Telephone interviews elicited information on motivational responses of blood donors and nondonors from a completely random sample of an entire community. Results indicated that more males than females are current donors and that 63 per cent of the males and 89 per cent of the females who have donated previously have become nondonors. Most donors express no fears before donating and state direct appeal, convenience, and peer pressure as the motivational aspects that caused them to donate in the first place, and altruism as the major reason for continuing to donate. The two largest categories mentioned by nondonors for inhibiting their donating were medical disqualification and fear.
When both donors and nondonors made suggestions for improving blood donor recruitment, they tended to mention publicity (including education), emergency appeal, and personal solicitation. The first two were not mentioned by actual donors as to what motivated them to give blood initially. Blood procurement agencies should, therefore, be aware of a distinction between actual motivating factors and those that are only hypothetical.