What motivates regular blood donations?

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In 2002, the medical benefits scheme given to blood donors who gave two donations a year was successfully removed. However, those who were already on the scheme continued to enjoy that benefit as long as they keep up with the two donations a year. About 30 000 donors were on the scheme in 2001, but less than 7000 were left on the scheme today. A study was conducted in 2010 to investigate what really motivates this group of blood donors.

Study Design and Methods

A questionnaire, in the four official language of Singapore, was sent to all the blood donors on the scheme. A response rate of 41·6% yielded a sample of 2898.


Of the 89·9% who agreed blood donation is an act of pure goodwill, 19·2% said they will not donate blood for nothing. Interestingly, 18·5% of those who do not consider blood donation as an act of pure goodwill was willing to donate blood for nothing. Of those who said that they will continue to donate blood in the absence of all rewards or incentives, 70·6% gave more than one donation a year, with 72·7% giving three to four donations and 75·9% giving more than four donations.


These findings suggested that regular blood donors are self-motivated. The more they give, the more they value their contributions. This motivation is not related to their income or education levels, but reflected the sense of ‘upmanship’. This revelation can be used to strengthen retention strategies in better acknowledging the contributions of regular blood donors and in enhancing the quality of donor services and donor care, as delighted blood donors will make many happy returns.

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