Research study update: Evaluation of the trial of the post donation SMS message.

What was the question?

In 2015, the Marketing team developed a post-donation SMS to let donors know where their blood was sent, and trialled it in six donor centres in NSW. Many donors told us that they loved receiving this message, but the Donor Research team were curious about whether this SMS had any impact on donation behaviour: did it encourage these donors to return?

Why is it important?

Retaining blood donors is an ongoing challenge. Data from 2015 found that only 57.8% of first time Australian donors returned to donate within 12 months. Finding cost-effective ways to increase donor retention is a priority us.

What did we do?

We examined the return behaviour for all donors in the Marketing trial in NSW, and compared their donation behaviour with a control group of donors who donated at the same six donor centres but did not receive the SMS. Statistical analysis was performed looking at the effectiveness of the SMS on donor retention at 6 and 12 months, and whether donors who received the SMS returned to donate quicker.

What did we find out?

Donors who received the SMS were 49% more likely to return to donate within a 12 month period, compared to those who did not receive a SMS. Donors returned to donate more quickly if they received the post-donation SMS.

This intervention worked equally well for males and females, and donors in all age groups. Interestingly, it had the greatest impact on first time donors – they were 73% more likely to return to donate within a 12 month period if they received the SMS. This highlights the effectiveness of this simple intervention for those donors who are most difficult to retain. Experienced donors – those who had already made ten or more donations – returned at a similar rate regardless of whether or not they had received the SMS.

What is happening next?

Since the time of the trial, the post-donation SMS has been rolled out nationally. The Donor Research team is analysing the impact of this initiative on the retention
of new blood donors across Australia, and also investigating whether the SMS continues to work once a donor receives them on multiple occasions.

If you would like more information, please contact Carley Gemelli.

We would like to thank Marketing for their collaboration with us on this study.

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