, the M&PR committee decided to conduct the event on May 15, but since that limited some chapters and created complications, it now includes the entire month of May – traditionally a month of blood shortages.
How does this work, you ask? The registered chapter's choruses, quartets and invited local performers provide entertainment for the blood donors and agency staff during the blood drive hosted by the agency. Chapter members, their friends and family also have the option to donate at this event. As an added bonus, the chapter, invited local performers and the agency are able to gain media exposure as a result.
Going into 2010, approximately 25% of the Society's chapters have participated, and well over 4,500 units of blood have been collected; potentially 13,500 lives saved!
Every minute of every day, someone needs blood. Call your local blood agency, get involved, and help save hundreds of lives!
A special thanks to our blood center partners:
Canadian Blood Services
American Red Cross
America's Blood Centers
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