BACKGROUND: To prevent donor loss and improve retention, it is important to understand the major deterrents to blood donation and to identify factors that can be effectively addressed by blood centers.
STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: A 30-item self-administered questionnaire was completed in 2003 by 1705 first-time and 2437 repeat US donors who had not donated in 2 to 3 years. Asian, Hispanic, black, and white first-time and repeat donors rated the importance of deterrents to donation in their decision to not return with a 1 to 5 scale. Categorical analysis of variance methods were used to compare the importance of deterrents between first-time and repeat donors of different race or ethnicity.
RESULTS: Not having a convenient place to donate was most commonly cited as an important or very important reason for not returning by 32 to 42 percent of first-time and 26 to 43 percent of repeat respondents. Although bad treatment and poor staff skills were less of a barrier than convenience, they were more important for minority donors. Other factors such as physical side effects, foreign travel, or length of the process appeared less important.
CONCLUSION: Inconvenience is a major barrier to donating, suggesting that mobile collections and increased hours of operation might help recapture lapsed donors. The finding that lapsed minority donors were more likely to give bad treatment and poor staff skills as important reasons to not donate is disconcerting in light of the changing donor demographics and increased efforts to recruit these donors.