My Red Cross reminder email tells me that they have averaged a decline of 80,000 fewer donors per year for the last four years. That is a very big number. I went looking for the full story on this, which wasn't easily available, which irritates me. How many donors do they have? What do they think is driving the decline? I am also irritated because the Red Cross has some history of playing with its fundraising vs services numbers, so they are not entirely trustworthy. Not terrible, just not quite up to their image.
Still, the bottom line is this: blood is not something you can make artificially and just charge more somewhere. People need this, and the only source is other people. Even if the Red Cross were a thoroughly corrupt organisation, they are the only game in town, and there is no other way to do this work. Major media made a big deal for years that the big issue is that they won't accept donations from gay men, as if that 2% of the population were going to turn the tide even if they were approved for donation (as they are now, sorta.) Rejecting people who have had tattoos in the last six months, or people who have been abroad in some situations may be bigger issues.
Arthur C. Brooks's Who Really Cares revealed in 2006 that conservatives, especially religious ones not only give more to charity*, but volunteer more in their communities and give more blood. He challenged at the time that if liberals gave blood at the same rate as conservatives, we would have no shortages. Challenge issued, challenged declined. Clearly that hasn't happened, and it's not gonna happen.
I donate Double Red, which is now called Power Red, and is every 112 days instead of 56 days. It takes twice as long, but as it takes a half an hour to get over to the donation site and a half an hour back, I consider it a more efficient method. You should consider getting out and donating. And bring your children, so they get the idea that this is part of a normal, responsible life.
*That is an oversimplified claim and there are levels to it. It is both technically and essentially true, but there are layers to it. Libertarians score worst, by the way.