~ Shantini Klaassen
Everyone knows there are a million good reasons to donate blood. It saves the lives of children and moms and dads and grandparents and brothers and wives and sisters. 52% of people say that they or a family member have needed blood, but last year, only 1 in 60 Canadians actually donated. At the Fringe, we discovered that every single one of our staff had experienced someone close to them needing blood to save their life. The need is obviously great, but there are so many other important reasons for us as arts organizations to get involved. Here are some that we’ve experienced:
1) As non-profits, we are always asking for things. Financial support, in-kind donations, discounts. We always feel that we’re the folks that are in need. Sometimes it is easy to feel like we have nothing to offer. This is an amazing opportunity to be able to give freely, expecting nothing in return. It costs us nothing, but is priceless to another human being. It’s incredibly empowering.
2) Blood donations help us put our work in perspective. I am passionate about theatre. I think it’s an incredibly important part of our society, that it can change the world and make a difference in many people’s lives. BUT. If our online ticket sales are down, no one will die. If that donation request e-mail doesn’t get out on schedule, no natural disasters will occur. We can take a break from our work, however important, to physically save a life. That’s an amazing gift.
3) We can represent the arts community as a group that cares not only for each other, but others. We often support one another with ticket donations and resource sharing, but find it difficult in those tight budgets to squeeze out anything else for non-arts organizations. Here’s the chance to mobilize as a group and show people outside our community that we care, and to combat any stigma of elitism or apathy.
So here’s what you can do:
- The Fringe Festival staff donates as a group together every two months- we get picked up and dropped off on Granville Island. E-mail me, and I’ll put you on the list to join us and send you all of the information you need. No muss, no fuss.
- Make your arts organization a “Partner for Life” – learn more about the program here. They make it really easy!
- Call 1-888-236-6283 to make an appointment on your own- the whole donation process takes about an hour.
- Join the OneMatch program – they mail you a swab for your mouth and you mail it back. So Science-y!
Please feel free to e-mail me with any questions or concerns you have, or call Canadian Blood Services on their 24-hour confidential Infoline at 1-888-236-6283. I can’t wait to hear from you, and get started saving some lives together!