Do You Have a Heart of Gold?

Plasma donation isn’t something people know anything about. But a lack of awareness was only the start of our challenge.

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We were asked to recruit 1,000 new plasma donors. Problem was, no one knew what plasma was, nor why it was so important. And even if they did know, not just anyone can give it. There are multiple barriers to donation. It was in the face of this sort of challenge that we not only drove significant awareness about the life-saving difference plasma makes, but we also exceeded our recruitment targets while gathering vital learnings to help make all future campaigns even more effective.

  • Client: New Zealand Blood Service
  • Tasks: Raise awareness and recruit plasma donors
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Problem

Not surprisingly, demand for plasma is on the rise, growing at the rate of over 13% per annum. But with only 6,697 plasma donors on the Plasma Panel as of January 2015, it was clear that something needed to be done to recruit more plasma donors in order to meet the rising demand. We needed more donors.

But the public has almost zero awareness of plasma and its benefits and unlike a blood donation, there are much tighter eligibility criteria around who can give plasma. For starters, you need to be between the ages of 18 and 60 and also meet certain height and weight requirements. But it doesn’t end there. In addition, you also need to be conveniently located near one of the seven donor centres which can collect plasma donations using special machines. And the donation process takes a full 90 minutes to complete, which is considerably longer than blood donation.

Sound like a challenge? Well, it gets even harder. Finally to be eligible to donate plasma you also have to be a current blood donor (donated with the last two years) and your veins needed to be acceptable, as assessed by a nurse (at your last blood donation). Whilst driving up awareness was key, it was never going to solve our donor recruitment challenge. It was clear to us that what was needed was a phased and more targeted approach.

Solution

Plasma is incredibly valuable. But donating it requires more from a person - more criteria to meet, more time to make the donation. And if you’re going to ask more of a person, it helps to connect them in a deeper and more personal way with the thing you want them to give. And so that’s what we did.

By using current plasma donors and highlighting the wonderful, life-saving difference they were making (including also recipient stories), we were both able to capture people’s attention to build awareness, while also inspiring others who were eligible to make a difference themselves.

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Results

Our digi/social channels delivered over 8 million impressions, which reached 627,002 Kiwis. Facebook posts drew 12,238 clicks. All of this combined to deliver 9,561 website visits with 1,541 people clicking through to the Heart of Gold page. From here a further 749 plasma donation brochures were downloaded with a further 221 clicks requesting to contact the centre via email. And our animated plasma educational video has also been viewed over 48,000 times.

So what of donor recruitment? Our target was 1,000 new names added to the Plasma Panel. To date, we’ve added 1,138 and counting, which is huge considering the barriers to recruitment. Or to put this number another way, that’s a nearly 20% increase in their total number of plasma donors in just seven months. By way of comparison, in the seven month previous to the campaign, they had only 5% growth, so the shift our Heart of Gold campaign achieved represented a 183% increase on their current levels of donor recruitment.


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