According to evolutionary theorists, altruism is an “emotionally rewarding” behavior and is considered a universal phenomenon (American Psychological Association, 2015). The same theorists are saying that kin selection and expectations of later reciprocity are not a strong basis for altruistic behavior because most people who help beggars know that they may not see these people again, yet they still do help. However, in Canada, with only 7% of the eligible population donating blood, there is an obvious need to increase altruism. Thus, what is needed is a detailed plan that will address four aspects of altruism via four methods. The first step of the behavior modification plan involves observational learning through educators and physicians who initiate a blood donation drive in front of their students and in public. Secondly, there is the use of emotions like fear and guilt that will be employed in social media and TV advertisements featuring diseases of Canadians that badly need blood transfusion. A third step would be the reciprocity norm as shown in blood banks, medical institutions and hospitals that give a blood cards and certificate to anyone who donates blood along with the recognition of the donor’s heroism. Finally, there would be the application of the social responsibility norm through the use of religious pamphlet and brochure-making in classrooms initiated by the teacher and actually carried out by students as a project.
Observational learning is learning a new behavior by observing the activity of someone else. Huitt (2004) states that observational learning, as what psychologist Albert Bandura formulated, begins with an individual noticing something around him, remembering it, and imitating it while waiting for the response from the environment whether to continue it or not. In the case of the behavioral change campaign directed towards increasing blood donation in Canada, it is best that an organization of teachers should initiate the blood donation first and let their students see them doing it. At the same time, they may encourage their students to do the same. It must be easier to convince another to do something if he himself can see someone doing it in a large group, especially symbols of authority like teachers. It must be more comfortable to hear someone say, “Let us donate blood together if you want,” than “You should donate blood while I sit here and watch.” Organizations of physicians can do the same blood donation drive as they spread the word around among their subordinates.
The use of emotions like fear and guilt through the content and distribution of advertisements is also effective in the campaign for blood donation in Canada. In fact, it is said that guilt and fear motivate better than hope, based on a study from a University of Chicago Press Journal. The study found out that “evoking both fear and guilt is a far more effective deterrent to potentially harmful behavior” as well as to persuade people to do the same (Science Daily, 2006). Moreover, a “variety of appeals” is necessary when making positive feel-good statements of persuasion while guilt and fear will simply invoke action even without appeals (Science Daily, 2006). In the case of the blood donation campaign, the content of advertisements on paper, TV and social media may be used to evoke fear and guilt in people. In this particular campaign, guilt is more effective since fear has nothing much to do about donating blood. What can be done is to create advertisements that feature patients suffering from accidents, anemia, liver disease, kidney disease, and many other diseases that need blood transfusion (Healthline, 2020). This should then be supported with captions such as, “Shiela needs your help” in order to sound more like a personal appeal.
The third approach is called the reciprocity norm
A third approach in the blood donation campaign is to address the aspect of altruism called the reciprocity norm through rewards that blood donors should receive after donating blood. The reciprocity norm works under a simple principle: “We tend to feel obligated to return favors after people do favors for us” (Cherry, 2020). Moreover, with the norm of reciprocation, “we ensure that other people receive help when they need it” (Cherry, 2020). However, in this case, a reward is promised on the premise that the person should donate blood. The promise of reward should be the main motivation in this respect. Thus, in the form of a TV or social media campaign ad, the message of the advertisement could be “Be a Hero by Saving Lives!” or “Give Honor to Yourself by Donating Blood!” The reward for donating blood is not necessarily a material incentive but something like the label of being a hero or a lifesaver. This nonmaterial reward could be given with a blood card or a certificate that will serve as a tangible sign of the donor’s act of heroism.
Finally, the social responsibility norm can be applied to the blood donation campaign by way of the content and distribution of TV and social media advertisements. It can also be an effective means of challenging the fears associated with donating blood. The social responsibility norm is about the idea that “we should try to help others who need assistance, even without any expectation of future paybacks” (Open Textbooks, 2016). In fact, this is a Christian principle can also be expressed through a Bible quotation like Luke 6:35, which commands people to love their enemies and “lend to them without expecting to get anything back” (Bible Gateway, 2020). With the social responsibility norm in mind, teachers can get young students to make brochures and pamphlets with religious messages for donating blood. These could emphasize the purpose of giving such as “So that others may live” or “No amount of money can ever repay your precious blood, but we only expect your mercy.” Thus, one can hit two birds with one stone here – drawing out the kindness of potential blood donors and teaching children the value of community campaigns and of true goodness itself.
Altruism is a universal phenomenon and it is what perpetuates the human race and human mutual support for each other. However, in many cases, its various aspects may be utilized in order to draw out kindness from a person. People need to get motivated to do something and, once they find meaning in a campaign such as a blood donation campaign, then they would be willing to take part in it. In this plan for a blood donation campaign, there is the use of observational learning, the use of strong emotions, the reciprocity norm, and the social responsibility norm in a variety of activities that involve students, teachers, physicians, TV and social media advertisers, medical professionals, and the potential donors themselves.
American Psychological Association. (2015). Altruism May Be Universally and Uniquely Human. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/pubs/highlights/peeps/issue-48
Bible Gateway. (2020). Luke. Retrieved from https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%206:34-36&version=NIV
Cherry, K. (2020). How the Norm of Reciprocity Works. Very Well Mind. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-the-rule-of-reciprocity-2795891
Healthline. (2020). Transfusion Therapy. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/transfusion-therapy
Huitt, W. (2004). Observational (social) learning: An overview. Educational Psychology Interactive. Retrieved from http://www.edpsycinteractive.org/topics/soccog/soclrn.html
Open Textbooks for Hong Kong. (2016). Social Norms for Helping. Retrieved from http://www.opentextbooks.org.hk/ditatopic/16972
Science Daily. (2006). Guilt and Fear Motivate Better Than Hope. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/02/060213091147.htm