How Much Can I Earn as a Plasma Donor?


Q: How do I reach the Gold Level of compensation?

A: To reach the Gold Level, you must donate twice a week for at least 5 consecutive weeks. (2 weeks of the Orange Level, 2 weeks of the Silver Level, and then you enter the Gold Level)

Q: What happens if I only donate once a week?

A: If you only donate once per week, you will maintain your compensation level; if you only make one donation and you are in the Silver Level, you will remain in the Silver Level in the next week.

Q: I donated twice in a 7 day period, why did I not receive any bonus compensation?

A: To be eligible for the compensation bonus, you must donate twice in one calendar week. This means that the two donations must be made between Monday and Sunday to be eligible for the bonus compensation on the second visit of the week.

Q: I donated, but I have not received my compensation yet. What should I do?

A: Typically, the compensation is sent out to our donors within 48 hours of the donation. If 48 hours has already passed and you have not received any email correspondence regarding your compensation, please call your local center or email to inquire.

Q: I did not donate the full amount of plasma; will I be compensated? Will I maintain my compensation level?

A: Yes, you will be compensated; the amount of compensation is dependent on the amount of plasma you donate. For example, if you donate less than 180ml, you will receive $10; if you donate between 180ml and 684ml, you will receive $30. Yes, you will also maintain your compensation level if you have an incomplete donation. 

Q: I was informed that my donation was unusable, what does this mean for my compensation?

A: If we cannot use your donation, you will receive $10. This could be due to the donation being under our minimum volume level, hyperlipidemic, or has been overrun with Red Blood Cells (RBCs). Your compensation level will be maintained even if we cannot use your donation for further manufacturing.

Q: Why do donors who donate more plasma receive more compensation?  A: The donors who donate more plasma receive more compensation because the volume of donated plasma is generally proportionate to the amount of time a donor is hooked to the plasmapheresis machine. More importantly this volume is directly proportionate to the amount of final product (Plasma Proteins) that can be extracted from the raw plasma. More Plasma = More Life-Saving Products for All Patients.

Why Donate Plasma?

The main reason why plasma is donated is that it is a crucial component needed to make plasma-derived medications. These medications are used to treat life-threatening conditions. While plasma might be the largest portion of blood, it is pretty rare, especially since it cannot be synthetically created in a laboratory.

So why donate plasma?

  1. For starters, you get to help the pharmaceuticals make all the crucial medications needed to treat severe conditions. It applies in areas like infectious diseases, hematology, immunology, neurology, trauma, and shock. Your plasma can go a long way in improving the quality of life of somebody out there.
  2. You get to make some money as compensation. Donation centers can pay anywhere between $50 to $70 for each visit.



Being able to earn money donating plasma is a legit way to help others while paying your bills. You only need up to two hours a week to donate plasma. No special skills are necessary which makes this an easy way to earn extra income–if you’re comfortable with needles.

Have you donated plasma?

What to expect on your first visit:

The first visit will take the most time, approximately 2-3 hours because there is a thorough screening process. Subsequent visits will take 75-90 minutes.

I did not need to make an appointment for my first visit, however, it is best to call to find out what you need for your first visit. It was required that I bring my driver’s license, my social security card, and a piece of mail that matched. Your name on your license must match your social security card. I watched a woman get turned away because her social security card did not match her driver’s license. She never changed her social security card after she got married and was turned away because of the mismatch.

Once at your first visit, you will be asked to watch a consent video that is about 20-30 minutes long. This video goes over the whole process of donating plasma and will help you determine if it’s right for you.

After the video, you will meet with an employee who will set you up as a donor, take your vitals, and answer any questions you may have.

After that meeting, you will start the pre-screening process that will happen every time you donate. You will be required to truthfully answer a 60+ health history questionnaire. You will be asked the same 60 questions on your second donation, but it will go down to 24 questions beginning with your third donation. At my location, they have kiosks where you can answer these pre-screening questions, but I have found it easier to answer them on my phone app.

Email me at for my referral link to download the CSL Plasma app to get started with donating.

I got the sense with all of the pre-screening that this plasma location takes everyone’s safety very seriously.

After you answer the pre-screening questions, you will proceed to the check-in line where you will meet with another staff member who will prick your finger to test your blood for protein, assess your veins for suitability, and take vitals such as blood pressure, temperature, weight.

Once you are checked in, you will proceed to the actual donation area to wait your turn. This is where you will get hooked up for the plasma donation. The donation area is one large room with lounge-style beds. There are 40 beds at my donation location.

