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This blog post comes to us from Team Captain Cesar Vanderpool.

Saturday, June 14th, was World Blood Donor Day. Thanks go out to everyone who donates and helps support life!

The theme of this year’s day was “safe blood for saving mothers”. Blood transfusions can be crucial to expecting mothers not only during pregnancy but also during the period right after giving birth. The blood type of both the mother and the father play a key role in deciding whether a mother could need a transfusion or not.

The Rhesus Factor: Either You Have It or You Don’t

The Rhesus Factor is when you have the D antigen or protein that surround your red blood cells. You can be either Rh+ or Rh-. Women that are Rh- are more likely to get pregnant by males who are Rh+, and this is where the problem is caused. In these cases, the babies also become Rh+. This causes risks for the mother, as well as future pregnancies, because she is exposed to blood that does not match her body type.

Her body then starts to form antibodies to fight off the foreign blood from the baby, which it does not know. In most cases, the first baby comes out fine; however, future pregnancies are effected, because the antibodies are still in the mother’s system waiting to attack the foreign blood. This can cause medical issues for the mother, such as miscarriages, birth defects, and even death for future babies.

With her antibodies fighting off the baby’s blood, it can also cause the baby to have a low amount of red blood cells, which can result in the unborn child having severe anemia. At that point, a blood transfusion is administered to the baby in ordered to keep it healthy. It only takes a teaspoon of blood to help saves a baby’s life. Of course, when giving birth, mothers tend to lose a lot of blood. Transfusions help the mother restore her blood levels to help recover the blood she lost.

This is why Incept Conversational Marketing™ Experts (CMEs) believe in what we do and is just one of few reasons why we actually do take immense pride in our jobs. We help people, plain and simple. We help car accident victims, folks needing emergency surgeries, and, of course, pregnant moms and their newborns.

What’s stopping you from doing your part to help by being a blood donor?

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Nate Bauman gives us some insight into the costs associated with providing blood to patients.

When making blood recruitment phone calls, I’ve personally encountered quite a few donors who asked a particular question that raised quite a few eyebrows in the blood donation world: “How much do you sell the blood for?”

This is a common misconception among blood donors and blood transfusion recipients that carries quite a bit of weight when the issue arises. As some of you may know, and as some of you may not, when receiving a blood transfusion in the hospital, it unfortunately does cost a pretty penny. What you’re paying for, however, actually isn’t a trade-off for the blood; it’s a tradeoff for the services that make sure the blood is transported, transfused, and tested safely and responsibly.

Donors ask about the costs associated with blood all too often. Just to make things clear, the blood itself  is 100% free. All of the costs are associated with testing, transport, and transfusion. For example, when someone needs a blood transfusion in a hospital, the recipient is charged an amount of money for the blood transfusion, but the blood is free.

The True Costs Behind Blood

When donating blood, it requires a number of services to make sure that the donation that was just made is fit to be transfused to another patient. These services can include anything and everything below:

  • Testing
  • Transporting
  • Registering
  • Notating

…and most importantly,

  • Making sure there are no faults in the donation that could potentially harm the recipient of your blood donation

Why It Matters

Donating blood is a vital action that is needed on a day-to-day basis to help save hundreds of lives across the nation per day. Without blood donors, there is a chance that a critical situation could occur at any given time. The generous volunteers that come out to donate blood to help save lives are true heroes throughout the country, and I would imagine that patients who have received blood in the past and present may be fairly stumped by why they are being charged a bill for a transfusion. To be completely honest, though, there is a method to this madness.

The blood that is donated by those generous volunteers has to go through a number of processes to ensure that it is safe, will get to the patient on time, etc. The first step in that process is transporting the blood to a testing facility to run tests to make sure there are no harmful traits that could potentially put someone at risk. The people who are transporting the blood, testing the blood, and actually administering transfusions the blood are the sole reason why transfusions are possible in the safest manner imaginable.

According to the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the cost to have a blood transfusion can range from $1,800 to $3,000, which is quite expensive. Like I mentioned earlier, though, the cost that you are paying is not directly for the blood itself. To elaborate, that $1,800-3,000 that a patient pays is to accommodate the expenses of all of the procedures and processes mentioned earlier, such as the testing of the blood and the transportation needed to deliver the blood to the hospitals.

