Using information to bring donors back after having postponed donations

What was the question?

We wanted to find out how donors felt about new materials we provided to them when they had their donation postponed in-centre. In particular we wanted to know if the material helped a donor’s knowledge, understanding and satisfaction of the process we used to postpone their donation.

Why is it important?

We know that many donors don’t understand why we postponed their donation, and some of them think they can never give blood again.

In our previous studies, we found that 41% of donors who were eligible to return after a postponed donation still believed they were ineligible or were unsure. We hope that we can encourage more donors to return when they’re eligible by improving communication during postponement.

What did we do?

We used 30 Australian donor centres in our study, using three different conditions:

  • In 10 donor centres, we asked staff to give donors a brochure that included why their donation was postponed and the date they could return. We gave staff a conversation guide to help them answer questions from donors who weren’t eligible to donate when they came to a centre. We also sent an email to these donors the next day, telling them the date they could return and providing a link to a website with more information.
  • We sent the email to donors who had their donation postponed at another 10 donor centres, with no additional materials provided in-centre.
  • Donors from another 10 centres received business as usual communication.

A survey was sent out to some of these donors to ask them about the materials they received and their understanding and satisfaction with the in-centre process.

Staff who provided the brochure to donors provided their opinion on the materials used in the study as well as their continued use.

What did we find out?

Donors who received the brochure were more likely to know when they could return to donate. They reported that staff told them the date they could return. Compared to the other two groups, they had fewer unanswered questions and were less confused about why they couldn’t donate.

Donors who received the brochure were more likely to book another appointment. We hope this results in higher donor return rates than the other two groups.

Donors who received additional materials had stronger knowledge and satisfaction scores. Donors who received the brochure reported the highest scores, but the group who received only the email reported higher scores than our current business as usual arm.

Donors and staff had strong support for the continued use of the materials, in particularly the brochure. Most donors had read the brochure after leaving the donor centre and many kept it. Most staff we talked to told us they’d like to keep using the brochure after the trial was finished.

What are the next steps?

We’re monitoring the return rates of donors involved in this study, to find out how the study materials affect how quickly donors return.

Based on our recommendation, the brochure is being adapted and will be implemented in donor centres early in 2020 for some types of donors and reasons for postponement.

The conversation guide was introduced into donor centres in November to be used with donors who have their donation postponed.

If you’d like more information about this study, please contact Carley Gemelli.

Thanks to all the donors who helped us with this study, and to all the staff and study champions for providing the brochure to donors.

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