Hope Begins with You

Frequently Asked Questions

Here you will find all of the answers to commonly asked questions about the High School Leadership Program. If you’re unable to find what you need, please feel free to contact us by email at HighSchoolLeadership@redcross.org. Complete terms and conditions apply for rewards through the High School Leadership Program.

  • Do I have to register or create a profile online to participate?

    Yes. Students must set up a profile through leader.redcrossblood.org and provide some basic information to participate in the program.

  • What are the program requirements?

    The High School Leadership Program has three levels of achievement: blood and/or platelet donation, volunteerism and donor recruitment. Students can work to achieve the following levels of recognition:

    • Level 1: Donate three units of blood, platelets or double red cells.
    • Level 2: Complete Level 1 and volunteer eight (8) hours for the Red Cross. To submit volunteer hours, you must provide the first and last name of the Red Cross employee that you worked with. If your volunteer hours were done in conjunction with a school blood drive, you can provide the name of your school blood drive coordinator in place of a Red Cross employee.
    • Level 3: Complete Level 1, Level 2 and recruit five (5) donors to donate blood or platelets through the Red Cross. These donors must be new (first-time) donors or have not donated in at least three (3) years. Referrals may only be reported once and cannot be reported by any other program member. They are subject to review and must be verified in the Red Cross system using the information provided at the time of submission.
  • What rewards can I qualify to receive?
    • If you complete the Level 1 requirements, you will receive a Red Cross Red Cord to wear at high school graduation. The ability to wear this cord during a graduation ceremony is at the discretion of the school’s administration. If your school will not allow you to wear a Red Cord, you may submit a request to receive a Red Cross Red Cord Pin which can be provided to you. Please submit your request to us via email at HighSchoolLeadership@redcross.org.
    • If you complete the Level 2 requirements, you will receive a Red Cross Red Cord and will be entered to win one of five $5,000 scholarships to apply toward future education costs.
    • If you complete the Level 3 requirements, you will receive a personalized recommendation letter kit from a Red Cross executive in addition to the other awards listed above. The recommendation letter kit will include five sealed recommendation letters.
  • What is the Leaders Save Lives Program? Is it the same?
    • The Leaders Save Lives Program is a program that provides students who host blood drives an opportunity to win a college scholarship and earn gift cards. You can view full details at redcrossblood.org/leaderssavelives.
    • If you participate in the Leaders Save Lives Program, you can report your qualifying blood drive and receive an automatic upgrade 1 level in the High School Leadership Program!
  • Can I become a member of the program before I’m old enough to donate blood?

    Yes! You can enroll to participate in the High School Leadership Program at any point during your high school career. You can choose to work toward the volunteer and donor recruitment requirements until you have reached the minimum age requirement for donation.

  • What happens if I want to participate in the program I’m not able to donate blood?
    • If you are ineligible or unable to donate for any reason, you may substitute the donation requirements with the recruitment of five unique, first-time donors. The same rules apply as listed above in the Level 3 requirements. These referrals should be recorded under the Referrals section of your dashboard. If you are working toward the Level 3 achievements, you will need to submit a total of 10 referrals.
    • You may also choose to host a Leaders Save Lives blood drive. For complete details, visit the program website at redcrossblood.org/leaderssavelives.
  • Can I donate double red cells or platelets instead of whole blood?

    Yes. Any donation procedure is eligible to qualify as part of the program. Whole blood and platelet donations will count as one (1) unit toward your three (3) needed donations. Double red cell donations will count as two (2) units toward your three (3) needed donations.

  • Can I report donations that I completed before joining the program?

    Yes. Any blood, platelet or double red cell donations made through the Red Cross after January 1, 2013 can be reported as an achievement, regardless of when you joined the program.

  • What are the requirements for a referral?

    To qualify for a referral as part of the High School Leadership Program, a donor must fit the following criteria:

    • Must be a new donor or have not donated in the past 3 years
    • Has not been reported by any other member of the program
    • Able to be verified in our Red Cross systems using the information provided at the time of submission (first name, last name, date of birth and home zip code)

    If a referral is not able to be verified, you will receive an email notifying you. You should review the information submitted to ensure proper spelling and date of birth. If your information is correct, you may submit your information again for verification.

  • How do I know if my achievements have been approved?

    All of your achievements will be updated on your personalized dashboard in real-time. You will receive an email when your achievements have been submitted and accepted. You will receive notification almost immediately for submitted volunteer hours and blood donations. You can expect to receive notification within seven (7) business days for your referral.  You should allow several weeks for review of your Leaders Save Lives blood drive.

