Every year, 1.5 million Russians need blood, which represents over 4,000 transfusions daily. However, in 2007, the average donor rate in Russia was only 12 donors per 1,000 people, compared to the European average of 40 per 1,000 people. Research revealed a shrinking and ageing trend in the donor base, with low motivation and fear being the main reasons that kept Russians from donating.
In 2008, the Ministry of Health recognized the need for a social marketing campaign to popularize blood donation and encourage people to make it voluntarily and recurrently.
The five-year campaign strategy aimed to build a new “social institution” — a permanent structure joining all parties involved in blood donation. Members of this community would feel united by fulfilling a vital social function and be motivated by status and public acknowledgement.
The strategy was translated into multi-faceted campaign using a mix of communications channels — with more than 2,000 events — to engage multiple audiences and kick off the blood-donation-support movement.
The first year of the campaign built the foundation of the “social institution” by developing key messages, launching basic communication channels, and creating a visual identity for the service and program. Additionally, audience-specific activities were implemented including media seminars, a PSA campaign, and round tables with local government authorities, NGOs and the business community.
During 2009, outreach was adjusted to accelerate the process of building the “social institution”; the partner network was expanded; and the institution’s level of self-regulation increased.
While carrying on the 2008-2009 activities, the specific task of the 2010 campaign was to encourage recurrent blood donations through nationwide initiatives focused on raising the prestige of donating blood and establishing new traditions for blood donation institution members.
The campaign successfully attracted significant media attention and mobilized more than 2 million people to participate in events.
A 2010 survey revealed that the public’s social motivation to donate increased nearly three times compared to 2008, while donation fears weakened by more than double. By the end of 2010, the number of donors grew by nearly 17% nationwide — from 12 to 14 donors per 1,000 people — and reached the European level in several regions.