More often than not, when donating blood, you’re donating to a nonprofit organization that does not have the ability to pay the employees within the occupations that make all of this possible. This results in the patient paying for the numerous expenses it takes to make the transfusion possible. Like most pieces of equipment in the medical field, the cost is very high. Similarly, the cost to pay the employees running those particular pieces of equipment is also high, which results in a fairly large payment that needs to come from somewhere. Unfortunately, the payment will come from the recipient.

Informing donors, recipients, and others who just have general questions about this subject is paramount to ensuring that there is no confusion. There is no monetary payment exchanged for blood; the payment is exchanged for the services that are necessary to arrange the safest transfusion possible. This is such a controversial topic among recipients and donors, and I personally wanted to clear up any misconceptions among anyone who has ever questioned the topic.

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The trick to making every call your best call is treating each call with the same amount of enthusiasm. Listen to your donor, and fully take the opportunity to address any and all concerns, as well as truly hear what they are saying. Have you ever received a call and felt like the person on the other end wasn’t listening to you? Most people will answer yes to this question. We don’t want our donors to feel that way about us.

Relating to the donors you speak with

We want to truly take the time to make the person on the other end of the line feel special and important. We can do this by fully listening to the donor and using our acknowledgement skills to let the donor know we heard them and we understand where they are coming from. After all, we ourselves have lives – whether you have young kids at home, a club you belong to, a full-time job, a few part-time jobs, classes to attend – anyone can relate to a busy schedule. It will help your call to let the donor know you understand their situation.

Relating to the donor will help you strengthen the relationship between the donor and yourself; it allows the donor to see you as a person too, not just someone calling asking them for something. Relating to someone allows you to develop a bond and create that one-of-a-kind situation for the person on the other end of the call. Truly treat them as if they are the only person you will call today.

In a world as busy as ours where the hustle and bustle of everyday life often overcomes the simple things like communication. However, we have the opportunity to take time and have a conversation with a donor, someone who has so generously given a part of themselves to help save the life of another. The person you are talking to is someone who helped save another person’s parent, or sibling, or friend. By truly taking the time and thanking the donor, as well as listening to the donor’s concerns and helping answer any questions they have, you will create a great call. If you treat them with respect and truly do your best to help them and help strengthen the relationship with their blood center, you will be able to make that call one of your best calls.

When working at a contact center, it’s hard to remember that each call is just as important as the last call you made. It hard to separate each call and take the time to listen and understand what each individual person is asking or saying. It’s our job to do just that; to take each call as though it is the only call you will make today; as if this is the most important conversation you will have. Then and only then will you be able to make each call your best call.

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This blog post comes to us from Team Captain Cesar Vanderpool. Cesar is a master at being able to level with donors and retain them by using active listening skills and showing empathy in his calls. Here are some tips from him on the importance of showing empathy to donors who might have not had the best experience donating.

“I can’t donate blood. Last time I did, they missed my vein, and I got a black-and-blue spot.”

This is a common response that Conversational Marketing™ Experts (CMEs) face when trying to recruit a blood donor. At this point, it is up to the CME to change the donor’s perspective on donating blood. Donors who have a bad experience are the ones who need the most conversational care. It is very important to be apologetic and empathetic toward these donors. Being apologetic lets the donor know that we actually do care about their experience beyond scheduling an appointment to donate with us. If someone has a bad experience and it goes unnoticed it basically shows the donor that we only care about their blood and not their well-being.

Being empathetic lets the donor know that you care. The first way to show these things is not only apologize, but also to listen and engage yourself with that donor. You should always ask questions and listen to the donor’s full experience. You almost want to ask enough questions so that the donor paints a picture of the experience for you to visualize in your head. This makes you more conversational, and it makes it easier to relate to the donor. Simply having the conversation lets the donor know that their opinions do matter to us. Relating to them makes them feel more comfortable that maybe they aren’t the only one who has ever had a bad experience. By being apologetic and empathetic, it makes the final stage fall right into place. This is the step of actually retaining the donor.

The importance of showing empathy: retaining the donor

If you don’t properly do these things, it could cause the donor to not want to donate with us again. During the retaining process it’s important to let the donor know that we do have trained professionals on our staff, and mistakes like this do happen, but it is not typically a recurring issue. No one would want to donate if they felt that they would have a bad experience every time. One way to help lighten the mood for a donor is to tell them they should have this same conversation with the phlebotomist who is taking their blood during their next donation. Explaining these types of things with the phlebotomist will let them know that they have to take extra care of you, because they know that you are worried about a recurrence.

