It’s National Blood Week, and this year we are focusing on recruiting more young blood donors and welcoming back lapsed donors……
National Blood Week is here! We’re keeping up the momentum of 2012 when we successfully coped with the challenges of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The theme this year is, Know Blood, Give Blood, and it’s all about encouraging new and returning donors to step forward and give blood. We know there has been a 23 per cent drop in active donors over the last decade. We want more people, especially young people, to come forward and also to welcome back those who want to return to donating. The NHS needs 200,000 new registered blood donors every year to keep donor levels stable and research shows that a lack of knowledge about the process could be holding people back from giving blood. So this year’s National Blood Week (June 10th–16th) aims to open up every aspect of blood donation, the facts, the figures, and the did-you-knows.
Registered donors often go many months between donations. For example, of people who have given blood, 72 per cent last donated more than two years ago. Meanwhile nine per cent of people say they don’t have time to give blood. You can see the challenge we face, but we are confident we can change donors’ behaviour, especially if our active donors help us to spread the word. We’ve been encouraged by the huge success of our 100,000 new donors in 100 days campaign. We were concerned at falling numbers of young donors and set ourselves a target to find 100,000 new donors in 100 days, focusing on 17- 24-year-olds.
The campaign launched on November 7th. We teamed up with the cast of Hollyoaks and Red or Dead designer Wayne Hemingway, who produced limited edition t-shirts with the slogans “Blood Brother” or “Blood Sister”. There was national and local media coverage plus plenty of social media activity, including a Twitter competition#100k100days with specially designed t-shirts as prizes.
We had celebrity endorsements from Amanda Holden and Jack Whitehall on Twitter whilst videos were posted online from McFly’ s Tom Fletcher and Britain’s Got Talent finalists, boy band Reconnected. To our delight we reached the target two weeks early, but we kept on with the push and by the end of the 100th day, February 14th 2013, 119,907 new donors had been registered. But there is still more to be done.
A big thank you to everyone – those who signed up, who spread the word, our staff, the celebrities who got involved and the general public for their support. Now we want the same for National Blood Week! NHSBT’s Jon Latham says,
“We’re delighted with our successful campaign work over the last year and want this National Blood Week to keep the momentum going and be bigger and better than ever. We need to recruit new donors, in particular young ones, to ensure a healthy donor base and blood supply for the future. There are also lots of donors who do not donate regularly or have donated a few times and then stopped and we’d love to welcome these people back to regularly donate.”
During National Blood Week we’ll be running recruitment events across England and North Wales and working hard to secure media coverage and to get people talking about blood donation on Facebook and Twitter. Also look out for our exciting partnership with Paramount Pictures. We have teamed up with them to ‘Help Save Humanity’ in advance of the much anticipated film, World War Z, hitting cinemas on 21 June.
A gift that costs nothing
In November last year we decided to capitalise on the Christmas spirit and urged people to “Give the Gift That Costs Nothing, Give Blood”. The result was just over 2,000 new donors signed up. Then In March we launched “Step Up, Sign Up, Share”, a special activity week to recruit new young donors. There were events at colleges and other venues across the country, and more 2,400 donors signed up. We encouraged our new donors to share their experience through their Facebook and Twitter accounts.