Get involved with National Blood Donor Month

Donating blood is an easy and important way to help out communities in need. In honor of National Blood Donor Month, businesses may want to ramp up their participation with blood drives. Getting involved would not only be a good deed done, it could also serve as a great way to improve employee morale and get companies’ names out to the public.

Participation could be as simple or as sophisticated as companies want, ranging from rewarding blood donors with promotional items to hosting their own blood drive. Either way, every drop makes a difference.

The situation 
Blood needs in the U.S. may appear overwhelming. According to the American Red Cross, more than 41,000 blood donations are needed daily, with an average of three pints given for a red blood cell transfusion. A person in a car accident could require as many as 100 pints of blood. Yet, blood donations aren’t just for one-time emergencies. People living with sickle cell disease can find themselves needing blood transfusions their entire lives. People with cancer often require blood during chemotherapy treatments. More than 70,000 people in the U.S. live with sickle cell disease, while 1.6 million people were diagnosed with cancer in the last year, the nonprofit organization reported.

Many people are already donating blood, yet the U.S. as a whole still has the potential to donate a lot more. Approximately 15.7 million blood donations are made in the U.S. in a year, due to a population of 9.2 million blood donors. Yet, that’s less than 10 percent of the U.S. population – Some 38 percent of the U.S. population is thought to be eligible. Common reasons for not donating are that people don’t like needles or they haven’t given it any thought.

A time of need
Winter is a particularly difficult time for blood banks and people in need. According to the Association of Donor Recruitment Professionals, blood is often in short supply during the winter due to a number of issues that result in poor donor turnout. Busy holidays and travel schedules combined with bad weather and illness mean that people are less likely to find the time to donate blood, putting the nation’s supply at a dangerous low.

Making a difference
Donating blood is safe and easy. Donors need only to meet basic height, weight and age minimums, in addition to receiving a clean bill of health. Donating, according to the Red Cross, is a four-step process of registering, supplying a medical history and a mini-physical, donating and enjoying refreshments after the procedure. Blood can be donated every 56 days; platelets can be donated every 7 days, 24 times a year; and plasma every 28 days, 13 times a year. The American Red Cross, which supplies roughly 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply to thousands of hospitals across the country, mostly through mobile blood drives, can help people and businesses set up blood drives

Businesses should always be looking for new marketing strategies. Blood drives provide a special opportunity to promote brands while doing good for others in those companies’ communities. Offering promo items as rewards for donating blood has a small cost with a lot of potential benefits both for blood banks, as well as organizations forming customer relationships. Businesses can promote giveaways in-store or launch an online social media campaign to raise awareness of National Blood Donor Month and possible rewards.

Companies can even promote blood drives among their own employees – the act of promoting a good could contribute to a positive company culture. Additionally, businesses may want to consider hosting their own blood drive, which can be done with the help of the Red Cross.

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