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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!

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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.


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.

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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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You know, I used to remember a time when the Christmas catalog came to my parent’s house around this time of year. Sadly, it has been sitting on the coffee table as a coaster for the last few months now, probably since August. The holiday season seems to come earlier and earlier each year. My family has a cardinal family tradition that many other American folks (used to) abide to: not discussing anything Christmas-related until Miracle on 34th Street or It’s A Wonderful Life was done playing, at the very least. Still, as I walk around the neighboring mall’s food court and corridors of shops on my lunch break, I already see Black Friday advertisements plastering store windows.

Right now many blood banks are approaching a very hard time of the year. Believe it or not, the holiday season is one of the hardest times of the year for many blood centers to be able to fulfill their blood unit goals. The only other time of year on the calendar that is comparable in that sense is summertime.

Giving just one whole blood donation can save up to three people’s lives, in most cases. At the very least, if your donation does save a life it is definitely improving the living conditions of a person who needs it. For all the time we take during the year to do mindless tasks, watch mind-numbing television shows, and basically just sit around, if we take just an hour out of our lives to give a pint of blood, we truly have the power to change a life forever.

That is the thing about donating blood. You don’t just change the recipient’s life, you change their family’s lives, you change their friends’ lives, and you inspire others to donate with your nameless and heroic action.

Remember, blood centers crucially need your help during the holidays.

What is stopping you from scheduling a simple blood donation to save others?

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I don’t know about you, but when I give money to a charity or good cause, it always helps me feel better about my donation when I actually know and  understand where it is going and how it is being used. The same can be said for many donors when it comes to the topic of blood donations.

“What happens to my blood after I’m done?” is a very common question to hear from a donor. Here is a breakdown of what happens before that blood donation can be used for patient treatments.

What Happens To Blood Donations After A Donor Donates?

  • The blood donation is labeled and processed. You’ve probably noticed that on your blood donation, there is a small, scannable barcode. That little barcode contains information such as who (and where) the donation came from, when it was donated, and other bits of specific identification. It is packed in extremely cold transport containers and then shipped to the blood center’s respective laboratories for testing.
  • The blood is tested for abnormalities and diseases before use. Naturally, blood donations must undergo a series of strict and regulated tests for diseases and other considerations before being actually transfused into a patient. After the blood is received from the donation center, it will be divided into its individual components such as red cells, platelets, and plasma. At this stage, the blood is typed, which comes down to actually identifying the ABO type and a positive or negative Rh factor. The blood is then specifically checked through a series of panel tests that will determine if it is positive for hepatitis, HIV, syphilis, or other sicknesses. No blood that is positive for anything that would defer its use is used, and the donor who made that donation is contacted if anything abnormal shows on the initial vial testing.
  • The blood is kept at cold temperatures, packaged, and awaits distribution. After the blood passes the tests it needs to go through, it awaits transportation in cold storage and is organized by blood type. Doing this helps a blood center be quick about shipping out blood that is urgently needed. When it comes to blood donor recruitment, a big reason why we schedule blood donors comes down to the fact that most blood centers want to be able to estimate how many units they can expect to receive to have better estimates of how many units they realistically can supply to a hospital at any given time. With the need for blood on the rise and already at high levels, blood units at this point do not remain idle for very long before the next step.
  • The blood unit(s) is used and transfused into the recipient. This is the moment and reason why people donate blood. It honestly does save lives. The number of blood units needed to treat specific accidents or medical circumstances can vary widely, and the same can be said about the specific component that is needed. At the end of the day, many lives are saved thanks to blood donors being able to provide a safe blood supply. Blood centers regularly need hundreds if not thousands of individuals to donate blood every single day, so that is why it is important to give when you can and as often as you can.

What questions do you have about where your blood goes after you have donated it? Feel free to post them below!

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Flexibility seems like a simple word, but in the workplace this ability can make all the difference. Being able to work with others and around what they need to do while still doing what you need to do is a good skill to have. Have you ever gone into work expecting to do one thing or call one program but find out you will be doing something else or calling something else that day because of outside circumstances? Of course you have, and of course you do as you are instructed.

The best thing to keep in mind is that what you are doing – be it calling a certain program, on-the-fly coaching, putting together a last-minute training – in the end you are doing what’s best for the company. You are helping make your supervisors your customers by being flexible. Flexibility means being willing to do something different from what is expected, for the good of someone or something else.

In your life, you will find many opportunities where it is best to be flexible. The best way to handle any change is with open arms and eyes. Don’t get upset about something that is thrown your way that will help better you, better someone else, or better the company as a whole. By showing your bosses that you are flexible and willing to do what needs to be done without complaining, your dedication and willingness to help out will be obvious.

Flexibility is not just dropping what you’re doing to do something else; it’s being willing to help out a teammate or employer but doing what they need help with currently. Keep an open mind and remember that when you are asked to do something, it is for a good reason. And whoever is asking this of you needs your full support. Sometimes opportunities will change, so do your best to be open-minded in these situations, and it will take you a long way.

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