Once you’ve gotten the donor comfortable with the notion that we do care, their opinions are valued, and we want to make things as comfortable for them as possible, go into the importance of donating. Throwing facts at the donor (such as each donation can save up to 3 lives or that their platelets only have a shelf life of five days) makes the donor feel important. Show the donor that despite them having a bad experience the good outshines the bad. There are lives being saved. Even throwing in fun facts (like the blood is going to your local hospital so you actually are helping in your community) makes them think that they are doing more than donating; they are saving lives.

All in all, these are the more difficult donors to retain. By showing them (or in our case, telling them) the significant value and the importance of what they do, blood donors will feel better about the experience and, ultimately, keep them donating.

Saving lives is the name of the game!

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This blog comes to us from Incept Coach and Team Captain Angel Kemp.

“I want to help.”  This is the most common answer to the question, “Why do you donate blood?”

Everyone wants to be able to help others, whether it is because they have been helped themselves and want to help others in need, or because they genuinely care for the well-being of others. Sometimes, however, this can be a very difficult thing to do, because life is busy. You may want to help out in any way possible but are hindered due to a lack of resources, time, money, means to travel, etc.
Time is a precious thing in life and practically regulates every part of life, so we know that time is of the essence. If you do have roadblocks keeping you from doing the volunteer work you have always wanted to do, you can make a huge time-saving impact in the world of donating blood: a double red cell donor conversion. Most donors are familiar with the normal whole blood donations made, but did you know that you can do more for your community by spending just 20 minutes longer in the donor chair?
Let us chat a moment about the double red cell donation. This type of donation is called an apheresis donation meaning that we are taking individual blood components instead of them all. The main differences for this type of blood donation is that it does take a little longer – remember, it is only 20 minutes – and we just take the red cells. Hospitals have a need for red cells for multiple reasons.
Firstly, the red cells are the most often used part of the blood, and they carry oxygen throughout our bodies via our blood stream. Whenever a person is undergoing a surgery or had an accident and found themselves in the emergency room, they need the red cells in their blood to keep all organs and tissues properly functioning. This way the doctors and surgeons can focus on fixing the problem.
Next, there is less of a chance for a recipient to have a negative reaction from a transfusion if they are receiving blood from one to two donors versus several. When giving a red cell donation, you are giving two units of red cells that can be transfused to recipients! With a whole blood donation hospitals are only getting a small amount of red cells, along with platelets and plasma. And a red cell transfusion, on average, requires 2.7 units!
Lastly, it saves our donors time! Yes, it takes a  little bit longer, but since you are giving away twice as many red cells, you have a deferral time of 16 weeks instead of 8! When doing the double red cell donation, you come in half as often as you would if you did the whole blood!
Next time you hear of an apheresis or double red cell donation, take a second to think of the time you could save in the long run and the bigger impact you will have on patients’ lives in your area!

Image Credit: http://www.massgeneral.org/

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Not everyone might be best suited for just the regular (homologous) blood donation of a pint of whole blood. In fact, depending on your health and other characteristics about yourself, you might be able to save lives in a more specific way with an apheresis-style blood donation.

A phlebotomist monitors platelet donations.

Part of my job as a Conversational Marketing™ Expert (CME) at Incept is to not only recruit blood donors to donate whole blood, but donate red cells, platelets, and plasma too. Many of the people I talk to who have donated whole blood have never tried donating one of those specific components, so they might not be as familiar with the process. With that in mind, I wanted to provide other blood donor recruitment professionals out there with a small list of comparisons I like to make to whole blood, as well as other benefits of donating an apheresis donation.

It really isn’t too much different from a whole blood donation…

  • You are helping out your blood center with specific blood type-based needs when you make an apheresis donation.
  • If you are donating red cells (commonly known as donating “double reds”),  you donate less often but can impact more people than just a single whole blood donation.
  • If you are donating platelets, you are helping the blood center receive an immediate and full donation. They would otherwise have to wait on approximately eight whole blood donations to have enough platelets to centrifuge to make up just one full platelet donation.
  • You donate less often with a red cell donation – once every 112 days – as opposed to once every 56 days with a whole blood donation.
  • You can donate more often, if you so choose, when you donate platelets. While platelets can be donated safely once every seven days, most medical professionals will suggest that people try to limit platelet donations to no more than 26 times per year, but it is that safe to do it if you qualify!
  • When you donate red cells, you are specifically helping out folks who are undergoing surgeries and everyday trauma situations.
  • When you donate platelets, you help out folks with weakened immune systems, as well as cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
  • You typically feel much more hydrated when you leave, as they give your body saline during the return process of your other blood components.
  • You actually get a smaller needle, so, believe it or not, it might be more comfortable to donate!

