Anemia in very low birth weight (VLBW) infants is common and frequently managed with red blood cell (RBC) transfusions. We utilized a linked vein-to-vein database to assess the role of blood donors and component factors on measures of RBC transfusion effectiveness in VLBW infants. We linked blood donor and component manufacturing data with VLBW infants transfused RBCs between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2016 in the Recipient Epidemiology Donor Evaluation Study-III (REDS III) database. Using multivariable regression, hemoglobin increments and subsequent transfusion events following single-unit RBC transfusion episodes were examined with consideration of donor, component, and recipient factors. Data on VLBW infants (n = 254) who received one or more single-unit RBC transfusions (n = 567 units) were linked to donor demographic and component manufacturing characteristics for analysis. Reduced post-transfusion hemoglobin increments were associated with RBC units donated by female donors (-0.24 g/dL [95% confidence interval (CI) -0.57, -0.02]; p = .04) and donors <25 years old (-0.57 g/dL [95% CI -1.02, -0.11]; p = .02). For RBC units donated by male donors, reduced donor hemoglobin levels were associated with an increased need for subsequent recipient RBC transfusion (odds ratio 3.0 [95% CI 1.3, 6.7]; p < .01). In contrast, component characteristics, storage duration, and time from irradiation to transfusion were not associated with post-transfusion hemoglobin increments. Donor sex, age, and hemoglobin levels were associated with measures of RBC transfusion effectiveness in VLBW infants. Mechanistic studies are needed to better understand the role of these potential donor factors on other clinical outcomes in VLBW infants.