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Previous social research on blood donation has found that altruistic personality traits are associated with a higher likelihood of donation. However, such research does not adequately explain why campaigns appealing to altruism have had limited success in significantly increasing blood donation rates. Using the concept of social capital, this study conceptualizes blood donation as a social phenomenon that is embedded in the context of community. It reports on the activities of Canada's national blood donation agency in two cities with substantially above-average rates of blood donation. Data were gathered through in-depth interviews with staff and selected donors and non-donors in each city and from ethnographic observation of blood collection and donor recruitment activities. These activities eschewed conventional appeals to altruism, instead emphasizing how individuals could meaningfully enhance their profiles in their community and workplace through blood donation. This study offers valuable insights into the influence of social capital on blood donation.