A single blood donation can save multiple lives

Although a blood transfusion is needed every two seconds in this country, just three percent of the United States population donates blood each year. We need to dramatically increase that number to ensure we have enough blood on the shelf to meet demand while creating a blood supply that's as diverse as the nation that depends on it.

Here you can learn more about who can give blood and the process of blood donation, and get common questions answered so you know what happens before, during, and after your visit to a community blood center.

Your decision to donate blood will save the lives of your friends and neighbors - making it time especially well spent.




Just three percent of the United States population donates blood each year.

Why donate blood?

The need for blood is constant.

Our nation’s blood supply must cover every day needs. Blood must also be immediately available on the shelf for unexpected emergencies and disasters. It has a short shelf life span, and must be constantly replenished year-round to ensure availability whenever and wherever it is needed.

seconds someone needs blood in America

It's blood on the shelf that saves lives

Blood is needed every day - not just after major diasters

Most blood products are used for people being treated for cancers organ and bone marrow transplants, inherited blood disorders, orthopedic surgeries, and cardiovascular surgeries.

Major disasters and mass casualty events do not usually require large amounts of blood, 200-400 units which is typically already on hospitals’ or blood centers’ shelves to save lives. Most blood centers see the greatest outpouring of support from donors during disasters, but blood is needed every day. It takes 24-48 hours to process and prepare a unit of blood for use. You can help blood centers fill every request for blood by making sure it is available before it's needed.

Percent of the Blood Supply Used By Patients Battling Cancer
Increase in the rate of transfusions needed in U.S. childbirth between 2006 and 2015
Percent of all blood transfused at a trauma center used by civilian trauma patients
Percent of deaths in the operating room due to severe blood loss

Blood donation types and collection procedures

Blood collection procedures

Whole Blood

This is what most individuals think of when they hear “blood donation.” A pint of whole blood is drawn into a plastic bag, and is processed in the blood center laboratory and separated into components (red blood cells, plasma, and sometimes platelets and cryoprecipitate). Red blood cells can be stored for up to 42 days after processing.


An apheresis blood donation is the process of blood collected via a special machine to separate it during the donation, so that only certain parts of the blood are collected and the remainder returned to the donor. This allows more of a single component, such as red blood cells or platelets, to be collected in one sitting. The types of Apheresis Collections are Double Red Cell, Plasma, Platelets, and Red Cells.

Frequently asked questions

Ready to donate?

A single blood donation can save multiple lives

ABC's community-based, independent blood centers supply 60 percent of the U.S. and a quarter of the Canadian blood supply. These blood centers serve more than 150 million people and provide blood products and services to more than 3,500 hospitals and healthcare facilities across North America.

Find your local community blood center now and help save lives!

pints of blood are used every day