To attract new donors and ensure current donors return, we’re building stronger personal connections. Our research reveals that people view giving blood as more than simply supporting a good cause; it’s closer to volunteer work, in that it’s a conscious investment of time and effort for the good of the community. The return on that investment is personal satisfaction, along with appreciation from others.
At the same time, we see a change in donor recruitment patterns that mirrors what leading blood operators are experiencing worldwide: there has been a marked increase in missed appointments. The reasons for this aren’t yet fully understood, but perhaps because blood donation involves some time and effort, it tends to take a backseat when pressing work and family obligations arise. With a 40 per cent annual turnover rate and the need for an additional 170,000 donors in any given year — plus the added challenge of more people missing appointments — our focus is on understanding donors better and improving the entire donation experience.
Donor recruitment is as much a science as an art, particularly when it comes to calculating the number of appointments needed to yield a specific number of donations. In 2014–2015, based on past experience, we expected to see an average of 1.7 clinic visits booked for every unit of blood collected. This was up from the average of 1.67 clinic visits seen two years earlier — yet by the most recent year-end, we found that we averaged slightly more than 1.8 bookings per donation. And even though our total annual number of clinic appointments, at just over 1 million, was 50,000 higher than envisioned, we still fell short of our overall collections target by 20,000 units because of cancellations and no-shows. Over the coming year we’ll continue working to identify the drivers behind these changes in behaviour to fine-tune our planning.