It’s a conundrum familiar to anyone conducting market research. How do you thank public officials, government employees, doctors, teachers, or other public service professionals who’ve participated in your customer surveys, qualitative research, or research panels?
Professionals working in the public sector typically aren’t allowed to accept gifts or monetary rewards like digital gift cards. But incentivizing and thanking your research participants has been proven to boost response rates and retention over time.
E-donation rewards — which allow recipients to donate the value of their reward to a charitable organization — strike the right balance for this audience. Incentives like these can help your organization improve the quantity and quality of your survey responses, encourage more in-depth feedback, and keep panel and community members invested in your research.
Here are some of the benefits of offering e-donations instead of or in addition to digital gift cards to incentivize your research participants, and how to position them in your outreach for maximum effect.
Offering your research participants e-donations as an incentive shows your organization isn’t just collecting data in a vacuum — you care about the world, too. Not only is your organization positioned in a favorable light, you can drive up response rates by playing up the idea of giving back, something those working in public service are bound to appreciate. It’s even more meaningful when you offer a choice because they can support a cause they care about. Plus, because they’re digital, e-donations are an eco-friendly incentive.
People working in public service tend to be altruistic. E-donations are perfect for these types of recipients, who derive satisfaction from helping others. Sending them a reward they can donate will help them feel as though they’re making a positive impact and giving back to the community. Not only does that reflect well on your organization, it underscores your commitment to pure research.
Even if your research participants are allowed to accept digital gift cards or other monetary incentives, some people feel uncomfortable with the idea, especially when you’re asking them for their unbiased opinion. This is often true in the B2B world, as well as the public sector. E-donations are a great way to recognize these relationships in another way. Recipients will appreciate that they can give their gift to a good cause because they’re not “being paid” for their participation.
If you’re conducting research on public health, for example, you could offer e-donations to the American Cancer Society. Similarly, for climate research, you could make the Clean Water Fund or National Park Foundation your incentive contribution. Even without a clear theme, you could tie your chosen e-donations to the season — the World Food Program around Thanksgiving or during the summer, when children in need go without school lunches. Knowing your audience and what may resonate with them can help you determine which marketing angle to take.
Finally, e-donations are also on trend. According to the Blackhawk Network, 78% of Generation Z and 79% of millennials plan to purchase gift cards that give back. Deloitte’s 2021 Millennial and Gen Z Survey also found that since the pandemic started, these generations are more actively getting involved in political and societal issues by donating to charity, volunteering, participating in public demonstrations, and basing career and spending decisions on their personal ethics.
Did you know BHN Rewards can help you streamline your rewards management and delivery with integrations from survey and research platforms like Qualtrics, SurveyMonkey, Medallia, and more than a dozen others? See the complete list here to seamlessly offer both digital gift cards and e-donations as incentives!