Program FAQs

Since the beginning of the Commit for Life program, our dedicated blood donors have helped save millions of lives, and we could not be more grateful or proud. As patient needs have evolved in recent years, so have the ways you are able to help – whether that means committing to a certain donation type or simply being open to donating what is needed most on a given day.

In late 2015, Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center introduced an updated Commit for Life program designed to reflect the changing daily needs of patients and ensure donors are recognized for giving the most essential blood components. Read the FAQs to learn more about the program and how you can make the greatest difference for patients by Committing for Life.

What is it?

What is Commit for Life?

It is a partnership between you and Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center that is focused on saving lives, today and in the future.

Why did the program change?

As patient needs have evolved in recent years, so have the ways you are able to help – whether that means committing to a certain donation type or simply being open to donating what is needed most on a given day. The updated Commit for Life program, effective Oct. 6, 2015, reflects the changing daily needs of patients and ensures that donors are recognized for giving the most essential blood components.

How does the program work?

When you donate, our staff will recommend your optimum donation based on your blood type, eligibility and current needs. Make one optimum donation in a calendar year* to become a CFL Select member and enjoy the associated benefits; make at least three optimum donations in a calendar year* to earn the benefits and prestige of CFL Elite status! (If one of your optimum donations in a calendar year is double red cells, only two donations are needed to become CFL Elite.)

*The first "program year" is Oct. 6, 2015, to March 31, 2017; donors have this 18-month period to make one optimum donation and secure their membership for the remainder of 2017. Membership will be based on a calendar year in 2017 and beyond.

Is membership still based on a calendar year?

Yes.  The level you have achieved upon completion of a calendar year is the level at which you will begin the following year.

If you fulfill the donation requirements to reach a higher level, you will move up in level during the year. Otherwise, you will remain at the same level.

New! Oct. 6, 2015, through March 31, 2017, will be treated as the first program year, so donors will have 18 months to become familiar with the new program and achieve the level at which they will complete 2017. This is updated from a 15-month period of Oct. 6, 2015, to Dec. 31, 2016, in response to donor feedback.

What are the steps to Commit for Life as a donor?

1)      Know how your type matters.
You're the type of person who understands the value of helping others. Every day, patients depend on volunteer donors – people like you – to provide many types of blood donations that help in different ways. No matter what your blood type is, your type matters.

2)      Donate what matters today.
Patient needs change daily and certain blood components may be more in-demand from each donor. Our staff will let you know how you can make the most of your donation by giving what’s needed today.

3)      Commit to your next donation.
The need for blood donations is ongoing. You can ensure a steady blood supply is available for ever-changing patient needs by giving again as soon as you’re eligible. Each time you donate, be sure to plan your next donation.

Why should I Commit for Life?

There is no substitute for blood. It must be voluntarily donated by one person to be given to another. The need for different blood components – like red blood cells, platelets, plasma and source plasma – is constantly evolving and varies by blood type. Giving the most-needed donation helps ensure the right components are always available for the patients we serve.

Where can I Commit for Life?

We have 13 Neighborhood Donor Centers conveniently located throughout the greater Houston area, plus in Lufkin, Nacogdoches and College Station. Additionally, we have regular mobile blood drives at local businesses, churches, schools and other organizations within our 26-county region. Find a location near you.

How do I Commit for Life?

How do I join the Commit for Life program?

There is no sign-up process. To join the Commit for Life program, simply make one optimum donation in a calendar year and reach the CFL Select level. If you were already a Commit for Life member when the new program began Oct. 6, you were brought into the new program at either the CFL Select (previous member and bronze) or CFL Elite (previous silver and gold) level. This is your level for the first program year.

Who may Commit for Life?

The Commit for Life program as outlined above is for blood donors. However, there are opportunities for volunteers and blood drive groups to Commit for Life as well following their own set of steps.

What is an optimum donation?

It is the donation type most needed from you at the time of your visit. Your blood type, eligibility and current patient needs will determine your optimum donation type, which may be different each time you visit. Our staff will always let you know what your optimum donation is.

