By Marike Carli

We currently have 71 623 active blood donors on our database. An active blood donor is someone who donates blood at least once a year. Ideally, we would like blood donors to donate between 2 – 6 times a year, 6 times being the maximum number of units you can donate in a calendar year.  A lapsed donor is someone who used to donate blood but has not donated blood within a specified amount of time – usually a year or more. We have quite a number of lapsed donors on our database, so we embarked on a ‘lapsed donor campaign’ at the end of February.

The aim of this campaign was to contact donors who haven’t donated blood in more than a year in the hopes of getting them to become regular blood donors again. As a blood donor, you granted us permission to contact you via email, phone calls and/or SMS to remind you of your upcoming blood donation clinic. Our Customer Service department communicates daily with blood donors who are due to donate blood as well as the public at large. Dedicated personnel send emails, SMSs and call donors, but every so often they can’t get hold of donors. Blood donors might stop donating blood for various reasons. They might have moved out of town, their contact details change, or they simply don’t know where to donate anymore; they might think they are no longer eligible to donate, and some might even have stopped because of a bad experience. Whatever the reason, we wanted to know why so that we could get these donors back to donating blood.

We emailed 22 016 donors to find out why they stopped donating blood. The email contained various options that could be clicked on which included 6 different options.

5 980 donors (32.1%) opened the email, 1 608 clicked on one of the options. After 5 days of sending the initial email, we sent 2 more:

  • The first email sent was to donors who opened the initial mail but didn’t click on any option – of the 5 980 donors in this group, 3 212 opened the email, and 372 selected an option provided.
  • The second email was sent to the group of donors who didn’t open the first email -of the 12 978 donors emailed, 3 661 donors opened the email, and 969 clicked on an option.

Even though only 14% clicked through on the options provided, the majority – 1 506 donors – said they wanted to be kept on the database, indicating that even though they haven’t donated blood in over a year, they might still donate blood in the future. Since the start of the campaign, 784 donors donated blood again for their first time in a year or more.

The way we communicate to you depends on the options you chose on the donor questionnaire the first time you donated blood. Should you wish to change or update your options, please click here. If you know of someone who hasn’t donated blood in a while, encourage them to join you next time.  Remember, you are never too old to start donating blood again.