Story Sharing Tips

Whether you are sending an email, presenting to your faith group, or having a conversation with someone in line at the grocery store, your personal experience can be the most significant influence in someone’s decision to become a registered donor. Below are tips to remember when adding your VOICE to the need for organ, eye, and tissue donors and inspiring your family, friends, coworkers, or neighbors to register.

Remember the Goal

The primary goal of sharing your connection to donation and transplantation is to inspire those listening to register as organ, eye and tissue donors. As you think about what details to include and the way you share your story, keep in mind that you want to educate and motivate.

Be Your Natural Self

Even though there is a purpose behind sharing your story with others, that doesn’t mean it has to be forced or unnatural. Just be yourself when speaking about your experience. Whether you insert humor, use an analogy or shed tears, your listeners know you so go with what feels right.

Keep it Simple – Less is More!

An important thing to keep in mind is that your story is about you or a loved one, not about the medical process of donation and transplantation. Because of its many procedures and medical terms, this subject can be complex. Though sharing every detail may feel natural, it can be overwhelming to others and they may miss the important message of registering as a donor.

For example: Details like the exact number and names of medicines required after transplantation, or the precise dates of important events throughout your journey are extremely important to you, but including all of them may detract from the power of your story.

Stress the Positives – Tell, Don’t Dwell!

Donation and transplantation can be bumpy roads. Whether you are a grateful recipient, hopeful candidate or family member, focus on the positive feelings you and your loved ones have experienced.

That does not mean to ignore anything that could be negative. Be honest about hardships you or your family may have faced–but focusing too much on them can be counter-productive. Remember, the goal is to educate and motivate. Make your audience comfortable and keep their attention through the positive aspects of your story.

Some Do’s and Don’ts

Misusing specific terms can turn someone off or inadvertently reinforce myths.

  • When talking about the process of donation, use the words “organ recovery” or “organ donation.” Avoid using the term “harvest.”
  • The term “life support” may sound appropriate, but “artificial support” or “mechanical support” is more accurate.

Never attempt to pressure someone into registering. Research shows that using guilt has the opposite effect on what you would want – making that person more resistant to the idea of registering. If someone is uncomfortable registering, even after hearing your story, that is okay! You did all you could do to educate them about donation. And who knows? Maybe when they get home, they may still be thinking about your story, and it could be the seed that eventually changes their mind later down the road.

Using Your Perspective

No matter what the circumstance, or the audience, you can optimize the likelihood your Donate Life voice will motivate those listening to register as donors by speaking from your own personal perspective. Look below for ideas on communicating how organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation has affected you.

  • Talk about your life before you became ill – what did you enjoy?
  • When were you told you needed a transplant? What was your reaction?
  • What changes has your illness caused with family, work, school or hobbies?
  • How long have you been waiting? What is your prognosis without a transplant?
  • What would you say to someone who is hesitant about becoming an organ, eye and tissue donor?
  • What was life like for you and your family before your transplant?
  • How did you come to need a transplant? How did your illness limit you in your day-to-day life? How long did you wait, and what was your prognosis without a transplant?
  • What was it like to receive the call saying that an organ was available?
  • What can you do now that you couldn’t before, and what changes has it made in your family, work, school?
  • What is your outlook on life today?
  • What would you say to someone who is hesitant about becoming an organ, eye and tissue donor?
  • Talk about your loved one to paint a picture of them – what were they like? What did they enjoy? How did being around them make you feel?
  • How does it feel to know your loved one was able to save and heal the lives of others?
  • What would you say to someone who is hesitant about becoming an organ, eye and tissue donor?
  • Did you donate to someone you know or to a stranger? If it is someone you know, what is your relationship with him or her?
  • If you know the recipient, what condition did they have that led to them needing a transplant? How did that impact his or her life? How did it impact your life?
  • If you know the recipient, how did you come to the decision to become a living donor?
  • If you know the recipient, how did your two lives change after the donation and transplant?
  • If you gave altruistically, what inspired you to become a living donor for a stranger?
  • What would you say to someone who is on the fence about becoming a living donor?
  • What would you say to someone who is hesitant about becoming an organ, eye and tissue donor?
  • What is your relationship to the person who needs or received a transplant?
  • Why does/did your friend or family member need a transplant?
  • What is/was their medical prognosis without a transplant, and how long have they been waiting/did they wait?
  • What is/was the wait like?
  • If they have now been transplanted, what was it like to get the call that an organ was available? How is their/your life different now?
  • What would you say to someone who is hesitant about becoming an organ, eye and tissue donor?

Share Your Story

Have a Story of Hope to share? We’d love to hear from you.