Once again, these are here for the reference of other people in the blood donor recruitment industry. Feel free to use these in your efforts to educate and encourage others to donate.

Many people are willing to listen to the reasons you are asking them to do a specific type of blood donation, but it is up to you to convey to them the importance of their blood type and where their donation is going.

Example:

You are an O+ blood donor, so that actually makes you a great candidate for platelets! Since O+ tends to be the most common blood type, we do use it frequently as well. With platelets having a shelf life of only five days, on top of that, we could really use your help, since many folks don’t donate enough as it is. These platelets help people who don’t have strong immune systems and many people in the local area undergoing chemotherapy to battle their cancers.

The above example is just one way to explain things to a donor who you are trying to convert. Remember to make them feel good about donating their specific type of blood and component to make it a bigger impact on them.

Photo Credit: http://www.bloodcenter.org/

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Incept is in the blood business, as well as the people business. No, we aren’t vampires, but you’d be amazed at how many times we have heard that one!

You might already know that Incept is an industry leader in blood donor recruitment through the method of telerecruitment. We call for blood centers in every region of America and take pride in knowing that our conversations are literally saving lives. The conversations that an Incept Conversational Marketing™ Expert (CME) has with the blood donors they speak with are essentially the spark that ignites a blood donor to give, especially those who might not have donated in awhile or have never even thought about donating blood.

January is a month that is nationally recognized in America as National Blood Donor Month. Despite the acknowledgement, the act of donating blood in America isn’t anywhere near as prevalent as it should be – even though the need for blood is always shockingly apparent.

Below are some statistics from the American Red Cross on how blood is used in the United States.

Facts About Blood Needs (courtesy of the American Red Cross)

  • Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood.
  • More than 41,000 blood donations are needed every day.
  • A total of 30 million blood components are transfused each year in the U.S.
  • The average red blood cell transfusion is approximately 3 pints.
  • The blood type most often requested by hospitals is Type O.
  • The blood used in an emergency is already on the shelves before the event occurs.
  • Sickle cell disease affects more than 70,000 people in the U.S. About 1,000 babies are born with the disease each year. Sickle cell patients can require frequent blood transfusions throughout their lives.
  • More than 1.6 million people were diagnosed with cancer last year. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment.
  • A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of bloods.

Sadly, even though there is an evident need for blood and blood donors, there is another shocking statistic about the general population of folks in America that is ultimately a reflection of the way we look at donating blood:

  • Although an estimated 38% of the U.S. population is eligible to donate, less than 10% actually do each year.

So now that you can see the numbers and needs for the blood that is received from blood donors, you might begin to think in terms of volume. It takes an extremely large amount of generous people to step up and be blood donors every day. The need for blood never takes a break, vacation, or holiday, and that is another reason why Incept’s offices recruit blood donors from 9:00 AM to 11:45 PM.

We know how badly blood centers need the help. We understand the powerful healing that even one blood donation can have on a person’s life. We literally take it upon ourselves to not only be lifesavers but also to encourage others to continue saving the lives of others.

That is what a blood donor is: a silent hero. An everyday hero that cannot be recognized just by their mere outward appearance. It is funny, because in America blood donors see the act of donating blood as choice or as something charitable that they don’t have to do. In other countries around the world, donating blood is seen as more of a social obligation rather than an individual act.

If you haven’t donated blood, what is stopping you? Why not start the new year off by saving three lives with one donation?

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At Incept, we pride ourselves on being the leaders in the blood donor recruitment industry. We believe in the power of donating blood, but we also equally believe in the strength that a meaningful conversation can have on relationships between people. It is with these convictions that Incept sets out to save lives every day on behalf of our many clients who happen to be blood centers all over the country.

I’ve been recruiting blood donors for over three years now as a Conversational Marketing™ Expert (CME) and have helped save thousands of lives. Here are some tips that have worked for me and have helped me have many genuinely awesome conversations.

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I have always dreamed of what it would be like if snow was warm instead of cold.

