I've hit upon a way to get donor-request stories from the LKDS web site circulating to new and wider audiences. In just 24 hours, I’m already seeing results! If you’re not getting many “shares” on your story, try this. 


First, the background: Over the past few months, I’ve become more and more disheartened by the fact that very few of my friends share your LKDS web site stories when I post them on my personal page. (Of course my “kidney friends” post them...but they’re looking for donors, too. These stories need new eyes.) Of 200 friends, I can usually count on 2 or 3 "non-kidney" friends to share a donor request. These are people who were willing to click "share" for me during my search...so why not for someone else? I don’t know the answer, but it’s been very discouraging.


On the anniversary of my transplant last week, I wrote an essay called “I’m Not Asking for a Kidney” and posted it to my personal page. (You can read it here, if you like.) Its purpose was to encourage friends to simply click “share” whenever I post one of your LKDS donor-request stories. It got rave “reviews," but the following day, there were only 1 or 2 more shares than usual. Discouraged and disheartened again.


Yesterday I tried something different: Each time (3, yesterday) I got a newsfeed post from a friend asking me to share something that's important to him/her or to donate to a cause, I made a deal that goes something like this:


"Tell you what, so-and-so...I'll make a deal with you. For every time you click "share" on an LKDS donor request that I share this month, I'll (whatever they’re asking for...click "share," donate $1 to your cause, sign your petition, etc.) for you. I’ll even tag you on the story so you won’t have to hunt for it. Deal?” 


All 3 accepted immediately! And all 3 posted LKDS stories both yesterday and today. And they're not just clicking "share" and letting it go at that . . . they're writing a sentence or two in the introductory comment box, even though that wasn't part of the "deal." By the way, none of these friends were sharing requests until yesterday.


I do limit the number of kidney stories I ask people to share because FB users are already inundated with requests. (There are over 600 people seeking donors on FB.) Too many requests just causes people to ignore them altogether. Right now, I'm limiting these “deals” to the month of May and sharing only one LKDS donor request per day...so that in the case of monetary donations, I can control the amount I’m committing to. 


Thus far, I'm clicking "share" for Bob, who posts for cat rescue organizations; Sharon, an artist who needs exposure to get a business off the ground; and David, who's seeking sponsors for an ALS (Lou Gerig's Disease) race/walk. Bob's and David's organizations will also get a $1 donation for each shared story. While these are causes I wouldn’t ordinarily have donated to (one does have to pick and choose), they are causes that I believe in. Yes, it will cost a few bucks, but it will support causes no less important than our own, it will help your LKDS stories to get wider circulation, AND it will get these 3 friends in the habit of clicking "share" for you, even after the month has ended. (Not to mention that it's WAY less than the cost of a kidney...which I'd donate to one of you if I could.) 


In the case of just these 3 friends, each donor request is getting circulated to at least 1,000 people who’ve never seen it before. For every one of those 1,000 who also clicks “share,” the story will reach, on average, 190 additional people. Even if only 50 (5%) of those 1,000 people share, the stories will reach an additional 9,500 people! Not bad for something that started with just 3 people agreeing to share a story! Of course, that's nothing new...we already know that exponential sharing is the beauty of FB. What's different here is that this method takes advantage of that beauty where stories have previously reached dead ends.


I took a peek at Sharon's, Bob's, and David's posts and was tickled to see that some of their friends did indeed pass them on. It's working already! What's more, the story that Bob shared reached the wife of a man who needs a transplant but was unaware of the Living Kidney Donor Search. She contacted me, and within a matter of minutes from the time Bob posted, her husband was connected to the LKDS...one more source for finding a living donor. 


Charitable donations are great, but they're not required. Last week, I made a "deal" with Jenny, a teacher who's collecting letters to distribute to cancer survivors. In return for my writing a short letter, she agreed to post 5 donor requests from the LKDS web site. Not only did she post the requests--on her school's blog--she wrote several paragraphs describing living donation. Ding, ding, ding, ding! An entire class(es?) of high-schoolers are now aware that after they reach the age of 18, they can make life-changing differences in the world! (Kids who are inspired by something at an early age often get involved with that something later in life.) It cost me a mere 10 minutes. And of course, clicking "share" is free.


Even if you can’t make a monetary donation, keep your eye out for people who are asking for “shares” or other favors for things that are important to them. It just might net you a donor!


Suzanne Kloss

Living Kidney Donor Search