Eliciting repeat blood donations: tell early career donors why their blood type is special and more will give again


  • This research was supported by the resources of the New Zealand Blood Service, the Otago Blood Donor Centre and the Department of Psychology, University of Otago.

: Louis S. Leland Jr, Department of Psychology, University of Otago, Box 56, Dunedin (or 95 Union St., Dunedin), New ZealandE-mail: Leland@psy.otago.ac.nz


Background and Objectives  This study was designed to investigate whether sending a personalized and informative letter to early career donors would increase the number returning to donate again, as the literature suggests that it is at around the third donation that people become career donors.

Materials and Methods  Experimental participants were sent a recruitment letter that included information about their own blood type and the percentage of the general population with the same blood type who donated. Control participants received a recruitment letter with some general information. The aim of the study was to determine whether more participants in the experimental group, compared with the control group, would donate blood within a 4-week period after receiving their personalized recruitment letter.

Results  Donors in the experimental group were 43% more likely to return to donate than those in the control group [χ2 (1) = 5·79, P < 0·016].

Conclusions  Sending out personalized, informative letters appears to be a potentially powerful donor-retention tool.