News - March, 2006

LogoBee Interviews David Undis, Founder and Director of Lifesharers

"LifeSharers is certainly an ingenious idea to increase the number and availability of organ donors. The more members it has, the more organ donors there will be and fewer people in need of organs will be unable to get them."

-Milton Friedman, Nobel Laureate in Economics

Introduction - was one of the lucky winners of the Logo Design Makeover contest held by LogoBee logo design earlier this year. LifeSharers is a non-profit organization that was created to help encourage organ donation through its innovative sharing network. Dave Undis, founder and executive director of the organization was kind enough to set aside some time to be interviewed about their organization and the logo design project.

LogoBee - 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 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 you'll have fewer people throwing their organs away when they die, and this will save thousand of lives every year.

LogoBee - That's a pretty ambitious project you have going.

Dave - Thank you, I suppose it is.

LogoBee - I understand that you're the founder of LifeSharers. I'm 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 "Logo Design Makeover Contest" you entered with LogoBee?

Dave - Of course. Well first off, I love the logo design. 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 designer's 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 we're glad you enjoyed the design process. And I think I read that you didn't really have a logo before winning LogoBee's Logo Design Makeover, so it must be a big change for you.

Dave - Correct, we didn't have any kind of a logo design or image before. Our website was just a standard Microsoft template, and it didn't look very good. Now we've got our logo all over our website, promotional materials, stationery, and business cards. We're 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 we're growing at a rate of about 40% per year.

LogoBee - That's great! Do you expect to see similar growth rates in the coming years?

Dave - That's what we're 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 it's 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, we've 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 we're a serious organization, and not just some guy with a website.

LogoBee - Haha! It's true that anyone can be just 'some guy' with a website, so it's nice to have some names that bear some authority put their name to it. But along with all of the positive response that you've generated, there has been a certain amount of criticism of your idea. I'm just wondering where some of that criticism is coming from (if any), and how you are dealing with it?

Dave - Most of the criticism we're getting these days is mainly that what we're doing isn't fair. Some people believe that it's 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 won't donate their own organs is like giving the lottery jackpot to someone who didn't buy a ticket. It just isn't fair. But more important than the fairness issue, if you give organs first to registered organ donors, you're creating an incentive for people to sign up. The way organs are allocated right now in the United States and in Canada, you don't get any benefit for being a registered donor. So, it's no wonder that so many people are refusing to - or just aren't getting around to - signing up. Every time somebody buries a transplantable organ, it's a death sentence for someone else.

LogoBee - That's 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, that's the worst possible time to think about it. I don't 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 they're doing is taking a huge burden off their family. They won't ever have to think about such a difficult subject if it ever comes down to it.

LogoBee - 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 don't mind me adding one more thing, I just want to let everyone know that anybody who wants to join LifeSharers can do so. It's free, and no one is disqualified because of age or medical condition. Just go to our website at, or call our toll-free number at 1-888-ORGAN-88 (1-888-674-2688

LogoBee - So it looks like that's almost a wrap. It's 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. You're doing a real nice thing donating your time and effort to worthy non-profit organizations. I think it's a great thing.

LogoBee - Well that's really nice of you. We're more than happy to do so.