Making blood donation in the USA exciting again

What is the idea at the core of the initiative?

Quite simply, to save hundreds of thousands of lives by making blood donation in the USA, exciting again.

testThe American Red Cross came to the Bournemouth based 3 SIDED CUBE with a challenge, to digitalise the blood donation process within the US.

Blood donation numbers were falling and they were falling fast. Not only is blood critical to the American Red Cross in terms of the amount of lives that they can save, but as blood is bought and sold in the US, it also has a revenue associated to it that was equally being lost by the charity.

The American Red Cross knew that they had to do something to make blood donation feel exciting, life changing and lifesaving. They were sure that digitalising the process was going to play a large part in achieving this. They also felt that an app would offer the potential of a reward system that made donor’s more likely to make a repeat appointment.

So together we created the Blood Donor App.

The most critical factor of the App was that it needed to be made with the donor firmly in mind, in order to prompt a shift from outreach appointment booking, to self service, proactive booking. What would make it easier for the donor to book and manage their appointments? What would make the donor feel rewarded and acknowledged for their efforts? What would entice them back for a repeat donation? How could ARC contact them with only the most targeted and pertinent push notifications? All of these questions were at the heart of the apps creation.

How is this idea new? How has it evolved current thinking?

The creation of the Blood Donor App has completely revolutionised blood donation in the USA. The following factors are the greatest contributing factors in evolving the process:

– The app acts as a digital donor card, displaying blood type and medical ID, so that each Donor’s medical profile can be accessed at arrival to each appointment. This completely eradicates the necessity for a printed donor card, assisting with the American Red Cross’ mission to move to a paperless donation process.

– Appointments can be booked and managed at ease through the app, reducing the number of no show appointments that also cost ARC crucial revenue.

– The show rate for appointments booked through the app are the highest show rates across all channels (phone calls, mobile web, website).

– Once a blood donation has been made, that blood is scanned and can be tracked within the app by the donor throughout each stage of the journey to the hospital in which it is received. This unique process also allows for the recipient of the blood donation to anonymously get in touch with the donor to essentially thank them for saving their life.

– We also implemented a gamified element to the process by introducing badges and rewards that are unlocked by donors after reaching various milestones. For example, donors unlock a badge after their first blood donation, or if they share news of their donation on Facebook. There are also rewards of various monetary values available through the app, that companies have donated to thank donors for their contributions.

– Additionally to this, we built a team element to the app to encourage people to recruit others to donate blood too. There is an associated leaderboard to add a competitive element to the notion of saving lives through blood donation, for rival companies, Universities, States etc.

– We have implemented targeted push notifications so that donors only receive pushes that are relevant to their location and blood group. For example, if there is a shortage of O- blood type in New York, only users who fit this criteria will be targeted. This means that donors will never feel bombarded with irrelevant content and are more likely to remain engaged.

The Blood Donor app has been crafted around the user and the donor is at the heart of the process making it an entirely radicalised process. The donor is always made acutely aware of the impact of their donation crafting a much needed feedback and recognition loop of what their donation has achieved and who it has helped.

Has the activity met the business objectives – increased sales, market share or fundraising?

Since the launch of the Blood Donor app we have:

Had a total of 322,477 appointments booked through the app.

This equates to a total of 970,000 lives being saved through the app.

As each unit of blood has a revenue associated to it, these appointments have also vastly increased the revenue made by the American Red Cross through blood donations.

The app has moved the donation drive from an outreach service (cold calling from costly call centres) to self service, proactive booking of appointments by donors, which was a huge object for the American Red Cross.

What did the project mean to the target audience? How did they participate, react or respond? Has there been a shift in brand perception? How did the initiative have an impact in the category area?

Through placing the donor at the heart of our App experience we have:

– Won a Webby Award for the Blood Donor App naming it the Best Health App in the World.

– Managed to increase donor appointment show rates from 59.8% to 71.1%.

– Topped the US Apple Charts, making us the Number Medical App in the United States.

– In addition to this 25,000 new appointments are booked each month and that number is increasing consistently.

– The targeted push notification keep users engaged as they are only ever receiving the most pertinent information regarding their location and blood type.