What if I don't give an optimum donation?

Every donation helps save lives and is appreciated. If you are a Commit for Life member who has either transitioned into the new program due to established membership or made at least one optimum donation since Oct. 6, 2015, we will award you 200 points for a non-optimum donation.

How do I Commit for Life as a volunteer?

1)      Know how your type matters.
You're the type of person who understands the value of helping others. Whether you’re young or just young at heart, have free time during the week or on the weekend, you can save lives by donating your unique time and talents as a volunteer. 

2)      Volunteer at high-priority locations.
Volunteer needs change daily and certain locations may be prioritized based on our current schedule. We’ll let you know how you can make the most of your time by signing up for our areas of greatest need.

3)      Commit to your next volunteer opportunity.
Pre-scheduled volunteers allow us to better manage the Volunteer Program and meet ever-changing patient needs. Once you find the opportunity that best matches your type, commit to volunteering there regularly. 

How does my blood drive group Commit for Life?

1)      Know how your group matters.
Your group of donors understands the value of helping others. Every day, patients depend on volunteer donors – just like yours – to provide many types of blood donations that help in different ways. Working together, we will make these donations types available at your blood drive.

2)      Host when needed most.
Patient needs change daily and hosting at certain times of the year may be more beneficial to a steady blood supply. Our staff will let you know when you can make the greatest impact with your blood drive.

3)      Commit to your next blood drive.
The need for blood donations is ongoing. You can ensure the right components are available for ever-changing patient needs by scheduling again for the future. 

I am registered in Digital Donor. Am I a Commit for Life member?

These are different. Digital Donor is an online portal where donors may keep track of their donations, eligibility dates and health information. Commit for Life is a program that creates a partnership between you and The Blood Center to save lives by knowing how your type matters, donating what matters today and committing to your next donation. You do not have to be a Commit for Life member to use Digital Donor, and you do not have to have a Digital Donor account to be a Commit for Life member.

Levels and Benefits

What are the levels of the new Commit for Life program?

There are two levels in the new Commit for Life program: Select and Elite. In order to achieve Select status, you must donate one optimum donation in a calendar year*. In order to achieve Elite status, you must donate three optimum donations in a calendar year*. (If one of your optimum donations in a calendar year is double red cells, only two donations are needed to become CFL Elite.)

For previous CFL members who transitioned into the new program, those who were member or bronze donors as of Oct. 5, 2015, began the new program as CFL Select members. Those who were silver or gold donors began the new program as CFL Elite members. These donors must make at least one optimum donation between Oct. 6, 2015, and March 31, 2017, to continue 2017 as a CFL member.

* Beyond the first 18-month "program year" of Oct. 6, 2015, to March 31, 2017

My group only has two drives per year. How do I become an Elite member?

If you would like to give more often, there are plenty of opportunities! Find a Neighborhood Donor Center or another mobile blood drive near you, so that you can make three donations in a calendar year. You may also let your group's blood drive chairperson know that you are interested in donating more frequently so they may consider hosting additional blood drives.

Why are you asking me to make an appointment?

Scheduling your donation allows us to plan ahead, ensuring we have the appropriate staff and resources on hand when you go to donate. It also helps us better manage our blood supply so we can ensure patients receive the donations they need. There is no penalty for not scheduling your donation – only a bonus for doing so, with even more points offered for scheduling within a month of your last donation.

If I am late to my appointment, will I still get my points?

Yes, as long as you donate on the day of your appointment, you will be awarded the points earned for scheduling in advance.

May I be a part of the program if I don't make appointments?

Yes, Commit for Life membership is based on making at least one optimum donation in a calendar year. We strongly recommend scheduling your appointment, but you do not have to do so in order to be a member.

What are the program benefits?

Benefit

CFL Select
One optimum donation per calendar year*

CFL Elite
Three** optimum donations per calendar year*

Points Received After Each Donation
Individuals who achieve CFL Select status are eligible to receive points for making optimum donations, other donations, keeping scheduled appointments and more.

