A program launched this year by Canadian Blood Services provides optional text message updates to people who donate blood.
“The most interesting thing about it is we’re able to provide a message to the donors after their blood has left the building and is on its way to a hospital patient,” said Peter MacDonald, director of donor relations in Atlantic Canada for the organization, in Saint John, N.B.
The Blood Is On Its Way Program was launched on Halloween with 252 messages sent out nationally on that day.
Three messages are sent on different days after the donor’s appointment.
“[The program] will hopefully help build retention of our existing blood donors and another great avenue to make outreach to the next generation of blood donors,” said MacDonald.
The messages, in sequential order, are:
“Thank you for dropping in to Canadian Blood Services! It was a pleasure to see you.”
“Thank you for being part of the movement! Your blood is on its way to give life.”
“As you read this, your blood could be out making new friends. Thanks for giving someone you don’t even know that opportunity.”
According to MacDonald, the program replicates a similar text messaging program in Sweden.
“In the first month, in the month of November, we saw an 89 per cent increase in the number of donors who provided their SMS text number and were interested in the program,” he said.
Ji Lu, an association professor of marketing at Dalhousie University, said the program can make the process seem more transparent and help develop trust between the organization and donors by giving proof their donation is being used.
“The psychological reward, in a way, is that, you really have some confirmation,” Lu said.
Abigail and Martin Lachance said they have donated 55 and 98 times, respectively.
The Dartmouth couple, who donated plasma on Monday in Halifax, said they see merit in the program, even though it won’t change their donation behaviour.
“Anything that’ll motivate people to come in is a good thing, and I think maybe the younger generation might be more swayed by getting the update from text messaging,” said Abigail.
“I think for the people that are not quite sure if they want to do it, it might be a good incentive,” added Martin.
According to Canadian Blood Services, 100,000 new blood donors are needed in 2016.
Watch below: Canadian Blood Services is hoping a new approach will encourage donors to keep giving the gift of life. Emily Mertz explains what’s involved.