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From the 13th Annual Shorty Awards

Clara - The American Red Cross blood donor bot

Audience Honor in Chatbots


Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs a blood transfusion including those facing emergency situations, surgeries, cancer patients and more. Blood donation operations have been particularly challenged during the COVID-19 pandemic due to blood drive cancellations as businesses and organizations closed or restricted access to their facilities. To encourage blood donations, the American Red Cross must communicate accurate information about the donation process, safety protocols and eligibility requirements in a manner that is convenient for our donors.

Clara, our Blood Donor chat bot, was created for this purpose. Clara serves as 24 x 7 channel to serve our donors in three key areas:

  1. Eligibility assessment: People may assume that they are not eligible to donate based on the complex set of criteria and may not be comfortable talking about their unique situation with a call center agent. Clara provides a convenient channel for donors to ask questions about sensitive eligibility criteria without needing to call the American Red Cross.
  2. Donation information: In the rapidly changing environment of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to provide access to up-to-date information on the donation process, including safety protocols.
  3. Appointment management: To reduce friction, Clara provides easy access to all key appointment management functions such as scheduling and donation history details.

Strategy and Execution

Clara is placed conveniently on to give all potential donors access to the bot’s self-service features. Her capabilities go above and beyond a standard chatbot, including integrations for appointment management, eligibility criteria, and live agent transfers.

Key capabilities:


Clara, our blood donation chatbot, serves up to 20,000 users per month, enabling donors to access information quickly and seamlessly. Clara provides accurate eligibility information, answering 90% of questions about specific medications and sourcing travel related criteria directly from the CDC. This enables individuals to self-defer from donating if they are not eligible, allowing more eligible donors to sign up and provide life-saving blood products. Additionally, many first-time donors use the chatbot to learn about different donation types, safety, and the donation process before registering to donate, calming their nerves and promoting blood donation through the power of information.

A key part of the American Red Cross’ vision is to ensure that everyone in our country has access to safe, lifesaving blood and blood products. The Red Cross blood supply accounts for 40% of our nation’s blood and blood components and supplies hospitals nationwide thanks to the generous support of volunteer blood donors. With the help of Clara, the blood donation chatbot, the American Red Cross aims to ensure that anyone interested in learning more about blood donation can not only access all relevant information, but also learn how to engage their community, only furthering the reach of the American Red Cross.



Entrant Company / Organization Name

American Red Cross