Side note, I highly suggest you go to the bathroom before heading to the line to wait your turn for a bed. 😉

Your second visit will not take as much time. You are still required to answer the health history questionnaire and check-in with a staff member to test your blood, veins, and vitals. However, beginning with the third visit, your questionnaire will go down to around 24 questions.

The amount of time that this process takes also depends on the number of donors who are also waiting in line. I have found mornings to be a good time to get through this process quickly. Currently, my entire donation process takes approximately 75-90 minutes.

How Does the Donation ProcessWork?

During a whole blood donation, a healthcare professional will stick a needle in your arm and withdraw blood into vials or a bag.

As we’ve mentioned, completing a blood plasma donation is a bit more challenging.

Although the process is a bit complicated, it shouldn’t hurt any more than a whole blood donation.

You’ll start by going to a local plasma donation center for a consultation and screening.

Popular plasma donation centers include Octapharma Plasma, CSL Plasma, Grifols, and BioLife.

After you’ve successfully completed the initial screening, a phlebotomist (someone trained to draw blood) will insert a needle into your vein and begin pulling blood, just as he or she would during a whole blood donation.

However, during a blood plasma donation, your blood will then pass through a unique machine that separates the plasma from the other components in a process known as plasmapheresis.

The device will add a bit of saline solution to your red blood cells and then return this mixture to your body via a needle in your other arm.

There are a few side effects associated with donating plasma with some being more severe than others.

Since plasma is 90% water, one of the most likely side effects is dehydration.

However, the saline solution injected with your red blood cells should help combat this.

Any dehydration that you suffer after donating plasma shouldn’t be severe.

You may also sustain a bit of dizziness or lightheadedness.

There are also a few side effects associated with the needle.

You could suffer bruising at the puncture site.

In rare instances, you could also experience an infection at the area where the needle pierces the skin.

One of the most concerning side effects is a citrate reaction.

This occurs when citrate, a chemical from the machine that’s used to prevent clotting, enters your bloodstream.

This is a standard part of procedure.

When citrate enters your blood, your calcium levels will dip for a bit.

Most people don’t notice this happening.

However, if your calcium loss is severe, you’ll experience numbness and tingling.

You’ll also experience a metallic taste in your mouth.

Citrate reactions during plasma donations are quite rare.

Your healthcare provider will detail the risks before beginning your procedure.

If you notice any side effects during your procedure, your healthcare professional will pause the treatment until your body can readjust its calcium levels and process the citrate.

Although the side effects are citrate reactions are usually minimal, more serious symptoms could occur if you ignore the initial symptoms.

More severe side effects of a citrate reaction include spasms, vomiting, shock, and cardiac arrest.

Be sure to talk with a trusted healthcare professional about the potential risks and side effects of giving plasma before you make your first donation.

How Are You Paid?

Back in the “old days” (read: early 2000s), you used to be able to hand over your plasma in exchange for a fistful of extra cash.

Most centers today opt for a reloadable debit card that operates just like a regular card. This allows them to track your rewards and minimize paperwork every time you come in.

You may still get the occasional center that gives you cash under the table, but those are becoming fewer and farther between.

Just remember that anything you make from a plasma center is technically taxable, so you’ll have to file it at the end of the year.

Are there risks to donating plasma?

The blood plasma industry is steeped in controversy. Over the last several years, critics have called out donation facilities for targeting the poorest Americans, and for paying them far less than their donations are worth (as The Atlantic pointed out in 2018, plasma donors help sustain a multibillion-dollar global pharmaceutical industry).

When it comes to a donor’s personal health, however, the risks are minimal, says Dr. Scott Wright, cardiologist and a leader of Mayo Clinic’s national COVID-19 plasma therapy program.

As with a traditional blood donation, it might hurt a little when the needle goes into your arm, but that should only last a couple of seconds.

“If you have a huge phobia with needles you may feel lightheaded or have some anxiety, but the staff at most donation centers are equipped to help with that fear,” Wright says.

Before you head to your appointment, make sure you’ve drunk plenty of fluids. Always let the screener know if you’ve had any recent surgeries or medical conditions, are taking any medications or have gotten a tattoo or piercing in the last year, since all of these activities can lead to medical complications.

Where Can I Donate Plasma?

Some hospitals and biomedical companies collect plasma donations. The American Red Cross also collects plasma donations. To find a plasma donation center near you that pays for donations, visit and search for a location near you.

You can make an appointment online. Pay attention to the requirements for what you need to bring to your first appointment — some places require different types of identification.

