Do you depend on Facebook for event notifications, to stay in touch with friends from school, or to look at photos of your grandkids?
You’re not alone: Facebook is the third most-visited website (after Google and YouTube) with 2.4 billion active monthly users, 74% of whom log in every day. 71% of US adults use Facebook.
Now Facebook can alert you when there’s a need for donated blood in your area as easily as letting you know when you’ve been tagged in a photo.
Facebook’s Blood Donation Tool launched in India in 2017 to encourage people to give blood and expanded to select parts of the US on World Blood Donor Day last year.
Around the world, potential blood donors say they don’t give because they don’t know where or how, if they meet the eligibility criteria, or fully understand the need.
In India, blood shortages are common. A large population means lots of donors, but also a higher need. 81 districts lack a blood center, and rural areas – home to 70% of the population – are underserved. Patients’ families are often asked to recruit donors.
In Brazil, the need for blood is on the rise, but fewer than 2% of the population donates – short of WHO’s recommendation of 3%.
And in the US, we know that only 10% of people eligible to give blood donate on a regular basis. Even with thousands of dedicated, regular donors, Bloodworks typically sees shortages in the summer, around holidays, and other times that schools are not in session.
Facebook’s Blood Donation Tool has the potential to be a game changer by allowing Bloodworks to reach people who want to help — but might not follow us or know where to go.
Donors opt in at facebook.com/donateblood/ and receive a notification when a blood center near them needs donations. We encourage you to do so and to share the link with your friends and family; even if they do not live in a community we serve, we are all bound by blood.
There’s a consistent, ongoing need for donated blood, so don’t let opting in to the tool get in the way of your regularly scheduled appointments. If every eligible donor gave every 56 days, blood shortages would be a thing of the past!
However, when the blood supply risks reaching crisis levels, a downward trend we’ve observed more and more often over the past decade, Bloodworks can activate the tool to ask folks living in a seven-mile radius of one of our donor centers to come in and drop off a pint.
We can even target by blood type.
Facebook has long been a great platform for Bloodworks to reach and connect with our online donor community, and we’ve been impressed by the company’s commitment to saving lives with blood donation and beyond in the time of COVID-19.
When the local blood supply was in risk of collapse at the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak in the Greater Seattle Area, Bloodworks’ Facebook contact personally and proactively reached out to us to offer support; though she lived near Facebook’s headquarters in the Bay Area, she previously resided in Redmond, WA and was concerned by what she read in Eastside news.
Facebook’s COVID-19 feature, while not specific to blood donation, updates users with relevant information from trusted public health sources.
And Facebook has hosted a combined 20 blood drives at their Seattle and Redmond campuses, with more than 450 registered donors and 376 units collected – that’s up to 1,128 lives saved.