The New Zealand Blood Service has launched a new app, which has been upgraded with a range of new features to make it easier for New Zealanders to give blood and a heart-warming campaign for World Blood Donor Day, bringing forward people whose lives have been saved from donated blood to say ‘thank you’ to donors.
With the new app, donators can book appointments, access maps of all the blood drives across the country and share when they have donated across social media platforms. Whole blood donors that download the app will also receive a notification when their blood has been used to help save a fellow Kiwi’s life, according the release.
"We had an old app that was developed in 2009 but it had limited functionality," says New Zealand Blood Service national manager marketing and communications Asuka Burge. "We knew there was an opportunity to make something much better, especially with the technological advances that apps have made in the past few years. We conducted an RFP process in 2015, and Sush Mobile was appointed as the developer in December 2015."
Instead of carrying a physical donor ID card, donors arriving at an appointment can now present their ID in the app. Users of the app will also be able to see their blood type, access their donation history and view upcoming appointments via the app.
The days until donors are eligible to donate again will also be shown in the app to provide a reminder.
“Over 50 percent of blood donations are made through mobile blood drives across the country,” Burge says.
“Staying connected with all our donors, not just those that visit a donor centre is vitally important to NZBS. The app was developed in an intuitive way that will enable us to stay connected with all of our donors, creating regular touchpoints that we hope will act as a call to action to continue donating and encourage others to do so as well.”
The new campaign features five survival stories of Kiwis to put a face to the typically anonymous blood donation process.
Milk & Honey created the videos, while Young & Shand created the campaign elements.
The black and white clips feature the survivors telling their stories and thanking the donors who helped save their lives. In some, a survivor's family member appears with them, showing those who would have missed them most if they hadn't been rescued by the donated blood.
"Our blood donors are amazing. They give the gift of life, a part of themselves, to help someone they will never meet. Why? Because they want to help. Donors are very altruistic and so we wanted to show them who they might have helped, and strengthen that bond between donors and recipients," says New Zealand Blood Service national manager marketing and communications Asuka Burge.
"World Blood Donor Day is about thanking blood donors. So what better way than to have people who have received blood or blood products, to thank them directly. We wanted to create that emotional connection and be able to show the amazing positive difference donors have made to other people’s lives. When we did a call out to ask people to come forward who had received blood we had an amazing response – so it provided recipients with the opportunity to thank donors too."
Last year 110,000 New Zealanders donated over 160,000 units of blood, helping to save the lives of over 42,000 ordinary Kiwis. For many, this great act of giving quite simply made the difference between life and death, the release says.
Burge says over the past ten years the number of donors has decreased by over 40,000, but that there are good reasons why it has decreased.
She says over the past couple of years the number of people donating has been a bit more steady. "However, with only 110,000 donors, that's less than four percent of the eligible population. We lose about 27,000 donors a year for a variety of reasons such as donors are retired, they move away, we lose touch or they might have to be deferred for medical conditions. So we need new donors to come on board to ensure we can supply the forecasted demand for plasma in the future."
Burge says in New Zealand we have one of the safest blood supplies in the world. "Our current challenge is keeping up with the demand for plasma, and raising awareness for blood donations."