Develop strategies for blood donor information, Education and communication (IEC)
Blood transfusion services must strive to develop positive community attitudes to voluntary blood donation in order to motivate, recruit and retain a sufficient number of safe blood donors. However bringing donors is in only the first step in fostering donor and community commitment. The longer-term objective must be to create a positive culture of voluntary blood donation and promote it as a normal part of a healthy lifestyle.
Since most people have little or no knowledge or experience of blood donation or transfusion, the first objective is to create wider public awareness of the need for blood donation and to promote positive attitudes and beliefs towards it. Many who have never thought about donation of blood before may simply need to be asked- through direct personal contact or via the media – and given a convenient opportunity to donate.
Identifying information gaps and communication failures is essential in building community awareness and confidence in the blood donation system. Messages must be devised to overcome cultural constraints and social and psychological fears. The ultimate goal is to promote changes in individual behavior that are manifested by an initial decision to donate blood, a commitment to donate on a regular basis and an undertaking to lead a healthy lifestyle in order to remain eligible as a donor.
Bringing the gap between awareness and actual act of blood donation requires communication and education strategies these are designed to build interest, motivation and commitment. To be effective, these strategies should be base on finding from research. They should address the specific characteristics, interests and concems of different target donor populations and identify entry points and the channels of communication that they use.
Use donor records, donor feedback and research findings to evaluate the effectiveness of current approaches to public information, donor education and communication and to assist in future planning.
Use information from research as a basis of new communication strategies that are tailored to different target donor populations. Identify their attitudes, beliefs, values, interest and fears and plan the information and messages that are most likely to result in a positive response.
Seek professional assistance in planning and developing information and education campaigns from universities, advertising agencies and the marketing departments of large businesses as part of their corporate responsibility activities.
Develop donor information and education campaigns and materials that are relevant and appealing to the different target populations. Involve representatives of these donor populations in reviewing draft materials and suggesting ways of improving them.
Select the most suitable channels and forms of communication for each target donor population; these may include posters and leaflets, newspapers articles, public service broadcasting and radio spots. Identify partners in the media and community who can help to disseminate them.