Blood donations are down. Blood demand is up.

But what can any one person do about such a large challenge? After all, every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. That’s why Kali Coleman decided to organize a Red Cross blood drive at her workplace. Kali wanted to ensure that blood would be available in her community when needed.

Why Give Blood?

Kali was the business development and public relations assistant at The Alliance. She knew that summertime is often slow for blood donations, even though the need for donations typically rises.

The Red Cross says that more than 41,000 donations are needed every day in the U.S. Approximately 80 percent of those donations are collected at mobile blood drive sites hosted by local organizations.

A First-Time Donor

Kali Coleman

Kali Coleman

Kali and her co-workers on The Alliance’s Phoenix Team, which supports employee wellness, decided to host a blood drive at The Alliance.

Everyone pitched in to help. Some co-workers helped run the blood drive; some shared the news with employees and workers at other nearby organizations; and others brought home-baked treats to give to donors.

The number one concern of potential first-time blood donors is wondering how much the needle will hurt. As a first-time donor herself, Kali wondered that too. But she decided to face that fear for the benefit of knowing that she helped to save a life.

Leading By Example

Kali decided to face her fears by making a commitment to lead by example. Her plan was to work at the blood drive in the morning and then donate blood in the afternoon. She told her co-workers that this would be the first time that she had donated blood. And her story inspired two additional co-workers to become first-time donors as well.

“Be excited and get others excited about this opportunity to help our community,” Kali explained. “You have the chance to save up to three lives with your one donation. Doesn’t that benefit outweigh your fear?”

A Smooth Donation

At the event, Kali was pleased to see that the Red Cross staff was professional and efficient. After a few health questions and tests, a donation needle was inserted into her arm. She only felt a small pinch and the rest of the donation went smoothly. Kali donated her first pint of blood. She was so happy that she did.

Next time, she plans to make use of the Red Cross’ Rapid Pass online donation health screening tool. This allows a donor to complete the health questions online before an appointment. Donors just show their completion barcode during the health screening to more quickly move through the check-in process.

Showing Our Shared Values

As a newcomer to The Alliance, Kali’s story and the blood drive together taught me something important about our organization’s shared values. Three of our six shared values are talent,
integrity, and fun

Each value was demonstrated by the Phoenix Team’s work to organize the blood drive:

  • Talent  was demonstrated in the work done by employees from multiple departments.
  • Integrity  was shown by doing what is right for our employees, our members, and our community.
  • Fun  was achieved when employees spent a few minutes away from computers and smartphones to get to know each other. While not everything about blood donation is pure fun – there’s still needles and blood involved – it was enjoyable for employees.

Mission Accomplished

The blood drive was a first-time event not just for Kali, but for the entire Alliance.

When it began, the Phoenix Team set a goal of 20 pints. When it ended, 27 pints were collected. Because each pint can help multiple people, those donations could help up to 81 people.

“It really took all of us working together as a team, putting the lives of others ahead of our own fears to achieve such great results,” noted Kali.

Your workplace can learn to host its own event at Kali also has some advice for first-timers, whether they’re hosting an event or giving blood.

“Face your fears,” she says. “You could save a life in the process.”


Lisa Wendorff

Lisa Wendorff

Marketing Communications Specialist at The Alliance
Lisa Wendorff joined The Alliance in 2015 and currently serves as the cooperative’s marketing communications specialist. Her responsibilities include the development of effective communications and marketing materials for Alliance members and business partners.

Previously, Lisa worked at a founding member of The Alliance for 17 years as a marketing specialist. Lisa received her master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in Communications with an emphasis in Corporate Communications.
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Lisa Wendorff