CFL-Select -Icon

CFL-Elite -Icon

Access to Commit for Life Store
Use CFL points to purchase items apparel, backpacks, fitness gear and more, accessible through Digital Donor.

Wellness Check
Log onto Digital Donor to view your health check results after each donation.

Commit for Life Select Card
Available for members to order from the CFL store

 

Commit for Life Elite Card
This special card is available to order from the CFL Store once a donor reaches the Elite level.

 

Elite Commit for Life Store
Exclusive access to premium store items, which will automatically appear in the CFL Store for Elite members

 

Commit for Life Calendar
Members may pick up a complimentary calendar from their Neighborhood Donor Center beginning in November.

 

Complimentary Advanced Wellness Check***
The Advanced Wellness Check consists of a lipid profile (fasting cholesterol, LDL, HDL and triglycerides).

 

Health Statement (past 12 months)***
Receive all your Wellness Check results from the previous 12 months in a convenient printed report.

 

Entry into Holiday Hugs Delivery Raffle***
Enter for a chance to join The Blood Center’s staff in delivering teddy bears to local hospitals.

 

 

*The first "program year" is Oct. 6, 2015, to March 31, 2017. Membership will be based on a calendar year in 2017 and beyond.

**Two donations if at least one optimum donation is double red cells.

***Elite members receive one complimentary and may use CFL points to purchase additional. Select members may purchase with CFL points.

How do I take advantage of my Advanced Wellness Check as an Elite member?

Elite members receive one complimentary Advanced Wellness Check per year. To make arrangements to have your complimentary Advanced Wellness Check at one of our Neighborhood Donor Centers, contact us at (713)791-6260 or 1(800) 791-1666. If you would like to receive more than one per year, or if you are a Select member who would like an Advanced Wellness Check, you may place an order through the Commit for Life store using your points, and we will contact you to make arrangements.

To obtain accurate results, a blood sample should be taken when the individual has been fasting (no food or drink for 12 hours). Therefore, you will not be able to have a sample drawn for testing at the same time you donate blood. 

What if I want to donate without being a Commit for Life member?

Although you are automatically enrolled in the program for a year upon making one optimum donation, you have the opportunity to set your own contact preferences. If you do not wish to use CFL Store points, we encourage you to donate them back to The Blood Center to help support our mission.

How Points Work

When will I start earning points through the new program?

The new point system will go into effect on Oct. 6, 2015.

How do I earn points?

There are two ways to earn points in the new Commit for Life program.  They are by donating what matters and committing to your next donation. You may only earn points once you have become a Commit for Life member. See chart below:

Donate What Matters Today

 

  Optimum donation

600 points

  Non-optimum donation

200 points

 

 

Commit to Your Next Donation

 

  Within a month of last donation*

200 points

  More than a month after last donation*

100 points

* Points applied when appointment is kept. Points will still be applied if appointment is scheduled within one month of an onsite deferral.

Why are you changing the point values?

The new point system offers greater rewards for making a greater impact – by giving the most-needed donations and committing to give regularly. By giving the optimum donation, you help ensure The Blood Center can meet the specific needs of patients in the hospitals we serve.

I donated yesterday, but my points aren't showing up in your system.

It may take up to a week for points to be added to your account.  If in seven days, your points are not available, please call us at (713) 791-6373 and let us know.

How do I get to the new CFL store?

Visit giveblood.org and hover over the Commit for Life tab in the main menu. Select Commit for Life Store Preview to view the items available. When you are ready to go shopping, go to Digital Donor, sign in and follow the links.

How do I redeem my points if I don't have web access?

You may call (713) 791-6373 and place an order with our Customer Service staff.

May I still earn points even if I've been deferred?

If you are an Elite or Select level member, you will receive 100 points for an attempted donation in which you were deferred.   

May I transfer my points to someone else?

These points are one way that we may thank you for saving lives by donating blood. You will not be able to transfer them to another person. We appreciate that you might not wish to use them for yourself and if you so choose, you may donate them back to The Blood Center.

Do points ever expire?

