• The purpose of this research is to develop a model of the explanatory factors that determine the predisposition to donate blood in order to improve the effectiveness of donor recruitment and retention programs. A personal survey was conducted on a sample of 303 potential donors between 18 and 60 years old and from both sexes, who are resident in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain) and have either never donated blood or not donated in the last 3 years. The findings lead us to say that the predisposition to donate blood is positively influenced by the information that the potential donor has about the requirements to become a donor, and by the motivations to donate blood. It is negatively influenced by the inhibiting factor of fear of the extraction procedure and its after-effects. However, prior experience as a donor and links with reference groups who are donors do not have any direct influence on the predisposition. These findings suggest that it is necessary (1) to design communication campaigns in which information and education are the goals, and which aim to make donation a habit; (2) to clarify to society the need for blood donation and to describe the process of donation in order to eliminate those inhibitors linked to fear and the perception of risks; (3) to design advertising campaigns focused on rational messages since information exercises a greater influence on the predisposition to donate than motivations linked to altruism; (4) to recommend that no great efforts be made to recapture previous donors, since experience is not a direct antecedent of the predisposition to donate but an indirect antecedent via information and (5) to stimulate word-of-mouth among reference groups using member-get-member programs whereby current donors bring new donors to the system.

Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.