North Texas Daily

Students donate blood, plasma for extra money

Students donate blood, plasma for extra money

Students donate blood, plasma for extra money
January 27
00:06 2015

Samantha McDonald / Senior Staff Writer

Although the old adage says it is better to give than to receive, human generosity has often been tested in the world of science.

Scientists typically require volunteers to complete their research, but nobody wants to be the lab guinea pig without getting something in return. This is why incentives are given to donors, particularly those who choose to become regulars at local clinics and health centers. In no other medical field is this more evident than hematology.

According to California-based nonprofit organization Blood Centers of the Pacific, approximately 8 million people donate 12.6 million units of blood every year in the United States. While some do it out of a sense of duty or to help the needy, others are more interested in the compensation that follows each donation, said Linda Goelzer, director of public relations at Carter BloodCare, the largest blood center in Texas.

“You’re doing something because you want to do it and you just think it’s the right thing to do,” Goelzer said. “But at the same time, it’s kind of fun to know that if you’re giving blood, you might also get some perks.”

Voluntary business

For college students pressed for time and money, donating blood or plasma may seem like a simple way to earn extra cash that they can put toward car insurance, tuition fees or daily meals.

Religious studies and history junior Mary Kellerman saw the benefits of becoming a plasma donor when her brother told her about BioLife Plasma Services, a plasma collection company with facilities across the country. She became a regular donor at its Denton center on Quail Creek Drive, donating about twice a week since last September in exchange for money on a debit card.

Kellerman said her first donation of the week typically gets her $20 while the second can reach upwards of $30.

“I’ve even paid for my rent one month with it,” she said. “It’s a short amount of time out of my week.”

Although receiving payment for her donations is certainly rewarding, Kellerman said that she also feels the emotional satisfaction that comes with doing a good deed for the community.

“It’s nice to know I am helping someone even though I’m being compensated for it,” she said. “It’s different than a job that way.”

Blood money

Unlike plasma-collection facilities, blood centers like Carter BloodCare and the American Red Cross are limited by the Food and Drug Administration on what kind of compensation they can offer donors. Instead of money, Carter BloodCare rewards its donors with points that they can use toward T-shirts, bags or gift cards for Starbucks and Amazon.


Assistant Director of Outreach Kerry Stanhope explains the importance of blood drives on campus. Blood drives are facilitated by Carter Blood Care and occur every six weeks.

“As a blood center, we don’t offer anything that can be turned into cash,” Goelzer said. “Otherwise it really becomes more solicitation instead of altruism.”

BioLife Plasma’s compensation differs in its Visa prepaid debit card program, which gives donors the same rate Kellerman received. Single-time donors are also rewarded for their services and new donors are eligible to collect around $250 after just four donations.

“We compensate donors for the time that they take,” BioLife Plasma regional marketing representative Alex Johnson said. “Donating blood only takes several minutes, but with donating plasma, the whole process can take around an hour. That’s the time that they can be working or going to class, so that’s our way to get back to our donors for taking the time to come donate.”

Saving lives

At UNT, the Student Health and Wellness Center hosts blood drives every eight weeks, partnering with Carter BloodCare for advertising, and recruiting student volunteers to promote the event around campus.

Goelzer said the number of volunteers is constantly growing because of communication opportunities that blood centers offer college students.

“We actually find that their blood drives are usually very successful because college students are creative,” Goelzer said. “They come up with great angles to convince their friends and professors to donate.”

The center also sponsors an annual healthcare event every September, and invites outside vendors and on-campus resources that are health-related, including the Recreation Center and the Meadows Center at Chestnut Hall.

“We should be always involved in the community as a whole,” said Kerry Stanhope, assistant director at the UNT Student Health and Wellness Center. “We try and provide opportunities for our staff and UNT community members to come together to help support the broader community of the Denton area.”

Regardless of incentives, Stanhope said students often lend a helping hand to blood drives because of a sense of civic duty or a history of someone doing something similar for them.

“A lot of times students come in because they’ve been donating since they were in high school or they had a loved one or somebody else who was sick in the hospital and needed blood, so now to kind of give it forward; they donate regularly,” Stanhope said. “[But] some people just do it because they like to make sure that people are being taken care of.”

 Featured Image: Needles, cleansing swabs and empty vials are neatly organized before the next blood drive on campus, which will take place on Feb 18. Photos by Hannah Ridings – Staff Photographer

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    Offroad Vans September 08, 15:12

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