After 15 months in which you have no donation activity, your points will be donated back to The Blood Center. We will send you email notifications at 12, 13 and 14 months since your last activity to notify you that your points will expire if you do not attempt to donate by the 15-month mark.

May I give points back?

Yes, you may donate your points back to support The Blood Center in a variety of ways through the CFL Store.

Blood Center News
2017 Commit for Life Scholarship Winners

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center is excited to announce the 2017 Commit for Life Scholarship recipients.

Commit for Life Program Year Extended

The Blood Center is extending the first CFL program year, which would have ended Dec. 31, to March 31, 2017.

The Blood Center helping nationwide during times of crisis

Thanks to dedicated donors who have ensured an adequate supply is available local patients, The Blood Center has been able to assist blood centers nationwide during times of crisis in 2016. Most recently, The Blood Center sent blood to Florida after the state was unable to collect during Hurricane Matthew.

New source plasma donation sites added to Blood Center roster

Source plasma is the latest blood component that The Blood Center has begun to collect in an effort to help save more lives. Source plasma is a component that is used to make therapeutic proteins, which are lifesaving medicines for patients battling more than 80 different diseases.

New weight requirements for donors between the ages of 16 to 18

As of Aug. 16, donors between the ages of 16 to 18 must be at least 122 pounds to donate. This is latest step The Blood Center is taking to help reduce the risk of donor reactions and injuries, which are more common among smaller, younger donors.

The Blood Center sends units to Dallas following shootings

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center sends blood to Dallas to help those in need following Thursday's shootings.

MILA Foundation partners with The Blood Center

The Blood Center has various partners throughout the community who help us save lives and continuously accomplish our mission. Recently, we hosted a blood drive with a new partner whose mission is as honorable as any and whose story is profound.

The Blood Center partners with the Houston Zoo

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center recently embarked on a unique partnership with the Houston Zoo that is dedicated to helping treat a deadly virus in elephants.

Regulatory Changes Affect Donor Eligibility

The FDA has revised its donor acceptability guidelines, and Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center will implement these changes beginning May 23, 2016.

2016 Commit for Life Scholarship Winners

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center is excited to announce the 2016 Commit for Life Scholarship recipients.

Blood Center to Begin Testing for Zika Virus May 23

The test is part of an Investigational New Drug Application protocol approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The cobas® Zika test is manufactured by Roche Molecular Systems.

The Blood Center holds annual brunch for volunteers

Every year, The Blood Center takes time during National Volunteer Appreciation Week to thank the volunteers who used their time to help us save lives.

Meet our Volunteers: Marsha Asplin and Jim Daurity

This month we would like to highlight the dynamic duo of Marsha Asplin and Jim Daurity. Marsha and Jim volunteered the most hours in 2015.

Annual 'Roll the Dice' event raises funds for Marrow Donor Program

The Gulf Coast Marrow Donor Program successfully raised $140,000 at their 18th annual Roll the Dice for Life event. The money will go toward continued efforts of helping patients fighting blood cancers.

The Blood Center safeguarding against Zika Virus

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center is taking measures to help safeguard the blood supply as the Zika Virus spreads.

Meet Our Volunteers: Humble/Kingwood Community Advocates

Volunteering as a Community Advocate at one of our 13 Neighborhood Donor Centers is one way individuals may partner with The Blood Center to save lives.

The Blood Center celebrates 27th 100-gallon donor

The Blood Center congratulates James Tullis for giving his 100th gallon of blood in November.

New Commit for Life Program

Beginning Oct. 6, Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center is excited to introduce an updated Commit for Life program that will reflect the changing daily needs of patients and ensure donors are recognized for giving the most essential blood components.

August 2015 Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the August edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

July 2015 Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the July edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

June 2015 Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the June edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

Hematocrit Deferral Period Extended

Having a low hematocrit level is one of the most common reasons individuals are deferred from donating blood.

May 2015 Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the May edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

2015 Commit for Life Scholarship Winners

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center has selected the winners of its Commit for Life Creative Scholarship. 

