I’ve been a blood donor since college. As I’ve become busier over the years, the challenge of finding a good time to give gets harder. The Red Cross calls me a lot, trying to remind me and book appointments. Given that the U.S. blood banks keep declining, and that critical need keeps increasing, you’d think that the Red Cross would be doing everything possible to attract new donors and make it easy to give.
Would you be surprised if I told you the opposite was true? If ever there was brand in need of a complete makeover, it’s the Red Cross Blood centers.
Today I walked in as the center opened. There was no other blood donor in sight. I waited 10 minutes while I watched the personnel mill around talking to each other (nothing wrong with that, but it was clear that my time was not that important). I then did the usual: I gave my name, birthday and social and did the normal screening tests. After I filled out long questionnaire, another person came in, asked my name and birthday, and asked other questions. Then she (I’m not kidding) asked my name and birthday again, and asked me more questions.
Then she took me to the actual donation chair and, once again, asked me my name and birthday. Now, she didn’t look like she had a bad memory. When I protested, she said simply “Those are the rules.”
Now, it’s not like I’m making any money on the deal (like they do in Sweden, or so I hear). I’m really not into needles either. I’m trying to do the right thing for something that should be easy and important.
Instead it was more difficult than it should be. It would have been a lot better if I could have done most of the paperwork online, gone in quickly for the tests and donations, and then received something simple like a free song at iTunes for my time. It’s too bad they don’t put some strategy and marketing towards this; we could solve the blood problem in no time.
Maybe next time I’ll just send in a check.