How to be a flexible donor

How to be a flexible donor

If you’re a blood donor, you know we believe your blood is worth bottling. Every blood donation reminds us that our donors really are the heartbeat of the nation, keeping Australia pumping with your priceless gift.

Donors sometimes tell us you want to know when we need you most, and we’ll often respond by saying ‘the need for blood never stops!’ This is absolutely true. It’s also true that sometimes we need more of certain blood types and blood products.

If you can be a flexible blood donor, you unlock the potential to supercharge each donation you make. Being flexible with when and what you donate can make a big difference.

Demand for certain blood types, or specific blood products such as red blood cells, platelets and plasma can vary throughout the year. Seasonal illness can increase demand, like when cold and flu season means many of our regular donors can’t donate.

Long weekends and public holidays can put pressure on our supply of platelets (which only last for five days). It takes blood donations from four people to make just one bag of platelets for patients, and they only last for seven days so we can’t stockpile them ahead of the holidays.

So how can you show us your flex? The simplest way is to be flexible with appointment times. When we appeal for donors it can result in a short-term influx of donors, and limited appointment times. Sometimes, we may make extra appointment times available for the donation type we need most, so you can always call us on 13 14 95 to find out what that is. And, if you’re not able to help us with that need, you can help by making your appointment for a few weeks’ time when we’ll have a stronger need for your donation.

The second way you can supercharge your donation is to give the best for your type. We’ve created a handy explainer detailing the best type of donation for your blood type here.

New blood donors who may not yet know their blood type tend to meet the demand we have for rarer blood types such as B+ and AB+, so if you’re one of those blood types, you might like to consider becoming an exclusive plasma donor.

All other donors (i.e. O+, A+, A-, AB-, B-) can consider flexing between blood and plasma donations depending on patient demand. You can determine the best donation by either calling us on 13 14 95, or asking at your local donor centre.

Can’t donate? There’s a flex for that too. Bring a mate, share our content to help more people understand the need for blood never stops, or start a workplace or community group Lifeblood Team.