Celebrating our Volunteers

On Saturday, April 18, Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center’s annual Volunteer Appreciation Brunch recognized our hardworking and dedicated Commit for Life volunteers.

April 2015 Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the April edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

March 2015 Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the March edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

2015 Luncheon and Awards Ceremony

Gold-level blood drive groups – those that host at least four drives per year – were honored at Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center’s annual “A Celebration of Life” Luncheon and Awards Ceremony on Feb. 12, 2015 at the Royal Sonesta Houston Galleria. 

February 2015 Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the February edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

Roll the Dice for Life

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center’s Marrow Donor Program hosted its 17th annual Roll the Dice for Life fundraiser Friday, Feb. 6, at The Bell Tower on 34th.

January 2015 Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the January edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

Patrick McDonald is 26th 100-Gallon Donor

On Wednesday, Jan. 14, Patrick McDonald of Deer Park became the 26th blood donor in the Texas Gulf Coast region to give 800 donations, the equivalent of 100 gallons.

December Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the December edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

November Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the November edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

Workshop Prepares Students to Host Blood Drives

Last week, 180 local high school students took over the halls and conference rooms of Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center’s headquarters for the 2014 High School Workshop.

October Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the October edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

Circle of Life Bike Tour Rides into Houston

The Lone Star Circle of Life Bike Tour rode into Houston on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014, to raise awareness of the need for more lifesaving blood, bone marrow, organ and tissue donors in Texas. 

September Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the September edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

August Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the August edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

Congratulations to Our Gas Card Giveaway Winners!

Thank you to everyone who participated in July’s gas card giveaway and congratulations to our winners. Here are last month’s winners and where they donated.

July Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the July edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

Congratulations to our Family Vacation Month Winners!

Thank you to everyone who participated in June’s Family Vacation Month giveaway and congratulations to our winners.

June Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the June edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

New License Expands Impact on Rare Donor Patients

Thanks to a recently approved FDA license, patients across the country in need of rare units of red blood cells may breathe a little sigh of relief. 

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center Gives Back

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center serves more than 170 hospitals and health care institutions in the 26-county Texas Gulf Coast, Brazos Valley and East Texas regions. 

May Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the May edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

Commit for Life Creative Scholarship Winners

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center has selected the winners of its Commit for Life Creative Scholarship. 

April Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the April edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

New Rare Donor Program: One 2 One

You may have recently received a letter in the mail from us thanking you for your donation along with a new green and white donor ID card with the words “One 2 One” on it.

March Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the March edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

February Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the February edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

Gold-level Groups Honored at Annual 'Celebration'

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center hosted its annual “A Celebration for Life” luncheon and awards ceremony at Hilton Americas-Houston Hotel on Feb. 28.

Six Days a Week to Help Save Lives!

Starting Feb. 17, most Houston-area Neighborhood Donor Centers will be open six days a week!

Creative Scholarship Deadline is March 1

The deadline for The Blood Center’s Commit for Life Creative Scholarship is rapidly approaching, and eligible high school seniors are encouraged to apply by March 1!

January Commit for Life Newsletter

Welcome to the January edition of the Commit for Life Newsletter, your source for the latest Commit for Life news and updates!

Additional Donor Centers Now Open Mondays

Beginning Monday, Jan. 6, donors in the Clear LakeThe Woodlands and Westchase areas will have extra opportunities to help save lives! These Neighborhood Donor Centers will now be open on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Meet the Executives

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center’s executive team spearheads the organization’s mission of partnering with the community to help save and sustain lives by providing a safe supply of blood, blood components and related service. Meet the dynamic men and women who drive The Blood Center’s continued success.

National Volunteer Week 2016

April 10 through 16 is National Volunteer Week. It is a time when organizations around the country highlight and show appreciation for the people who unselfishly donate their time to various causes for the benefit of others. 

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Blood Center Resources

Our mission is to partner with the community to save and sustain lives by providing a safe supply of blood, blood components and related services.

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center
1400 La Concha Lane
Houston, TX 77054

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