Every week, the Blood Service organises 20–25 blood donation events in different locations in Finland. We work together with local partners, Red Cross branches and volunteers to bring these events close to the donors. On this page you will find answers to the most common questions we get about blood donation events.
Why are blood donation events organised?
The Finnish Red Cross Blood Service (FRCBS) ensures that enough blood products are available in Finnish hospitals. Red blood cells are the most widely used blood product in hospitals, meaning that blood is typically collected depending on the demand for red blood cells.
The donated blood is collected at Blood Service offices and in blood donation events. The Blood Service has permanent offices in nine cities: Helsinki, Espoo, Jyväskylä, Lahti, Turku, Kuopio, Oulu, Seinäjoki and Tampere.
The Blood Service needs at least 800 donors ever day. Finland is a country of long distances and while many cities have lots of eligible blood donors (or people of certain ages), the numbers are not quite enough to maintain a permanent Blood Service unit. As such, the staff of the Blood Service tour various parts of Finland on a weekly basis to organise blood donation events. Over a half of all the whole blood collected annually in Finland is collected in these events
The blood centres of Kuopio, Oulu, Seinäjoki, Tampere and Turku along with the two mobile units of the Helsinki office organise these events within their areas of operation. In total, we organise approximately 1200 blood donation events around Finland each year. In addition to the events open for everyone, donation events are also organised in large companies, garrisons and educational institutions.
How does blood donation in an event differ from donating blood at a permanent office?
The blood donation process follows the same steps regardless of whether the blood is collected in an event or an office.
The most significant differences are usually the premises, which may be large sports venues, and the snacks and drinks which are different at each location.
Blood donation events often attract a lot of people, so sometimes the locations may be crowded with eager donors. On the other hand, the events often also have more staff than the permanent offices to help meet the larger daily goals. We try to allocate more staff to cities where the events tend to attract the biggest crowds.
Unlike the offices, there is no appointment system currently available to the events.
Where are the blood donation events organised?
We visit approximately 275 different locations and organise a total of about 1200 blood donation events each year. The choice of the location is affected by the amount of eligible donors living in and around the location, and other such factors. Sometimes we also visit cities we know from previous experience to have a lot of active donors. We must collect at least 70–80 bags of blood in one event for the donation event to be worth the efforts.
When choosing the locations, we need to also consider the driving distance from the nearest Blood Service office; if the blood donation event lasts four hours, it does not make sense to drive more than two hours in both directions. Distance also affects the transport of the collected blood, meaning that sometimes we cannot organise events in an otherwise potential location due to limited transport options. For the production of blood products, it is important that the donated blood and the samples can be transported to Helsinki well before the next morning.
We analyse each location every year to evaluate whether or not it is a suitable location for a blood donation event. If a certain location regularly attracts a lot of donors, we might consider setting up events there more often. Similarly, we might consider spreading out or even ceasing our visits to locations that attract few visitors.
Can you organise a blood donation event in my workplace?
Like other blood donation events, the events organised in workplaces, educational institutions and garrisons must also attract enough eligible donors for the event to be worth organising.
If you have a building with at least 1000 people working there, you can contact the Blood Service and ask if your location is a suitable blood donation site. We organise blood donation events during the week. Other factors to be taken into account include the accessibility of the location and its facilities for serving coffee and snacks as well as if there is a quiet and accessible room that is suitable for the event. For more information, please contact your local Blood Service office.
For small and medium-sized companies and communities, setting up a BloodGroup is the easiest way to help. We can even organise free rides to and from the Blood Service office if you have a group of at least four donors and the distance to the nearest office is at least 20 km.
Where can I find information about blood donations event to be organised in my city or near me?
You can find the up-to-date list of our upcoming events in the calendar on our website or in our mobile application. We aim to update the calendar with upcoming events at least two months in advance. However, changes are always possible, so we recommend you check the date and time before you head off to donate blood.
You can also subscribe to text message or calendar notifications of individual events through our website and mobile app.
The dates and times of the blood donation events are inconvenient for me. Can the events be organised in the evenings or on weekends?
It is in our and the local donors’ interests to ensure that there are enough donors to attend every blood donation event. As such, we strive to organise the dates and times for the events so that they suit as many donors as possible.
The opening hours are limited due to the availability of suitable locations as well as logistical issues. We must be able to send off the blood on the day it was collected to make sure it can be transported to Helsinki by the next morning.
As a rule, we do not organise events on weekends as blood products are only produced during the week. Experience has also shown us that weekend events tend to attract less donors than events organised during the week. Long holidays are, however, an exception as blood is collected and processed into preparations on weekends during these times. We have, for example, organised blood donation events on Easter Saturdays and Boxing Days when there has been demand for such events.
Can I help organise blood donation events?
Blood donation events are made possible by dozens of voluntary contact persons and other volunteers. Our local contacts help us find suitable locations and promote the events among other duties. On-site volunteers are a great help. Their duties include helping guide the donors through the process and serving coffee and snacks.
If you would like to volunteer to help organise a blood donation event near you, please contact the Red Cross branch organising the event. If, however, you want to organise a blood donation event, please contact the Blood Service directly.
For more information about what our contact persons and assistants do, please refer to our Guidebook to contact persons.