I’ve been writing a lot of resumes and cover letters lately and subsequently thinking about interviews and the questions that are typically asked.
Over the years I’ve heard many people suggest having stories and examples of projects ready for certain typical interview questions. I’ve always thought this was a great idea, but I often find myself having one of two problems:
I forget the stories entirely
I am flooded remembering so many appropriate stories that my ability to eloquently convey just one story goes out the window. (I just get too excited about the things I’ve done!)
So I thought as a refresher for me I would start blogging about some projects where I was really proud of the work I did or the contributions I made. So this is will be the first entry of this nature.
Brock Blood Donor Campaign
This one is going back a couple of years to 2006 and my fourth year at Brock University.
During the second semester of my fourth year I worked with Canadian Blood Services to organize a “Brock Blood Donor Campaign”. I had assisted with the project the previous year, but took it over this year.
Another student, a friend of mine actually, also worked on this project, but our efforts were often in different directions (his more campus and word of mouth oriented, and mine more residence and marketing oriented).
I focused on residence students. Brock had 6 different residences, housing several approximately 2000 students give or take. I focused on residence students because in residence if one student does something he or she usually brings along at least one other student, if not more and coordinating on-campus students for donation was much easier in terms of transportation. (Through we did often have a couple of off-campus students donate).
For this project I was responsible for:
- Schedule & Transportation Coordination
- Orientation and Programming
Scheduling and Transportation
This was pretty easy and straight forward. The St. Catharines branch of Canadian Blood Services provided me with several weekend days across four months with about 20-30 time slots each time. They also set up shuttles to transport the groups of donors from Campus to the clinic, so that students did have to worry about arranging their own transportation.
I created an email address for students to contact if they were interested in donating. Once a student emailed me I would email them back with the following:
- 3 potential time slots
- A questionnaire to sign up for donation (eligibility (age, recent donation), name, contact information)
- An orientation Package (what to know about donating, what to do before and after donating, etc.)
Marketing in residence could be a bit tricky, because there were always ads, posters and signs plastered everywhere in the houses, halls, courts and blocks. There was so much material posted throughout residence it was hard to grab a student’s attention with the standard 8 1/2 by 11 photocopied computerized ad.
Knowing this, I decided to take a different approach. I made approximately 400 hand cut and written signs. I bought a package of red printer paper and traced 3 different sized blood drops, Small (1/4 page), Medium (1/2 page) and Large (full-page). I cut out each blood drop, because a rectangular piece of paper on a wall was far too common in residence. On each blood drop I wrote a fact about blood, blood donation or Canadian Blood Services, along with donation contact information.
- Small drops were stuck to every single door in the non-traditional residences (I think it was approximately 260 doors).
- Medium drops were put on every entrance door to a floor of the largest residence Decew (approximately 120 doors)
- Large drops were placed on the floor doors in the remaining traditional residences as well as on all main building entrances, laundry rooms, bulletin boards and common areas. (approximately 50)
Luckily I worked student security so I was able to take a roll of tape and stack of signs with me while I was working and stick them to every door as I went.
There was a great response to the signs, most people commented on how much they liked the signs when they emailed to sign up. They didn’t look like all of the other rectangular, printed, photocopied posters that were stuck up in their buildings. They noticed that someone took the time to hand write every sign individually. It was time-consuming, but in my mind totally worth it.
Orientation & Programming
As I mentioned before an orientation was sent out to each student who registered to donate blood. It was a FAQ about Blood Donation and Canadian Blood Services basically that outlined common questions and what to do before and after donation. I created the package from the information I was given by Canadian Blood Services that was just far too dense for any student to really read.
Programming was another method of marketing. I was an Don (Resident Advisor) the previous year and I knew the Don’s were required to do so much programming for their students. For that reason I created a package with a Canadian Blood Services video, a game and an information sheet for RA’s to use with their students. This package worked well because it gave RA’s a pre-made program to run with their students (saved them time and energy) and it worked as further marketing for the donor program.
I generally tried to follow-up with donors after their donation to see how their experience was and get an idea if they’d be interested in donating again. I kept notes of what people said and tracked the information I received. This was helpful at the end of the year when I had to write a project summary and outlined to be used by whomever took over the project the following year.
This project is now several years old, but it is still something that I am extremely proud of. Looking back now I realize that this was more or less my first marketing campaign for a not-for-profit. At the end of the project, my friend who did campus recruitment and myself received a certificate for the campaign and it is something I still carry in my portfolio.