Improving the âfeel goodâ factor with personalised blood donation messages | DMA

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Improving the âfeel goodâ factor with personalised blood donation messages


It’s reasonable to assume that everybody knows the reasons why they should give blood. However, like many good deeds, there is often not nearly enough volunteers and generous souls taking part. According to the Guardian, in 2015 the number of new blood donors dropped by 40% in the UK, meaning NHS Blood and Transplant needed and extra 204,000 people to donate (per year) in order to bring the nation’s blood stock shortfall to a safe level.

I, like many other people, can produce any one of a number of excuses for not doing so - a lack of time, health problems, phobias about needles or a general fear of the procedure. Yet even when people do donate, there can be a disconnect between your contribution and how it has really helped.

In the same Guardian survey of blood donors, it revealed that 56% of respondents felt giving blood made them feel worthwhile, meaning just under half of them don’t. Sure, you can read brochures and see other forms of marketing that inform us how many lives are saved and the types of treatments they are used for – but what role did your blood play? Is it just sat in a fridge somewhere doing nothing?

Fast forward to this year’s National Blood Week, which took place in June, and NHS Blood and Transplant have introduced a new tactic that should both enhance the ‘warm and fuzzy’ feelings and help inspire others to donate: a personalised text message service.

With this new initiative, donors will receive a text message to inform when their blood has been shipped out, and the name of the hospital where it is being sent. Such a service immediately brings home the reality of their contribution and serves a timely reminder of its value to hospital and patients.

Creating a “positive feedback loop” like this is not a new idea. Four years ago, Stockholm-based service Bloodcentralen first launched a donor text service, and its success saw the strategy being rolled out across Sweden.

Bloodcentralen has also taken things a step further, by showing a real-time chart that tracks stock levels for each blood type on its website. The hope being that ordinary donors will be able to discover when stocks are low (something that has only been possible very recently) and help begin a drive through their social media channels.

As far as personalisation tactics go, a thank you message by SMS may seem simple, but receiving an electronic pat on the back after you’ve actually helped save a life is powerful one, as well as an effective use of personal data. Could similar techniques be used for charities and non-profits, to counter donation apathy?

Improving engagement is a challenge in every industry but when goodwill is involved every little helps – not everybody is an altruist, after all. And yes, before you ask, I’ve found my nearest blood donation station and will be booking my appointment after this…

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