Plasma Donation Locations in Phoenix

While you might find blood donation centers all across town, there are a select few plasma donation centers in Phoenix that are trustworthy. You must find only the best ones that will take care of you and compensate you well.

Some reputable centers in Phoenix include:

Will I continue to donate plasma?

Right now, donating plasma fits into my schedule. I try to go on Friday and Sunday mornings. My goal is to continue at two times a week, which is approximately $360 of compensation. I have calculated that this is about $30/hour.

How Do I Donate Plasma?

Before you go to donate plasma, you should:

  • Get enough sleep the night before.
  • Avoid alcohol for 24 hours before you donate.
  • Eat a meal but avoid caffeine on donation day.
  • Drink 4-6 glasses of water, juice, or other liquid without caffeine in the few hours before your appointment.

Here is what you can expect when you arrive at the donation center.

What To Expect

  1. Check in. You will need to check in and provide an ID. If this is your first donation, there may be forms you need to fill out and some companies will ask you to watch a video about plasma donation.
  2. Answer screening questions. You will be asked some health questions and some questions about recent travel and even your sexual history. All of these questions are designed to ensure that it is safe for people to receive your plasma. You will supply a small sample of your blood from a finger stick, which will be tested on-site.
  3. A needle will be placed in a vein in your arm, and your blood will be collected through a tube. The plasma will be separated from the other parts of your blood – red cells, white cells, and platelets. These other components will be returned to your body through the same needle. This process is called plasmapheresis.
  4. During the donation, you will be reclining in a chair with your feet up. You should not move the arm that the needle is in, but you can watch TV or read a book or magazine–as long as you can do so one-handed.
  5. Because the blood has to be separated and returned to your body, it takes a little longer than a donation of whole blood. Expect your first donation to take about two hours, and subsequent donations to take about an hour and a half.
  6. After you have donated, have a drink and a snack, and stay at the donation center until you are sure you are not feeling faint or dizzy. You should drink extra fluids and take it easy for the next 24 hours after your donation. Do not lift anything heavy, and avoid participating in any strenuous exercise. If you do not feel well, contact your doctor or the donation center.

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Your first donation cannot be used, so plasma donation centers are looking for people who can donate regularly. You can donate again two days after your first donation, but no more than twice in a 7-day period.

Donating Plasma during Covid-19 Pandemic

Most of what I wrote above pre-dates the Covid-10 pandemic and so we felt a need to add something for how it is during the pandemic.

As you would expect, the value of plasma has gone up now that the demand for plasma has gone up and the number of donors have gotten smaller.

We had a reader, Joleen, tell us that this is what she received in a series of eight donations in September and October 2020:

  • September 2020 – 1st donation – $75
  • September 2020 – 2nd donation – $105
  • September 2020 – 3rd donation – $80
  • September 2020 – 4th donation – $105
  • October 2020 – 5th donation – $105
  • October 2020 – 6th donation – $135
  • October 2020 – 7th donation – $105
  • October 2020 – 8th donation – $135

She was considered a new donor for her first eight donations and she received several bonuses. She got an extra $5 for scheduling another appointment during her current one plus an extra $30 if she gave 2 donations in the same week. In October, she was paid $100 per visit – also with the bonuses.

After the eight, she was considered a returning donation and each donation is worth $25 and goes up by $5 each time you donate. Again, you get the $5 extra for rescheduling while you’re there and the $30 bonus for donating in the same week. If you do 8 donations in a month, you get another $100 bonus on top of it all. She was in the Las Vegas area and all the local places were offerings similar bonuses.

What else can I sell for money?

Did you know that you can sell your hair for cash too? Here’s a list of 8 body parts you can legally and safely sell for money. It may shock you!

Nicole Thelin

Nicole leads the Low Income Relief team with over

Nicole leads the Low Income Relief team with over 20 years of professional research and writing experience. Nicole started Low Income Relief after a personal experience with poverty. When her husband was medically discharged from the US Army, their family experienced tremendous financial hardship. Nicole was able to gather help from multiple community agencies and move into a nearby low income housing unit in just two weeks! Since then, Nicole has been dedicated to helping low income families in crisis. She regularly spends hundreds of hours combing through countless resources to make sure that Low Income Relief has the most comprehensive and complete resource directories on the internet today. Prior to starting Low Income Relief, Nicole worked as a novelist, journalist, ghostwriter and content creator. Her work has been featured in various print and online publications, including USA Today, eHow, Livestrong, Legal Beagle, The Daily Herald, The Chronicle and more.