How To Save Organs and Lives--With Tech and Cheekiness


by Amy-Willard Cross

Every day 20 Americans die for lack of an organ transplant.

It’s possible to fix that.

How?  The same way we found all our elementary school friends, synced our iPods and and tracked our fitness through bracelets and shoes.  Tech, glorious tech.  If it can make the nerds of high school into the coolest gods in America 3.0, tech can certainly help save lives.

And Jenna Arnold is going to do that.  Along with Greg Segal, Arnold has co-founded whose goal is to revolutionize the unwieldy organ donation process and bring efficiencies to the entire process.  That means getting more healthy organs into more sick bodies—without 52 different state authorities, faxes and phone calls.  Arnold was brought into the issue by Segal, whose father finally received a heart transplant at the "11th hour and 59th minute."

Arnold and Organize will also bring edginess, cheekiness and sexiness to something mired in do-not-think-about-it death and gruesomeness.  Since the whole idea of organ donation can be uncomfortable, ORGANize will re-spin the whole process.  Arnold’s got a whole bunch of arrows in her quiver:  brand activation, best practices, linking through Facebook and clever marketing strategy.

And they’ll be launching at Sundance—yes the snowy but glam movie capital of the Mormon state, which by the way, has the best stats on organ donation.  

This 30-something can probably pull it off.  Arnold did manage to create a hit show for MTV based on the unlikely mixture of spoiled teens and indigenous world cultures which has sold in dozens of countries.  It’s a feat few professional TV veterans can match.  She was also the youngest American U.N. employee and helped match celebs to global issues.  With a formal background in foreign policy, she also started a content creation firm that advised both brands and 501c3s.


So why would Arnold leave all-around world-saving efforts for the decidedly unglamorous world of organ donation? After consulting with an organ group as a client, Arnold says,  “within six months, it became clear we could solve the problem in a couple of years with a few simple solutions.”  Whereas all the other issues she dealt with: poverty, domestic violence, climate change, “It’s hard to see the needle move.  This is one we can solve and see solved and walk away in a few years.”  

The First Goal:  Increase number of people registered.   Right now, the only place to register is the DMV.  Why not at college or the doctor’s office?

The Second Goal: Build tech or a database registry that will tallow state registries to share info and track people across the country.

Arnold explains, “I’m registered to vote in a swing state, but if something happens to me in California, my formal name is Jen Arnold, I could be listed with my married name, you can’t query every individual state…every hour that passes to get the consent of the deceased individual, the harder it is.”


Imagine the appeal.

You can make your mark on the world with just your signature, and you can save up to nine people.  You don’t even have to write a check.  Just sign your name.

Arnold and Organize plan to that tap into the next generation of change agents-- the people who came out for Obama in 2008.


The best thing:  you won’t get constant appeals to write checks.

You give your signature once and you’re a donor—until death do you part.  More like, brain death and your organs do part. 

And when they do, you'll be giving life elsewhere.

Check on the slideshow, below, for the statistics. It might change your mind about organ donation.



Editor Amy-Willard Cross is ashamed to say she has a partially completed organ donation card that she hasn't handed in.


main image:  gak via flickr