When you’re doing research for a higher education institution, it’s a whole different ball game than conducting your everyday corporate or consumer study. And your tools — including your rewards platform — need to reflect those special needs.
Just like any other researchers at a firm or corporation, those at colleges and universities need incentives to boost participation and engagement. But given the limited budgets, government funding sources, and increased oversight, they need to make sure that those incentives are done right for everyone involved.
The right academic rewards platform can help. Here’s how.
Academic researchers are typically working with limited budgets and resources, so they’ll love a rewards platform that can simplify and streamline the administrative task of managing incentives. The ability to integrate with popular survey tools, especially Qualtrics, is key, since that opens the door to automate reward delivery. By setting up workflows that automatically send an incentive upon survey completion, academic researchers can cross a lot of tedious, manual tasks off their to-do list for good.
But automation is just one of the things to look for. The right academic rewards platform also must meet the special needs of the higher education environment. For instance, many projects must comply with Institutional Review Board (IRB) requirements, which are intended to maintain the integrity of the research. In addition, researchers at higher ed institutions often need to keep their survey participants anonymous, meaning that they need an incentives tool that supports decoupling and data masking.
A positive recipient experience is important to maximize the effectiveness of your incentives. Not to mention a bad experience makes rewards an even bigger burden on researchers, since it means that unhappy recipients are constantly calling to complain or ask why they haven’t received their incentive. With the right rewards platform, though, recipients will be happy because they get their digital incentive fast and can choose what kind of gift card or prepaid card they want. Again, integration and automation are helpful to ensure instant delivery.
In addition, customization options let researchers add their own messaging, branding, and “from” email domain, so recipients recognize the reward and don’t skip over or accidentally delete it. Plus, a rewards platform that sends automatic reminders to recipients who haven’t yet claimed their incentive helps avoid people getting upset because they missed the redemption window.
Whatever department handles the budgeting and procurement for your research project needs has different interests in the rewards tool you choose. From a financial side, higher ed institutions are typically under more scrutiny, whether it’s from an IRB, a grant provider, a benefactor, or even the IRS. Juggling spreadsheets and calculating numbers manually to collect the necessary information creates headaches all around — and it’s never a good idea to frustrate the people holding the purse strings. That means the easier it is to track incentives in your rewards platform, the better.
Detail and access are key. The right rewards platform will offer self-service reports that can be filtered and pulled with just a few clicks to show every necessary piece of information, from which rewards were claimed to how much each recipient earned. In addition, a tool with flexible user permissions will let your finance colleagues access the information they need without constantly having to request status reports or documentation for each individual research project.
Rutgers University’s Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling used BHN Rewards to simplify research incentives while also solving its accounting issues and complying with IRB requirements. Read the success story here.