First Time Donors
Learn about the Donation Process
Click on a step to learn more.
Call 1-800-RED-CROSS for platelet donation opportunities near you.
Getting Over the Fear of Needles
Afraid of needles? You are not alone. Many people share that fear but find that they can still give blood. What most say is that the slight initial pinch pales in comparison to the feeling of accomplishment they get at the end of a successful donation!
See more about Getting over the fear of needles »
Tips for a Successful Donation
- Maintain a healthy iron level in your diet
- Hydrate – drink an extra 16 oz of liquid before and after your donation
- Have a healthy meal before your donation – avoid foods high in fat just prior to donation
- Remember to bring your ID!
More Information for First Time Donors
- What to bring to the donation?
Bring your driver's license or two other forms of identification with you to your donation. You may also want to bring a list of any medications you are taking.
- Can I bring my children to the donation?
Children who do not require supervision and are not disruptive are welcome to sit in the waiting or refreshment area. If they require supervision another adult must be present.
- What to expect during the donation? – Learn more »
- What happens to your donated blood? – Learn more »
- Invite a friend to donate with you – Send an eCard »
- See more Frequently Asked Questions
Donor Stories: Why I Donate
I first donated blood during a high school blood drive over 15 years ago. I continued to donate in college and throughout my 20's. When I turned thirty I recognized I am really helping others who are in dire need for blood and have no other options. It only takes me one hour every two months. I now donate as often as I can.
Benefits of Being a Blood Donor
The biggest benefit of donating is:
- Feeling great afterwards
- Free cookies and juice
- Feeling special wearing my “I give blood” sticker
- Knowing I helped save a life
- Knowing blood will be there if I or someone I know ever needs it