The Corner

Sell Your Blood — to the Red Cross?

Just got this from the Red Cross:

Due to the inclement weather, we have declared Monday and Tuesday SNOW DONOR DAYS! Participate at any blood drive or donor center on Monday or Tuesday, and we will send you a $5 gift card following your visit.

I can’t go anyway because it hasn’t been eight weeks yet since my last donation, but what struck me is the offer of payment, which I have never seen before. Sure, they often give you a tote bag or t-shirt when you donate, but this a much more liquid form of payment. I know there’s long been a debate over the ethics and utility of paying for blood or organ donations, but I thought the Red Cross was dead-set against payment as a matter of principle. At first blush, I think this gift card approach is a good idea: I don’t know what stores they’re from, but they can’t be much use in buying booze or dope, and they don’t really commercialize the whole transaction, yet they acknowledge that the donor should receive some form of compensation. I’ll keep donating either way, but I wonder if this kind of small payment will really make any difference in donations.