Asking Someone to Be a Living Donor: Say It in Writing

More than 50 percent of the people who are waiting for a kidney transplant never ask anyone to donate. These people may think that they don’t have enough information about living donation, or they may feel too mentally and physically exhausted. Our tools, and the support of family and friends, will make it easier to communicate the need for a living kidney donor.


Say It in Writing


Writing a letter or email or creating a flier to post or send to people are good ways to reach out to potential donors. Important information to include:

  • The patient’s story, explaining the situation
  • Information about living donation
  • Always include the link to our online living donor inquiry form by using the url This is the best way for us to quickly help these people. People who do not have access to a computer may call (608) 263-1384 for help completing the form over the phone.

Following is a sample letter that you could adapt for an email or flier. You can download a Word version and edit it for your needs.


Sample letter

I am writing to share an update on my health, and to ask for your support and help. I have kidney disease. (you can put in more information about your health here, as you like.)

To survive, I will either have to start dialysis treatments and/or get a kidney transplant. Dialysis treats my kidney disease by cleaning my blood. I would have to go to the dialysis center for about four hours, three times a week, for these treatments. Dialysis can be really hard on people, physically and emotionally. A kidney transplant can come from someone who has died (a deceased donor) or from a healthy living donor. To receive a deceased donor, I would get added to the transplant wait list. The average waiting time is 2-3 years. A living donor can be a family member, friend, or anyone who is healthy and volunteers to donate. They do not have to have my same blood type. My doctors at UW Health said the best option for me is a kidney transplant from a living kidney donor. A transplant from a living donor can last twice as long and the transplant can happen sooner, sometimes in a few months. This would spare me years of dialysis, and help me get back to my normal activities much faster. (You can place the link to your ‘caring connection’ or ‘lotsa helping hands’ site here. Or, you can add more information about how you are feeling, and what you are hoping to get back to doing after transplant.)

I hope that you will consider being a living kidney donor for me.

Living kidney donors:

  • must be healthy people who volunteer to donate
  • go through a medical evaluation, including education about risks/benefits
  • can change their minds any time, no questions asked
  • are generally back to normal activities 4-6 weeks after the surgery
  • are covered by my insurance for all costs related to the donation

To learn more, you can read the information at: If you want to speak with my living donation champion (name) please call/email (add their contact info here).


If you would like to be reviewed as a potential living donor, you can complete the form at: If you don’t have access to a computer, call (608) 263-1384 and someone will help you complete the form over the phone.

I never thought I would be asking for this type of help. Please know that I will respect whatever you decide.


Newsletter or Bulletin Sample

Church bulletins or community newsletters are another way to get the message out. Following is a sample post that may be helpful to use:

Living Kidney Donor Needed! Our friend (your name) recently learned that they need a kidney transplant, and that a kidney from a living donor is their best chance of survival. If you are healthy, over age 18 and willing to donate a kidney, please complete the form at If you wish to learn more about living donation, go to If you wish to speak to (champion’s name), (your name) living donor champion, please call (champion’s number) or email (champion’s email).