Blood service in Sweden has come up with an awesome idea to encourage blood donations. Every time one’s blood helps save a life, the donor gets a text message.
With the decreasing rates in new volunteers in the developed world, this idea is a good way to attract more people to donate blood. According to the British NHS Blood and Transplant organization, the number of new blood donors in the UK has reduced by 40% during the last 10 years and the blood stocks are at risk of running low. In fact, a similar decline is observed in many developed countries, including Sweden.
This is what inspired the Blodcentralen blood service, based in Stockholm, to launch a text messaging program to update donors on the status of their blood. According to the creators of this initiative, such updates give donors a feeling that they made a real difference and saved someone’s life and thus encourage them to donate blood again in the future.
“We are constantly trying to develop ways to express [donors’] importance,” Karolina Blom Wiberg of the Blodcentralen told The Independent. “We want to give them feedback on their effort, and we find this is a good way to do that.”
First of all, the donors get a “thank you” text message when they give blood. Then, they receive more messages every time their blood is used to treat a patient. At the same time, some facilities also display the status of the blood stocks, letting people know how much blood is left, which is also helpful in encouraging people to donate their blood.
“Our challenge is to make the public and especially the blood donators understand just how important their contribution is,” Blom Wiberg said.
Thanks to a positive feedback during the last three years when the program has been working, it is now being used in blood donation services all over Sweden. Moreover, it also has attracted much attention on the social media.
“We get a lot of visibility in social media and traditional media thanks to the SMS. But above all we believe it makes our donors come back to us and donate again,” Blom Wiberg added.
Thus, this simple idea has proven effective in boosting blood donations. It’s all because many people find it important to know that they have made a difference and have changed someone’s life and the world, so why not to help them acknowledge their efforts and inspire them to continue doing good for others? I hope other countries will follow the example of Sweden in an attempt to face the decline in blood donation rates.