You may have heard of a little trend happening right now (okay, it’s a massive trend) called Pokémon Go, a smart phone-based game that asks its players to wander the world around them to capture and collect virtual monsters using a sophisticated GPS-based technology. Millions of people around the world have become avid players. The goal of the game is to catch all the Pokémon, there are 151 in the game, and battle them against other people’s Pokémon. In the process, players are rewarded for the amount of walking around they do and how many visits to Poké stops- local businesses and landmarks- that they make. It’s a great way to get some exercise and connect with friends. To learn more about Pokémon Go, check out this great beginner’s guide on Mashable.
Stanford Blood Center (SBC) didn’t want to miss out on the game of the summer, so we decided to join the fun and use the tools of the game to help educate and recruit possible blood donors by hosting a Pokémon Go “gathering” on August 12 near the Menlo Park Donor Center. By setting up a “lure”, a virtual beacon that attracts monsters and, thus, monster hunters, SBC members were able to talk to the people playing the game and educate them on blood donation. The lure worked as some of the players promised to make appointments while one went right into the center and donated on the spot!
“It’s a really fun way to connect to potential new donors, especially Millennials,” said Kristin Stankus, digital community and social media specialist for SBC, after the event.
On August 31, we will be hosting another Pokémon Go lure party in conjunction with one of our community mobile blood drives – the AOL drive at 395 Page Mill Rd. in Palo Alto, hoping to engage even more donors and potential donors in discussions about blood donation while we catch some Pokémon. If you plan to be in the area, make sure to stop by to say hello, and maybe even donate.
Pokémon Go is just one example of how SBC would like to continue to use technology and trends to recruit first-time donors. Continue to watch our website, Facebook and Twitter pages for updates on future events and to share any ideas you may have. If you are interested in learning about blood donation or want to make an appointment, visit us online at http://bloodcenter.stanford.edu/donate/appointment.php.