13 November 2023
Study shows positive effect“Your Blood Donation Has Been Used”—How Feedback Text Messages Motivate Blood Donors
Donating blood helps people in emergencies and saves lives. Even if the number of donors increased in 2021, blood reserves are desperately needed.
An international team of researchers at Universität Hamburg, RU Groningen (Netherlands), and Penn State University (USA) have shown in a new study that feedback text messages have a positive effect on the behavior of blood donors.
Within the scope of their joint research, the authors and the Nord-Ost blood donation service of the German Red Cross (DRK) and the Austrian Red Cross have shown in several field studies that this approach led to a 10 percent increase in the number of donations and a 12 percent increase in the probability that inactive donors can be reactivated. In Austria and several other countries, donors now receive a feedback text message when their donation has been used: “Thank you for donating blood! Today it was delivered to a patient at (University Hospital Vienna).” They also receive information about the next possible opportunity to donate blood.
“A conservative estimate of an average of one donation per year means 100,000 donors for a mid-sized blood bank, of which 20 percent can be assumed to be inactive, meaning more than 10,000 additional donations. The effect is significant because every blood donation can be used for up to 3 patients,” says Dr. Besart Veseli, research associate with the professorship for marketing and media and Universität Hamburg.
The study shows how blood banks can use available data from the donation histories of current donors to improve donor relations, retention, and reactivation. Wolfgang Rüstig, sales director of the Red Cross blood bank for Baden-Württemberg-Hessen, says: “The information about when and where the last blood donation was used is a very interesting possibility for reactivating blood donors from their inactive phase.” Tracing donations is a statutory requirement and does not involve additional costs or effort on the part of blood banks.
Prof. Dr. Michel Clement, professor in the Faculty of Business Administration (Hamburg Business School) and co-director of the Red Cross research cooperation on blood donation management: “The communication about the the use of the last donation is important and signalizes to the donors that the blood donation bank is invested in their relationship, which ultimately leads to better rates of blood donations.”
Shehu, Edlira, Besarta Veseli, Michel Clement, Karen Page Winterich, (2023): Improving Blood Donor Retention and Donor Relationships with Past Donation Use Appeals, Journal of Service Research