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Toolkit: Seeking a Living Organ Donor

Waiting for an organ donor can be stressful. Asking for a living donor can feel overwhelming. Where do you begin? The transplant team at the Center for Living Organ Donors understands your concern. This information provides practical tips to help you find a living organ donor.

Tap into community groups

If you’re trying to sort out those with whom you can share your story, keep in mind these examples of community groups.

  • Alumni society of college or high school
  • Book club, library
  • Child care, play group
  • Church, synagogue, mosque or other place of religious worship
  • Family and friends, Meetup group, workplace
  • Fraternity or sorority
  • Knights of Columbus
  • Professional organizations (e.g., Rotary Club)
  • Social media (Facebook, Instagram, etc.)
  • Local news media including local news websites (e.g.,, community bulletin boards
  • YMCA, YWCA, senior center, gym and recreation centers

Read how spreading the word to the community helped one patient.

Spread the word on social media

Social media is one of the many tools you can use to help spread the word about your need for a living organ donor. There are numerous channels, with some of the more popular including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. To create an account for a new channel, go to the respective website.

Social media post led to kidney donation

Michelle and Naequon organ donor About a year after being diagnosed with kidney failure at age 19, Naequon learned he needed a kidney transplant. With friends’ help and support, his story was widely shared through social media and a radio program. It was through a Facebook post by radio station Jammin 107.7 FM that his future donor, Michelle, heard of Naequon’s need.

The post included an interview with Naequon, and the comments section encouraged calls to Yale New Haven Transplantation Center. She called that day and once cleared for donation Michelle became his donor in 2018.

Consider a website

Another option is development of a dedicated website to share your story and need for an organ donor. It’s best if writing is in layman’s terms so content is easily understood. While most of us are not skilled at creating personal websites, your family and social contacts might know someone who might be able to help you.

What to include on a website:

Read how a website’s creation inspired a living organ donation.

What NOT to include when sharing your story

As you prepare your plan for sharing your story, please keep in mind these tips for what not to share in your approaches, whether social media, website, letter or discussions.

DO NOT include:

  • Offers of compensation (e.g., money, goods, services, immigration assistance)
  • Sensitive personal information including home address, telephone number, social security number, medical record number, date of birth
  • Hospital staff and physician names or direct contact information
  • Photographs of others without permission
  • Confidential health information

Also, do not “pre-screen” potential donors by specifying blood types or other health criteria.

DO include:

Center for Living Organ Donors referral webpage. If you have any questions, consider sharing your draft materials with your Yale New Haven Hospital transplant team members (nurse coordinator, social worker, doctor).

More resources