South Texas Blood & Tissue is starting to see increases in younger donors and donor retention in 2023, according to the organization’s Chief Operating Officer, Adrienne Mendoza, who presented to the board of directors of The Blood & Tissue Center Foundation at their meeting Monday.
“While we have a lot of work to do, the things that we’re doing are definitely demonstrating some success,” she said.
Her presentation explained the positive impact that funding by The Foundation has had on blood donations. Specifically, funding for the new donor rooms in Boerne and Bulverde as well as for the new ALYX blood-draw devices used on mobile drives has helped improve the donor experience, helping to increase collections and donor retention efforts.
The speed and efficiency of the ALYX equipment also has been beneficial in attracting younger donors at high school mobile drives.
Overall, South Texas Blood & Tissue has seen a steady increase in the average number of donations per year, from 1.52 times per year in 2018 to 1.94 in 2022.
“That means that they had a good experience, that it’s convenient enough for them to come back in and donate,” Mendoza said.
In the first six months of 2023, the donor retention rate is already more than 50%, meaning that more than half of the people who donated last year already have donated again, according to Mendoza. In all of 2022, the donor retention rate was 50%, up from 40% in 2019.
After a decrease in donors 19 years old and younger in 2017-20, there is good news about the youngest generation of blood donors. In 2021 and 2022, STB&T saw a 33.46% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of donors 19 and under. In that same period, the organization has seen a 49.59% CAGR in Hispanic donors of the same age group.
The organization is working to reach and engage younger donors through a new effort to market through commercials in English and Spanish on streaming platforms, rather than just traditional media.
Mendoza also touched on the rising number of donations at the newest donor centers in Boerne, Bulverde and Victoria. The Victoria co-location with H-E-B Plus will serve as a pilot program for potential expansion in Laredo and the Rio Grande Valley.