LogoBee Interviews David Undis, Founder and Director of Lifesharers
May 15, 2006 (PRLEAP.COM) Business NewsLogoBee - Hi Dave, thank you for taking the time to speak with us.
Dave - My pleasure.
LogoBee - First things first, could you give us a little bit of background on what LifeSharers stands for and why Lifesharers.org founded?
Dave - Certainly. LifeSharers was founded to reduce the shortage of human organs for transplants in the United States. About seven to eight thousand Americans die each year waiting for an organ donation. The idea behind LifeSharers is that if you give organs first to organ donors, then more people will have an incentive to sign up as organ donors. The resulting effect will be that youíll have fewer people throwing their organs away when they die, and this will save thousand of lives every year.
LogoBee - Thatís a pretty ambitious project you have going.
Dave - Thank you, I suppose it is.
LogoBee - I understand that youíre the founder of LifeSharers. Iím interested to know what gave you the idea to start such a project.
Dave - I got started with LifeSharers in May of 2002. As far as what gave me the initial idea, well I kept reading stories about all these people dying while waiting for organ transplants, and I kept reading stories about how so few people had agreed to donate their own organs. It then occurred to me that if you had to be a registered organ donor to receive a transplant, then just about everyone would sign up. So I did some research and found that other people had thought of this idea but nobody had done anything with it. So I decided that I would, and I started LifeSharers.
LogoBee - I was hoping you could talk just a little about the ďLogo Design Makeover ContestĒ you entered with LogoBee?
Dave - Of course. Well first off, I love the logo. I really think it captures the spirit and the intent of what LifeSharers is all about, which is that of sharing and elevating life. I think your folks did a really nice job of capturing the essence of these ideas. One thing I thought was interesting as I went through the process designing the logo is that LogoBee would give me a set of samples, and I would pick one and suggest some tweaks to it. I would see the results of my recommended changes, but they would also provide me with additional options to consider. What I found was that 95% of the time I would find myself going with the designerís suggestions, and I thought that was really interesting.
Also, I was really impressed with the turn-around time I got from your people. They would send me something and ask for my comments and suggestions, and once I gave my input I was able to see the next round of revisions before I knew it.
LogoBee - Well weíre glad you enjoyed the design process. And I think I read that you didnít really have a logo before winning LogoBeeís Logo Design Makeover, so it must be a big change for you.
Dave - Correct, we didnít have any kind of a logo design or image before. Our website was just a standard Microsoft template, and it didnít look very good. Now weíve got our logo all over our website, promotional materials, stationery, and business cards. Weíre making really good use of it.
LogoBee - And how has the organization been doing lately?
Dave - Right now we have about 4300 registered members, and weíre growing at a rate of about 40% per year.
LogoBee Ė Thatís great! Do you expect to see similar growth rates in the coming years?
Dave - Thatís what weíre hoping. I think that as we grow larger it will become easier to recruit new members. It takes a little bit of a leap of faith to join an organization like LifeSharers when itís really small, but when we become large, it would be stupid not to join. When we have a million members for example, if you decided not to join LifeSharers, you would be behind all of the people that had joined the program, which would not be a good thing if you ever needed a transplant. In the United States, more than half the people that need a transplant die before they get one, so putting yourself at the back of the list is not a good strategy.
LogoBee - LifeSharers has received a lot of attention as a concept, and you even have a praiseworthy quote by the Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman on your website. It seems like LifeSharers is truly an original undertaking as it attempts to solve the supply issues surrounding organ donation by providing donors with real incentives. First off, how did you get in touch with these great minds? Secondly, have other high-level academics offered praise towards your organization?
Dave - Yes, weíve managed to recruit a panel of some fairly famous and well-thought of academics and business people who serve as advisors to LifeSharers. They help us refine the concept and generate media opportunities for us. Most importantly, I think by lending their prestige and their name to our efforts, they help to show that weíre a serious organization, and not just some guy with a website.
LogoBee - Haha! Itís true that anyone can be just Ďsome guyí with a website, so itís nice to have some names that bear some authority put their name to it. But along with all of the positive response that youíve generated, there has been a certain amount of criticism of your idea. Iím just wondering where some of that criticism is coming from (if any), and how you are dealing with it?
Dave - Most of the criticism weíre getting these days is mainly that what weíre doing isnít fair. Some people believe that itís not fair to donate organs first to registered organ donors, but I have a real hard time understanding their arguments. To me, giving an organ to someone who wonít donate their own organs is like giving the lottery jackpot to someone who didnít buy a ticket. It just isnít fair. But more important than the fairness issue, if you give organs first to registered organ donors, youíre creating an incentive for people to sign up. The way organs are allocated right now in the United States and in Canada, you donít get any benefit for being a registered donor. So, itís no wonder that so many people are refusing to Ė or just arenít getting around to Ė signing up. Every time somebody buries a transplantable organ, itís a death sentence for someone else.
LogoBee - Thatís the harsh reality of it, I guess.
Dave - A harsh reality indeed.
LogoBee - I think why I like your program so much is that it gets people to think about organ donation at a time that is perhaps more suitable than your traditional scenarios where you need to decide whether a loved one donates their organs in their fading moments.
Dave - Yes, thatís the worst possible time to think about it. I donít want my family to have to deal with something like that. If you get people to sign up ahead of time and get them to tell their families about it, what theyíre doing is taking a huge burden off their family. They wonít ever have to think about such a difficult subject if it ever comes down to it.
LogoBee Ė Well, thanks so much for you time, Dave. I sincerely wish you all the best with your concept and organization.
Dave - My pleasure. If you donít mind me adding one more thing, I just want to let everyone know that anybody who wants to join LifeSharers can do so. Itís free, and no one is disqualified because of age or medical condition. Just go to our website at www.lifesharers.org, or call our toll-free number at 1-888-ORGAN-88 (1-888-674-2688).
LogoBee - So it looks like thatís almost a wrap. Itís truly been a pleasure. Do you have anything else you would like to add?
Dave - I just wanted to thank to you and your staff for doing such a great job for us on our logo design project. Youíre doing a real nice thing donating your time and effort to worthy non-profit organizations. I think itís a great thing.
LogoBee - Well thatís really nice of you. Weíre more than happy to do so.
Russell Arsenault is the Director of Marketing and Public Relations at LogoBee Logo Design
Dave Undis is the Executive Director of LifeSharers Ė Organs for Organ Donors