Hooking up with Tinder to encourage organ donation

Hooking up with Tinder to encourage organ donation

Ohio's Swipe to Donate Life program won a 2015 GCN Award for its aggressive use of mobile technology to help state residents opt into the organ donation program.   In the United Kingdom, however, mobile outreach is being taken to a whole new level.

The U.K.’s National Health Service Blood and Transplant unit is partnering with Tinder, a popular mobile app for meeting people, to raise awareness for organ donation.  NHS’s “The Wait” campaign aims to draw attention to the search for a different kind of match – the challenging wait for a donor match.

NHS has created three Tinder profiles that will include with “The Wait” pink heart logo for British actors Jamie Laing and Gemma Oaten and Welsh Olympic gold medalist Jade Jones. When users between the ages 18 and 35 swipe right on these profiles, the agency said, they will become a “match” and receive a message that says, “If only it was that easy for those in need of a life saving organ to find a match.”

The message includes statistics about the number of people waiting for a transplant in the U.K. and includes a direct link to the NHS Organ Donor Registry in an effort to help the nearly 7,000 people on the U.K. transplant waiting list.

Usually, swiping right on Tinder connects two users interested in each other, but both Tinder and the U.K.’s NHS are hoping these profiles encourage people to not only register as organ donors but pass along the message. “Educating and encouraging people to sign up for organ donation -- that’s what our partnership with Tinder is all about,” said Sally Johnson, director of organ donation and transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant.

Ohio’s program, on the other hand, lets people who are signing up for or renewing their driver’s licenses to opt into the organ donation program with a single swipe of their cards.  With a card reader attached to an iPad and an app capable of capturing current contact information from the driver’s licenses, the program has dramatically increased the number of donor registrations.

With access to the Tinder user base, U.K.’s NHS is hoping its efforts will achieve the same outcome. “With the help of these [customized] profiles on Tinder, we’ll grab people’s attention and throw a spotlight on the importance of organ donation,” Johnson said.

About the Author

Amanda Ziadeh is a former reporter/producer for GCN.

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