It’s easy to be a back seat driver, I admit it. I don’t work in organ donation. I’m relatively new in studying it (5 years). I haven’t walked a mile in the shoes of those who live donor advocacy day-in and day-out. Nonetheless, I offer here eight ideas about how to improve advocacy for organ donor registration.
1. Make room for comments and questions. Lots of organ donor websites are have no place for dialogue. Let people talk to you. Listen to what they have to say.
2. Don’t be afraid to talk about the hard stuff. One of my personal pet peeves is the bounty of “organ donation myth” pages. I frequently hear from people the fear that “if I register they won’t try to save my lives.” Everyone in the donation field knows this is not true and the myth pages tell why. But that is not sufficient. We gave the answer of why you shouldn’t believe that myth. Done, right? Wrong, that doesn’t convince anyone. African Americans, for example, have very good reason to distrust the medical establishment. And by the way, have you heard of cognitive backfire? Dispelling myths requires tough and honest conversation. I’d love to see a FAQ or Myths page have more dialogue.
3. Find the audience. We’ve established that donor advocates are mostly talking with other donor advocates. Where is the “non-registered” audience we are trying to reach?This requires investment in research and/or social media listening.
4. Engage. Use Facebook pages to create conversations, not just push messages.
5. Use tools to send messages after hours and on weekends. Buffer, for example. Just because business hours works for advocates doesn’t mean it works for everyone else.
6. Create dialogue events. Organ Donor advocates are very event-driven marketing types. Social Media events such as Google+ hangouts and Twitter chats can be very effective.
7. Leverage the non-official community. Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs) are the 58 federally designated agencies for recovery of organs from deceased donors. Their primary mission is clinical. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of non-OPO donor advocates (foundations and individuals). These groups need to be unified, link to and network with each other to create earned media.
8. Let data be even more transparent. It is possible to pull data from HRSA’s OPTN site. But it’s tough to get historical data, trends, and detailed metrics beyond the basics. It’s also extremely difficult to get national registration data (historicals, trends, demographics). There are lots of reasons for this, but it needs to change. More on this topic on another day.
I think back seat drivers kind of get a bum rap. Personally, I’ve had some back seat drivers save me from running a red light I didn’t see (more than once!). I recall one time my ex was busy swatting at a spider and I alerted him that he was going to rear end the car in front of him (too late however).
Truly, those not in the driver seat can have perspective and sight to the things we do not see.