by George Taniwaki

Some of you may be familiar with the story of Chaya Lipschutz. In 2005, she donated her kidney to a stranger after reading an ad in the newspaper. Afterwards she started a free kidney matchmaker service. Among the ways she helps her clients find a donor is through the use of classified ads. Below is a typical Craigslist ad she ran for one of her clients.


A typical kidney matchmaker Craigslist ad. Image from Chaya Lipschutz

Items to include in the ad

The key points that make this simple posting a winning ad are:

  1. A catchy headline
  2. Emphasis that donating a kidney may save a life
  3. Description of the problem (what your life as a patient is like)
  4. Statement that live donation is generally safe
  5. If the patient has O-blood type, request a matching donor (otherwise this isn’t important, unmatched blood type donors can enter a kidney exchange)
  6. Call to action (remember to take it one step at a time, you want the reader to commit to getting tested at the transplant center, do not ask to commit to the actual donation)
  7. A photo of the patient (in this case of the matchmaker) that is well-lit, in focus, and showing a sincere smile

Posting an ad on Craigslist

To post a classified ad seeking a kidney donor on Craigslist, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure you have an email address that works so that you can communicate with any responders to the ad
  2. Point your web browser to
  3. If this is your first time at the site, you will need to select a city, state, country
  4. If this is your first time at the site, you will need to create an account, which will require an email address and a password (do not use the same password that you use to log into your email account) Verification of your account will be sent to your email address
  5. From the main page, select post to classifieds
  6. Under What type of posting is this, select community
  7. Under category, select volunteers
  8. Under choose the area nearest you, select your city (don’t worry about this, your ad will be visible to all users)
  9. On the classified ad form, under posting title, type in the catchy headline
  10. Under specific location, type in the city your transplant center is in
  11. Under reply to, type in your email address and select anonymize
  12. Under posting description, type in the details of your need
  13. No NOT select “ok for other to contact you…”
  14. DO select “OK to distribute this charitable volunteerism opportunity…”
  15. When everything looks ok, click Continue
  16. On the image upload page, click Browse… and select any images from your hard drive you want to include
  17. When you have finished, click Done with images
  18. On the confirmation page, check your ad. If it looks correct, click  Publish (or Continue)
  19. You will receive an email, click on the link
  20. On the Terms of Use page, click Accept the terms of use
  21. Your post is now on Craigslist. If you need edit, delete, or update your listing, simply log into your account


To learn more about Chaya Lipschutz and her effort to match kidney patients with potential donors, visit Ms. Lipschutz is very enthusiastic about helping patients and about recruiting kidney donors and it shows in the design of her website.

Thanks to Harvey Mysel of Living Kidney Donors Network for pointing out this classified ad to me. For more ideas on finding a donor, see my Kidney patient guide.