As I write this blog post, the skies over Canton, Ohio, are filled with fluttering flurries floating to the frosted ground. The wet streets outside of 4150 Belden Place are being swarmed by the locals, all whom are deeply engrossed in the pre-Thanksgiving hustle and bustle that seems to usher in each holiday season. If anything, watching cars seems more like watching metal, mechanical animals migrating through the roadways that glisten beneath headlights and shop signs.

Thanksgiving is here and, along with it, it brings a sense of self-reflection that has a tendency to make us all look back at not only our year and what happened to us but our whole lives up to this point. I’ll be the first to admit it, I’m glad for holidays like this. As we get older, Thanksgiving gives us a much deeper pool of hindsight to jump into, and that is what I’m about to do myself.

I am thankful for…

  • My job at Incept. It wasn’t until I started working at Incept that many opportunities opened up in my life, especially working directly in social media, working in a leadership position, and actually having a job where my creative skills are challenged. It is a place where I am able to be a director, editor, and writer all at once.
  • My mom. Easily, she is the strongest woman in the world in my eyes. My mom serves as the head of my household at home and takes care of my terminally ill dad, who has had an extremely severe case of Multiple Sclerosis for my whole life. If it wasn’t for her, our family would have fallen apart by now.
  • My friends. The people I share many of my life adventures with are very close and dear to me. I come from an incredibly solid group of friends. They have been there for me in both awesome and rough times and have made me feel like people care about me in this world when it has been difficult to perceive that.
  • My imagination. I feel as though my imagination gives me a constantly different recognition of the possibilities I am able to accomplish. People have always told me I dream too big, and I never have listened. Why limit yourself? It is because of my imagination that my creativity grows, and that is something that is important to me.
  • Bass guitars/playing music. Music is the language of the soul. It is how the mind speaks when our mouth fails to find the right words. Ever since I was about fifteen years old, and I bought my first bass guitar at a secondhand shop, I’ve played music to have fun, to socialize, to create, and to tell the world how I feel. It is an outlet for me.
  • My Camaro Z28. I’ve owned a few sportier cars, but the (1995, six-speed) Z28 I own takes the cake. It is red, loud, and fast. I’m in the process of completely rebuilding it. Part of the reason I wanted a car like this is my father’s love for muscle cars from when he was my age, and I wanted him to see that his son was so much like him. With my Dad being so sick and bed-ridden, I haven’t ever had the chance to do many activities with him. When my Camaro comes out this spring, I have made it a goal to literally pick my dad up, carry him to the front seat, and take him for a ride in it. If you can’t tell, my love for my car is about more than just a car.
  • Being alive. For every sad moment in my life, I’ve been granted a euphoric moment in return. Life runs in a pattern of high points and low points, and I find it important to learn from every experience I have. There are days when I drive to work and feel the sun on me and look at how beautiful everything around me is and I am never hesitant to feel a genuine thankfulness that I am indeed alive. This world is an ugly place at times, but I won’t let that be the death of me.

It is amazing how writing can also make you reflect on yourself.

Enjoy this holiday with your family and friends, but I encourage you to also take some time for yourself and wander into your own past. Recognize what is important to you. Recognize the good things that you have going for you. Recognize how amazing your life can be and has been to this point.

What are you thankful for?

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With Thanksgiving coming up, it is certainly hard not to give in to all the sentiment about this time of the year.

The fall is winding down, and the trees stand bare without leaves against the cold, winter wind streams that approach. The holiday season is reaching the starting point where it will be in full swing soon, and as we gather around our tables to celebrate another year and gives thanks for what we think is important, we want to also show sincere appreciation for people who donate blood.

It takes a person who demonstrates the ability to be selfless to donate blood. On a deeper level, you have to remember that a blood donor is literally giving a part of who they are. The blood that goes in to the unit collection pouch is the same blood that flows through the brains, hearts, and bodies of the original owners. In my opinion, it is a very humbling thing to donate and realize that the blood from your body will go to help out another person’s body. I’ve always said that even if your blood donation isn’t the blood donation that initially saves someone’s life, you are at the very least making someone else’s life better in terms of living quality. Your blood donation could be the one that gives a family time to say their goodbyes to an ailing loved one. That is truly worth less than an hour for most of us to give up, I’d like to think.

Here are a few of our own Conversational Marketing Experts (CMEs) who personally wanted to thank blood donors this Thanksgiving.

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Why are you thankful for blood donors?

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