Sweden is self sufficient in blood products, but dependent of new blood donors. There are more than 410,000 registered donors in the country (5 % of the population). About 260,000 of those donors donate blood at least once a year. The problem occurs in the summertime (Jul-Aug), when Sweden’s hospitals are suffering a shortage of blood. Midsummer weekend is traditionally one of the busiest weekends for traveling and a busy time for hospitals as road accidents are common. In Stockholm, the demand is about 100 litres of blood a day and they are provided blood from 40,000 donors (3 % of the municipality’s inha-bitants). To meet the demand, Stockholm Blood Centre had focused on communication to get existing donors to donate more often in its five bloodbuses and five blood centers. In the end of 2009, we tried a complementary strategy, to approach new donors by using the periodically predictable shortage in the upcoming summer 2010 as a call for action.
To lower the threshold for new donors and to increase interest for media and new donors, we created a digital platform and a new service. We connected the database for the blood bank in Stockholm, which provide the real-time statistics for different blood groups to the hospitals, with a new website we named bliblodgivare.nu (become a blood donor now). The visitors could now actually see the blood bank status in real-time, book an appointment at their nearest bloodbank, and share their generous gesture on Facebook. We also created a new ”tandem service”, so that people that had scheduled an appointment at website could invite/recruit a friend to join him/her at the blood central.
With the website as a base for all communication, the PR activities can now benefit from the site by letting journalists check the shortage/status, and get stories of blood giving/blood receiving Stockholmers.
The timing for the launch of the website and service couldn’t have been better. In 2010, the blood shor-tage occurred as early as in May. This unfortunately forced larger hospitals like Uppsala University Hospital to suspend operations until more blood was found. Blood banks across the country are crying out for donors in order to prepare for the pending increase in demand. Chief physicians said Sweden needed as many as 15-20 % more donors. As this become a reality it caused a huge media stir, and all journalists’ eyes turned to Stockholm – and to the new website.
The website and the blood shortage in Stockholm quickly became the symbol for the nations blod shortage in media, and the site became established as a source for information for journalists and the public. Brämhults, a Royal Warrant Holder for juice in Sweden, created a campaign where new donors in Stockholm who gave blood got a bottle of blood orange juice in return.
Today, the site has a conversion rate of 5,71 % (visitors that book a blood centre appointment). The total increase of blood donors in Stockholm scheduled through the website alone is 2,5 %.
The Swedish Blood Centre, which organizes 90 blood centres, is now developing a new website to show real-time statistics for blood shortage nationwide, with bliblodgivare.nu as a model.