The importance of donating blood is well-known. The American Red Cross estimates that someone in the U.S. needs blood every two seconds. Along with platelet, plasma and double red cell, blood donation benefits a huge number of people, as more than 41,000 donations are needed every day. It’s a great way for you and your company to give back, but how can you get everyone to participate?

Employee Incentives for Blood Donation

Donors are classified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as being either paid or volunteer donors. Whatever your method of incentivizing, remember that not all employees will — or be able to — participate. Certain medical conditions and religious beliefs prohibit some people from donating blood, so if incentives are available, you should offer alternative methods for ineligible employees to earn the same thing. Perhaps they can help spread the word or recruit others, be the point of contact for scheduling, or supply food and juice to donors.

With that said, a Johns Hopkins University study showed that, by simply offering a $10 gift card to donors and volunteers as a token of appreciation, participation increased by 52 percent. Check out some other unique and enticing incentives companies are using to encourage participation:

  • Two hours paid time off for donating/volunteering, with an additional two hours paid time off for each family member or friend that donates on the employee’s behalf.
  • Free breakfast or lunch to donors/volunteers.
  • The winning department of a competition across the company with the most donors/volunteers gets time off or free meals.
  • Repeat incentives that increase throughout the year, culminating with a year-end grand prize (some companies have offered a free night at a local hotel or resort).

As you can see, there are many options to encourage your employees to participate in blood donation. Remember that, as the employer, it starts with you! If you can’t participate in the drive itself, be a visible and integral part of the event’s planning and facilitation. Additionally, utilize the resources available through the American Red Cross, outlining how to host a blood drive at your workplace.

Whether you and your employees all donate or not, you can still devote time and effort to the cause. Encouraging an employee blood drive helps save lives, shows a commitment to the community and creates a feeling of contribution and camaraderie among everyone involved.