  • Are all members of the program eligible for the scholarship?

    The scholarship opportunity is open to members who are 16 years of age or older; are enrolled in their senior year of high school; will graduate at the completion of their senior year; will continue education the subsequent fall semester at an accredited college, university or professional trade school; and have completed the program requirements. Immediate family members of Red Cross employees, or Red Cross employees are not eligible. Review the terms and conditions for complete details.

  • How is the scholarship awarded?

    The scholarship winners will be chosen through a random raffle for everyone who has qualified. All achievements must be submitted through your profile no later than 11:59 pm on May 31. The random drawing will be conducted in early June. Winners will be notified by telephone and/or email. Any selected winner who cannot be contacted or fails to respond to any message within three business days may be declared ineligible.


    The winner must specify their college, university or accredited trade school at the time the scholarship is awarded. Winners must grant the Red Cross permission to use their name, photograph and/or voice for publicity purposes without additional compensation, notice, review or approval. They will be required to sign an affidavit of eligibility, liability release and publicity release within seven calendar days of notification. If the documents are not returned in a timely manner, if the scholarship is returned as non-deliverable or if a winner is found to be ineligible or not in compliance with the official rules, the scholarship may be forfeited and awarded to an alternate eligible entrant.

  • When will I receive my recommendation letter?

    If your tier achievement status indicates Tier 3, you have qualified to receive a recommendation letter. Please note that you should allow for 10 days after submitting your referrals for them to be reviewed and approved. If your referrals are not published, you will receive an email notification informing you.


    You can expect to receive your recommendation letter within one (1) month of your last achievement being approved and published. A detailed schedule is below. You will receive five (5) identical copies of the letter, which will be personalized for the member, not the addressee (i.e., all letters will be addressed “To Whom It May Concern,” not the names of a specific university) and sealed for delivery to the institution for which they are intended. We will do our best to ensure letters are received in time to meet application deadlines, but cannot guarantee delivery by a specific date. If a timeline is required, please contact us by email at HighSchoolLeadership@redcross.org.


    Please note the mailing times listed below are estimates only and may vary depending on your location.


    Achievement Deadline              Letters Mailed                           Estimated Arrival to Students

    September 1, 2016                     September 13, 2016                   September 23, 2016

    October 1, 2016                         October 17, 2016                       October 27, 2016

    November 1, 2016                      November 14, 2016                    November 24, 2016

    December 1, 2016                      December 12, 2016                    December 22, 2016

    January 1, 2017                         January 16, 2017                       January 26, 2017

    February 1, 2017                        February 23, 2017                      March 5, 2017

    March 1, 2017                           March 13, 2017                          March 23, 2017

    April 1, 2017                              April 17, 2016                            April 27, 2017

    May 1, 2017                              May 15, 2017                            May 25, 2017

    June 1, 2017                             June 12, 2017                            June 22, 2017

  • When will I receive my Red Cross Red Cord?

    If your achievement status indicates Tier 1, you have qualified to receive a leadership packet. Your leadership packet will include a thank you note from the Red Cross along with a keepsake pin and the Red Cross Red Cord. The ability to wear the cord during graduation ceremonies is strictly at the discretion of the school administration. If your school will not allow a cord, but will allow a lapel pin, you may request a Red Cross Red Cord Pin by email at HighSchoolLeadership@redcross.org.

    The cords will be processed according to the following schedule – please note that arrival time to students is an estimate and may vary depending on where you live:

    Achievement Reporting Deadline Red Cords Mailed Estimated Arrival to Students
    March 1, 2017 March 20, 2017 March 30, 2017
    April 1, 2017 April 17, 2017 April 27, 2017
    April 14, 2017 April 24, 2017 May 4, 2017
    April 21, 2017 May 1, 2017 May 11, 2017
    May 1, 2017 May 15, 2017 May 25, 2017
    May 10, 2017 May 22, 2017 June 1, 2017
    May17, 2017 May 29, 2017 June 8, 2017
    May 25, 2017 June 6, 2017 June 16, 2017
    June 1, 2017 June 12, 2017 June 22, 2017
    June 7, 0217 June 19, 2017 June 29, 2017
  • Can I opt out of participating in the recognition portions of the website?

    Yes. If you would prefer that your achievements not post on the public portions of the website, you can choose to opt-out. You can choose to opt-out of all sharing when you create your profile, or you can opt-out when you post your achievements.