Giving blood is pretty simple: Whip out your arm, give a pint, have a cookie, head home. But have you ever wondered where those little red blood cells end up? Hopefully they save the life of someone at a nearby hospital, but wouldn’t you like to know? Well, if you're Swedish, you probably do know. That’s because the Swedish blood bank sends a text message to its donors whenever their blood is used!
The truth is, donation rates in Sweden were lagging, so the national blood bank decided to tap into our innate and never-ending desire for ‘gold stars’. In 2012, they launched a campaign that sends donors updates on their blood's whereabouts, as well as reminders of when to donate. Wannabe donors can also opt in to receive aggressive prompts to start giving blood. One text reads: “We won’t give up until you bleed”. Essh. Whatever works, right?
Here's a quick summary on why donating your red juice is so important: There are 4 types of blood: A, B, AB and O, each with a positive and negative version. The celebrity of blood types is O (positive and negative). O negative is often called the universal blood type, because it can be used on almost anyone - making it very popular in the ER. O positive is the most common blood type (38% of the population have this blood) and it can be given to anyone with a positive blood type. Although these two types get a lot of 'press', all blood types are special and hospitals rely on the public's donations to save lives. But because donations are optional, blood banks sometimes struggle to collect enough.
Sweden's text campaign isn't the only time a blood bank has used incentives to recruit new donors. In 2008, the Red Cross offered the chance to win a $1,000 gift card to anyone who donated.
With the coronavirus perhaps deterring donors from giving, the need for our blood is even greater. To be honest, the only incentive we've ever needed was the free cookies. Delish.
Image by Arek Socha