Blog of Bloodworks Northwest

Adapting in a pandemic: A new volunteer model

The phrase “the only constant is change” has never been more true than during the past two years.

Bloodworks had already engaged in meaningful changes to better serve our community when COVID pushed us to make even more adjustments.

Historically, Bloodworks’ volunteers have focused on supporting blood drives and donation centers. While other opportunities might occasionally pop up, 95% of our volunteers and their time were attributed to this focused area.

COVID’s impact on volunteer time

In 2020, Bloodworks made large-scale changes to how our Volunteer Services team organized and delivered its services. Bloodworks’ volunteers wanted to stay connected, even if they could no longer provide their traditional in-person support because of COVID restrictions.

Our vision was to form a team that could support to support our entire organization and mission, allowing for more departments to have access to volunteers to build their capacity. Each of our divisions contributes to saving lives, whether by handling blood donations directly or acting in a support role.

For our volunteers, this meant new opportunities to engage in meaningful work that fit their diverse backgrounds and skills.

By the summer of 2021, this new way of connecting with our community had fully taken root.  We’ve spent the last year monitoring this change to see if our vision would become a reality and we are proud to report: it did.

A whole new model for a whole new world

Since July 2021, our volunteers have provided support to 17 different departments in 51 different roles.

Chart showing the number of volunteers by department

We have been able to do this without sacrificing our largest volunteer position, Donor Engagement Specialist, which still makes up more than two-thirds of total volunteers and their hours.

In addition to support of blood donors after their donations, volunteers have:

  • Provided support to our Contact Center by calling donors to remind them of their appointments and connecting with first time donors to share our gratitude.
  • Supported our Marketing & Community Engagement team with recruiting donors and special events.
  • Worked with our HR team to advance our internal occupational health and safety.
  • Aided with software development in our Information Technology department.

Our volunteers additionally now fall into several categories:

Classic CorpsLong term, committed individuals who freely give their time; what you may typically think of as a volunteer.
Employment Readiness CorpsIndividuals connected to an employment agency.  These volunteers join our team with specific goals with the intention of preparing them for the workforce.
Service Learning CorpsIndividuals are working towards an academic goal; volunteering helps them along their path. 
volunteer hours by type

Onward and upward

Thanks to you, our vision has become a reality.

Over 400 volunteers contributed 15,532 hours to the success of these departments, and in the next year we hope to continue on the path we have started out on, growing the number of people and time that support our lifesaving mission in all its forms.

We are looking forward to celebrating another year of change and growth with you! Thank you, as always, to our volunteers for your service to our community.

It takes all types! Do you have a skill or time that you would like to share with a good cause? Learn more about volunteering with Bloodworks.

July 20, 2022 2:57PM

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