Last week in this space, ABC President Dave Green wondered about the makeup of tomorrow’s donor base to meet future transfusion needs. He correctly stated that finding the right answer in the current environment is key. With other seemingly more urgent priorities, he urged us not to lose sight of this issue and to ensure donor relationship management practices are prepared to recruit and retain future donors. Dave, I’m glad you brought it up!
ABC has collaborated with its partners in the Alliance of Blood Operators’ Donor Engagement and Relationship Group (DERG) with the goal of answering this question: what will the donor of the future look like (and perhaps, what are we exactly preparing for)? The group began by collecting data on the potential impact of changing demographics in the West, major health innovations, technological developments, and political, economic, and environmental issues on the donor base. Some trends began to emerge, but it was still not clear how these would mold the donor of the future or whether blood services would still hold influence in shaping them. To visualize the potential outcomes of these trends, DERG sought the assistance of a strategic foresight consultant to develop four “disruptive” scenarios. These scenarios are not predictions, nor are they visions of the probable future, but rather a glimpse at how these global trends and dynamics could change the prevalent psychographic for giving blood within our communities and the world at large. To enhance this work, DERG worked with the University of Hamburg in Germany to survey over 6,600 current donors seeking opinions on their future donor behavior (see page 1). The final report is beginning to take shape and contains some interesting conclusions with some level of certainty (technology driven convenience, demand for blood product specificity, and diversified recruitment and retention) while major unknowns remain in the form of overall demand level and regulations.
In the end, blood services asking themselves the question that brought us here will have access to a well informed and researched resource to plan, prepare, and act. Such strategic tools provided by ABC allow members to answer questions, and mostly importantly, prepare solutions. We may not know what the future holds, but one thing remains certain, ABC and its members will not be caught off guard.
Matt Granato, MBA, Chief Operating Officer;firstname.lastname@example.org