Blood donation in Malaysia is practised as voluntary non-remunerated. However, recruiting and retaining blood donors remain a challenge in the transfusion service. The main aim of this study was to understand the factors affecting the return of first-time blood donors. This was a retrospective study involving 480 first-time temporarily deferred whole blood donors from National Blood Centre (NBC), Kuala Lumpur. Data of donors who were deferred from 2010 to 2014 were extracted from the Blood Bank Information System. Deferred blood donors were categorised into two main groups, namely, a group of donors who returned for blood donation and a group that did not return for the donation. Each blood donor was contacted personally via telephone. Donors who returned were younger (p < 0.001), with females in a higher proportion (61.3%) compared to males (38.8%) (p < 0.001). Singles (68.3%) were more likely to return for donation compared to married donors (31.7%) (p < 0.001). Donors who lived in urban areas were more likely to return for donation compared to donors who lived in rural areas (34.6%) (p < 0.005). The most common factor that had motivated these donors to return was self-satisfaction (29.9%), while the most common factor that hindered them from returning for donation was the lack of time (28.50%). As a conclusion, more awareness and education regarding regular blood donation should be considered to donors from a rural areas. Additionally, mobile blood donation drives should be made easier for blood donors who have a busy lifestyle.