Veterinary practice team joins forces with Red Cross to host blood drive


NorthStar VETS bank on making blood drive an annual event for pets and people.

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Photo courtesy of NorthStar VETS

1. Develop your concept.

You never know where inspiration for a good idea will come from. For the team at NorthStar VETS, an emergency, trauma and specialty center, inspiration came in an unexpected way—from a TV commercial. What many would’ve overlooked as a routine advertisement for blood donors became the motivation for an event that would ultimately benefit both the people and pets of Robbinsville, N.J. The veterinary team decided they would host their own blood drive—an activity that would not only give them the chance to help people in need, but would also help launch the hospital’s own companion animal blood bank.

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Photo courtesy of NorthStar VETS

2. Market your event.

NorthStar VETS partnered with the Red Cross for assistance with the human blood donations and with their laboratory, Antech Diagnostics, for blood screenings of companion animal donors. Once those key elements were in place, the team kicked off a community-wide marketing campaign and used a variety of media to raise awareness for the event—from wine-tasting events to advertising in newspapers and taking advantage of social media outlets, email campaigns, and promotional flyers.

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Photo courtesy of NorthStar VETS

3. Get everyone involved.

On the day of the blood drive, it was all hands on deck for the volunteers, who wore matching T-shirts for the event. The clinic’s office staff greeted donors, escorted pets to the screening area, and ensured that protocols were followed. The clinical team of veterinarians and technicians performed patient examinations and collected blood, in addition to preparing the samples for submission to the lab. Thanks to the team’s tireless efforts, they finished the day with 56 dogs and 12 cats screened for the NorthStar VETS blood donor program and 60 people donating blood for a good cause.

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Photo courtesy of NorthStar VETS

4. Review and rev up for next year.

Coming off this year’s success, the staff plans to make the blood drive a yearly event. But they know that if they want to reach even higher numbers in the future, they’ll need to tweak a few things first. Next year, they plan to add more staff and equipment for the people who want to donate as well as to streamline the process for pet owners. Participation forms will be available on the clinic’s website before the event, so pet owners can fill them out before they arrive. By making the process quick and easy, they hope to encourage more participants and get more blood donations—for people and pets in need.

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