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New App Launched To Boost Blood Donations From Millennials

Brian Bull

Lane Bloodworks, a non-profit blood service in Eugene, is rolling out a new app today that’s intended to increase blood donations from millennials.

A study from transfusion group AABB shows that 60 percent of donated blood comes from people 40 or older. 

Bill Harper, with tech company Degree 37 says it’s not that millennials like him don’t care…

“...a lot of people in the millennial generation don’t exactly know how because blood banks are not communicating with them in mediums they prefer. And frequent.”

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
A Lane Blood Center technican preps a blood donor.

Traditional blood donors respond to phone calls and mail. Millennials prefer texts and social media. Harper describes how the new Bloodworks Northwest App works.

“Users of the app will be able to make appointments for donating blood," says Harper. "Find locations of blood drives near where they live or where they work.

"They’ll be able to know in the palm of their hand their blood type, the number of units they’ve donated, including the number people they’ve impacted.”

For Harper, this push for greater blood donations is personal. Since his leukemia diagnosis eight years ago, he’s received 267 transfusions. 

WEB EXTRA: See an explantory video on how the Bloodworks Northwest App works:

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Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
The Bloodworks Northwest app helps donors know of blood drives near their office or home, reminds them of appointments, and also tracks their donations and number of people who benefited.

Need millennials to donate more blood? As the saying goes, there’s an app for that.

Tech developer Degree 37 has created Bloodworks Northwest, which is being rolled out today by Lane Bloodworks in Eugene. 

Area manager Annette Casper says the app uses texts and reminders in ways that millennials respond to better than older generations. She adds about 60 percent of blood donations come from people aged 40 or older.


“That’s been a major concern," she tells KLCC. "And I think this is why this app is so critical and important.  That it provides that mechanism for that younger generation. That we’re communicating to them in the way that they want to be communicated to.

Credit Degree 37
Degree 37
In this screenshot of the Bloodworks Northwest App, users can track their donations and see what kind of impact they're donated blood, plasma, or platelets are having.

"And it will give them motivation that they need to pick up that torch as the traditional donors start to age out.” 

App users can find blood drives near their home or office, as well as tracking how much blood they give and the number of people helped by their donation.

Copyright 2018, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.