Do Something Meaningful with Your Time - Reasons Dayna Serves the Red Cross
Updated: Sep 23
Dayna Carpenter is a professional fundraiser, a busy mom and a cancer survivor. She recently joined the Board of Directors for the Central Iowa Red Cross because she wants to make the most of her time through service to others. She answered some questions for us about why she joined our mission and what volunteering means for her.
What interested you in becoming a Red Cross Central Iowa Chapter board member? And how long have you served on the board?
I joined the board in June of 2021. I had been diagnosed with breast cancer just as the pandemic was starting. Going through treatments made me aware of the need for blood donations. While I never needed an transfusion, I was around a lot of people who did, and as a patient, whether or not you need a blood transfusion isn't something that you can plan on. When I recovered from active treatments - I knew that I wanted to do something meaningful with the time I have left (whether that's months or years or decades) and the Red Cross felt like a great fit.
What company or organization do you represent on the board and what does that representation mean to you?
I work as a professional fundraising consultant with Ruffalo Noel Levitz, a firm based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. As a fundraiser, it's meaningful to me to be able to give back to my community with my time and talent. I've enjoyed collaborating with Red Cross staff in encouraging others to give back through personal gifts and event sponsorships. Employees of my company are distributed throughout the United States and I like to think that while I'm supporting the Central Iowa chapter - my sharing of opportunities and events might inspire someone to get involved in their region, too.
How do you spend your free time?
I spend my free time exploring Iowa and checking out fun new activities and restaurants with my beautiful three-year-old daughter, my husband and our dog. We love being outside! In addition to volunteering with the Red Cross, I sit on the board of Can Do Cancer, a local nonprofit organization that supports women in Des Moines, Ames, and the surrounding areas who are navigating breast cancer.
What is a Red Cross moment that has stuck with you? Or, what does being a Red Cross board member mean to you?
This past Christmas, I volunteered as a greeter for a blood drive at the Des Moines Red Cross building. I was so moved by the number of people who came in to donate blood. It was just days before the holiday and they were making time in their day to roll up their sleeves, give blood and provide others with the gift of life. Some of them shared their reasons "why" - because they knew there was a need, to give back to others and to honor friends and family. My husband joined me as a volunteer and we hope to make volunteering at a holiday drive an annual tradition.
How would you encourage friends and family to get involved with the American Red Cross?
I would encourage my friends and family to take a few minutes to visit the Red Cross website. Read up on some of their services. The Red Cross is involved in so many activities at so many levels that there is absolutely something that you can get involved in to meet your time and interests while you support your community.
Is there anything else you would like to add about your service to the Red Cross?
It's important and eye-opening to realize all of the things that the Red Cross does. It's not just blood drives. It's teaching important skills like swimming, CPR, and first aid; it's installing smoke detectors; it's providing for families who have lost their homes to fire; it's supporting communities devastated by natural disasters, and so much more. When you volunteer or donate to the Red Cross, your support is felt locally, nationally and globally. How many organizations can you give to with such a broad impact? It feels like a good investment.