Be The Match ® – Team 4
The project management class gave us the opportunity to partner with Be the Match ® organization to apply our class concepts and make an impact in the lives of blood cancer patients and families. Be The Match® organization was selected as it shares our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
The project focused on increasing the ethnic diversity of the bone marrow donor registry to help more historically underserved patients find their match. Moreover, the project included an online donation campaign and a motive to raise awareness about the organization and high demand to correct health care disparities.
To carry forward growing the registry objective, two events were planned :
In-person Donor Drive: This event took place at the Commercial Club Park District’s annual Halloween party. The event was tactfully chosen to provide free access to hundreds of attendants from surrounding neighborhoods. We felt we had a compelling story with these potential donors of various ethnicities. At the event, interested people registered by creating an account online and swapping their cheek on-site or requesting a free toolkit to their home.
Formal Presentation to our MBA Cohort: With a similar strategy, a formal presentation was scheduled with our MBA colleagues to present the importance of supporting the Be The Match ® mission to increase donor diversity. We provided every student with a QR code to easily connect to the registry and request a free swab kit to be mailed to their home.
To raise donations and awareness, a customized link to Be The Match ® was created. This direct link was shared in our marketing campaign message through different social media channels, email, and direct messaging to our networks. Additionally, a QR code was printed in business cards to distribute at the events and our social network events throughout the campaign.
Be The Match ®, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program ® (NMDP), is a national
organization that manages the largest and most diverse marrow registry in the world. Be the Match® is at the forefront of the war on blood cancers and other diseases. Their research brings new technology and innovative medical techniques to the patients that need it the most. They help save lives by supporting and matching patients with life-saving transplant donors, growing the registry, and raising funds and awareness.
Every three minutes someone in the United States is diagnosed with a blood cancer like leukemia. For many, their only hope for a cure is a bone marrow transplant. Of those patients, 70% don’t have a fully matched donor in their family. They will have to look to strangers, people who know nothing about their situation nor have any connection to them, to provide a cure. Only 1 in 430 of the U.S. registration members will go on to donate.
The Be The Match ® project focused on three distinct objectives:
- Grow the Registry
Growing the registry was the primary objective with the aspiration to increase diversity in the underrepresented ethnic segments of the organization. The campaign efforts resulted in 17 new registrants with 35% of the total being of Hispanic descent, three times the ratio of the current Be The Match ® registry. Although the initial goal of 25 registrants was not met, the diversity of the individual donors was a success and as important.
- Raise Awareness
Raising awareness outreach was primarily through social media channels. The goal was to capture a minimum of 120 “Likes” which was surpassed with a total of 771 combined “Likes” and “Views” . As supplementary, over 100 flyers were distributed within the community during the event.
- Fundraise for Be The Match ®
Raising funds was an important part of the campaign. The funds would be valuable for extended research as well as helping to grow the registry. The goal was to raise a minimum of $200 and the actual campaign results were $400 through our online campaign. This amount translates to four registrants!
Communication plays a critical role in the success of the project across all stakeholders. Regular cadence amongst members and stakeholders keeps the status and deliverables honest to prevent project delays. Furthermore, maintaining the message consistent within all channels improves the outreach response.
Optimism Bias can taint the view of the overall project planning. Prepare well thought out risk responses and contingency plans for all possible scenarios. Success is the goal of every project but being over optimistic can diverge from preparing mitigation steps for possible risks. In the Be The Match project event, unforeseen rainy weather and prospect donor concerns regarding medical privacy was a challenge that was not anticipated to reach the goals.
Advice for Future Teams:
Test Technology. In advance of an event, plan a dry run to ensure technology will work as expected. The Be the Match® event relied on technology for the donor registry. Having back up devices, connectivity access and configuration set up in advance prevents delays on the day of the event.
Prepare a Contingency Plan. This is key especially for events that are planned outdoors like the primary Be the Match® event. On the day of the event, rain was unavoidable all day. The event could not have taken place without having tents prepared to set up as contingency for weather inconveniences.
Know Your Organization. Be prepared to answer questions as if you were a representative of the organization. In the instance of Be the Match® event, people were concerned of medical privacy. The team members trained and studied Q&A in advance which eased the apprehension to register.
Have Fun! Sunshine or rain didn’t matter. Enjoying time with the team for a priceless cause to save a life is irreplaceable.
Pictures from Be The Match ® Event: