Helping Increase Blood Donations in the US

By Hema Budaraju, Product Director, Health

Update on June 11, 2020 at 12:01AM PT: 

COVID-19 has led to blood shortages around the world. To help, we’re expanding our Blood Donations feature on Facebook to connect more people to their local blood banks, so they know when there is a shortage and where it is safe to donate. 

Screenshots of the Blood Donations feature

Now, the Blood Donations feature is available in South Africa, Senegal, Kenya, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and Egypt as well as the US, India, Brazil, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Since we launched the Blood Donations feature in 2017, over 70 million people have signed up to be blood donors on Facebook. And in a pilot program in Pakistan, the Ministry of Health reported that three out five blood banks found more than half of their blood donors through Facebook. You can learn more about how this feature helps blood banks and hospitals here.

We’re also working with partners in India and Brazil to connect people with more local blood banks and hospitals through the Blood Donations feature. And in the US, we’re excited to announce a new partnership with AABB to connect people to hospital blood banks.

Map of Blood Donations feature around the world

Originally Published on June 12, 2019 at 4:00AM PT:

Every two seconds, someone in the US needs blood, and one donation can potentially save three lives. However, blood banks in the US are seeing a decline in blood donors.

To help raise awareness and make it easier for people to find opportunities to donate, we’re launching our Blood Donations feature in the US today. We’ll start in Chicago, New York City, San Francisco Bay Area, Baltimore and Washington, DC, and will roll out nationwide over the coming months. To start, we’re working with partners including America’s Blood Centers, the American Red Cross, Inova, New York Blood Center, Rock River Valley Blood Center, Stanford Blood Center, Versiti, and Vitalant.

“Tens of thousands of blood donors are needed each day across the US to transform the lives of patients requiring blood transfusions,” said Mitzy Edgecomb, vice president of marketing and communications at Vitalant. “Summer and winter are notoriously difficult times for collecting enough blood donations, but the need does not stop and can even rise due to increased travel, activity, adverse weather events and cold and flu season among other factors.”

Blood Donations on Facebook

Since 2017, Facebook has partnered with blood donation centers around the world to help increase the number of donors. More than 35 million people have signed up to be blood donors on Facebook in Bangladesh, Brazil, India and Pakistan where this feature is available. Blood donation centers in India and Brazil found that 20% of people said that Facebook influenced their decision to donate blood, according to in-person surveys conducted at partner blood banks.

“Through our partnership with Facebook, individuals will be able to conveniently find and connect with their local blood center to help meet the ongoing need for a diverse pool of blood donors in the US and share their experiences and the importance of blood donation,” said Kate Fry, chief executive officer at America’s Blood Centers. “By encouraging blood donation as a way of life, each of us can assure that the more than 30,000 pints of blood used daily throughout the country is available.”

FB donor sign up page

How It Works

Starting today, people can sign up to be a blood donor on Facebook by going to Blood Donations in the About section of their profile. When blood donation centers need donors, they can request donations and send notifications to those nearby who have signed up. People will be able to see requests and opportunities to donate on Blood Donations on Facebook.

FB blood donations hub

World Blood Donor Day

June 14 marks World Blood Donor Day, a day founded by the World Health Organization to thank blood donors for donating and to raise awareness of the need for regular blood donations to ensure communities everywhere have access to safe blood. To commemorate the day, we’re hosting blood drives in some of our offices and running awareness campaigns in Brazil and India.

To help draw attention to the fact that there are not enough blood donors nationwide, we’re partnering on the Missing Types campaign with the American Red Cross and Vitalant. We’ll post information on several of our channels to engage our community and drive awareness about the need for blood donors.

FB Missing Types campaign logo
Facebook is partnering on the Missing Types campaign to highlight the importance of donating blood and reinforce the need for donors nationwide.

“We are grateful to Facebook for supporting the Missing Types campaign, which underscores the critical need for blood donors,” said Cliff Numark, senior vice president, American Red Cross. “This campaign comes at exactly the right time, as busy summer schedules make it extremely challenging to sign up sufficient blood donors. And Facebook’s new blood donation feature makes it even easier to make a lifesaving donation.”

We hope that bringing the Blood Donations feature to the US will make people more aware of the ongoing need for donations and that communities come together to help ensure everyone has access to safe blood when they need it.

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