DKMS Diversity Programme Research

We are just starting important research for DKMS, the blood cancer charity which manages the world’s largest stem cell donor register. The research aims are two-fold: to provide insights to help DKMS develop an engagement and retention plan for target groups who are underrepresented on the DKMS UK donor database; and to identify what would help motivate registered donors who are waiting to be matched.


DKMS’s mission is to find a matching donor for every patient in need of a life-saving stem cell transplant. To achieve this, their register needs to be not only a significant size, but also include potential donors of all ethnicities. A review of donors in the DKMS database highlighted specific BAME communities that are significantly underrepresented, and therefore increased engagement is needed within the Black African-Caribbean, Bangladeshi, Chinese and Pakistani communities. Asian and Turkish communities are also to be the focus of the research with those who are already on DKMS’s donor database.

In order to develop an effective engagement and retention plan for these communities, DKMS needs a better understanding of them, and that is where our research comes in.

We will use a specialist panel to recruit participants from the target communities, with whom we will conduct in-depth interviews, supported by an online survey of current registered donors from the Asian and Turkish communities. We will explore knowledge of blood cancer and stem cell donation, what would encourage/discourage them joining a donor register, how their religious and social beliefs influence their decision to become a donor, and what can be done to make them more likely to respond actively to requests for donors once on the database.

Our report will identify key insights, trends, commonalities and differences between the groups, to inform DKMS’s engagement and retention planning. This will be supported by Customer Journey Maps and visual infographics.

With a better understanding of the most underrepresented communities on the register, DKMS hopes to not only meet their ambition of finding a matching donor for every patient in need of a life-saving stem cell transplant, but also reach the following targets:

  1. By 2025, to create at least 600 second chances of life per year from UK lifesavers for people affected by blood cancer and blood disorders in the UK and around the world.
  2. To transform the hopes and chances of people from BAME backgrounds to find a suitable match for a blood stem cell transplant.
  3. To recruit the best-prepared blood stem cell donors and provide them with excellent service and support on their journey from joining the register to becoming a stem cell donor and beyond.

If you have a similar project in mind, please contact Anne Forshaw, Research Director, on 0121 604 4664.