New Facebook and Alexa features help boost blood donations

By Christy Peters, External Communications Manager, Northern Ohio Biomedical Services

October 23, 2019- The American Red Cross has partnered with some of the country’s leading technology brands to make donating blood even easier. Now, blood donors can find blood drives and schedule appointments using Facebook and Alexa devices.

Monroe Carell Jr Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, Nashville, Tennessee 2019

In June, the Red Cross, along with other blood collection organizations, partnered with Facebook to help raise awareness about the critical need for blood donors. Facebook’s new Blood Donations feature makes it easier to find opportunities to donate – allowing users to sign up to be blood donors, receive notifications about nearby blood drives and invite friends to help save lives too. Since launching, more than one million people in the U.S. have signed up and it has helped to schedule over 600 Red Cross blood donation appointments.

Monroe Carell Jr Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, Nashville, Tennessee 2019

To make it easier for people to access services and get critical safety information, the Red Cross is also partnering with Alexa, Amazon’s voice service. The Red Cross Blood scheduling skill for Amazon Alexa helps users schedule a blood donation appointment, find blood drives nearby and get notification reminders before an appointment. Users can enable this skill and link their Red Cross account to manage appointments. Donors can open the Red Cross Blood skill with a selection of prompts such as, “Alexa, open Red Cross Blood skill,” and ask, for example, “Alexa, find a blood drive.”

Bloodmobile Blood Drive Columbia, South Carolina 2018

Individuals interested in signing up to become a blood donor on Facebook can visit facebook.com/donateblood. The Red Cross Blood skill for Alexa is available on any Alexa-enabled device such as Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show or Echo Spot. The skills can be enabled in the Alexa Skills Store through the Alexa app or at Amazon.com.

Blood Drive New York 2018

The Northern Ohio Blood Services Region of the Red Cross serves 19 counties in northern Ohio and needs to collect approximately 500 pints of blood every day to meet the needs of patients at more than 50 local hospitals. Without the generous giving of volunteer blood donors, that need cannot be met.

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