As an RN, I'm ashamed that I have not donated blood, after giving blood transfusions and witnessing firsthand what blood can do for someone in need. Reading “The Growing Need for Diverse Blood Donors” (July) prompted me to ask myself, “Why have I never donated?” My answers included lack of time, lack of knowledge about supply versus demand, and inefficient advertising. I imagine others have similar reasons and addressing these issues could boost diverse donor numbers and donations in general.
As a millennial, I am aware that my generation has not followed in the footsteps of previous generations where blood donation is concerned. We didn't grow up in a time of war when blood supply was threatened, and therefore we never experienced a big push for donations. This puts our country at a disadvantage as the health of the baby boomer generation declines. As a nation, we will have to be more diligent if we are to avoid a major blood supply crisis.
I believe that increasing the number of diverse donors lies in using advertising tactics to target younger donors. The younger generation thrives on being able to share experiences with as many people as they can, as quickly as possible. Social media provides this opportunity and advertising tactics should be focused there. Clever slogans, memes, hashtags, and “checking in” could all be used to gain fresh recruits. If success is achieved in reaching and retaining this generation, the benefit will be a secure blood supply for many years to come.
Overall, I do not believe that the U.S. population needs to be convinced to donate; they just need to know that there is a demand, and that they are able to supply that demand. Your article has inspired me to volunteer my time and resources to host a blood drive in my community. I encourage readers to explore unique recruitment strategies, host their own blood drive, or simply give blood—often and regularly.
Heather Lawrence, RN