Remember the movie Pay It Forward with Kevin Spacey? It’s been longer than I thought, it came out in 2000. The idea was simple – do something good for someone, and they “pay it forward,” by doing a good deed for someone else. In the movie, the middle schooler changes the world with this.
We’ve been doing this in a small way, and I don’t claim to have changed the world. We’ve recruited patients for several studies for graduate students and other academics. They certainly don’t have the budgets of our pharma clients. So we do the work at no charge, donating our time.
What about honoraria? Sometimes the students have a budget for a smaller incentive (e.g., a $10 gift card). Other times there is no budget at all. What we do in that case is to explain to the panelists that it is an academic study, there is no reward, but we will be able to provide a summary of the results. A few panelists tell us they won’t participate without an incentive, but many panelists are happy to participate, and they feel they are contributing something important.
What’s in it for us? Several things:
- Sometimes the students have other patient sources, and we ask them to join our panel or that of our cancer partner, WhatNext.com
- This is great opportunity to keep our panelists engaged if they are in a disease category where we haven’t had a lot of paying studies
- We’ve already seen several of our student-clients graduate into paying clients. We saw one recently at ISPOR and he was proud to let us know he was joining a consulting company and would be calling us. We told him our rates would be a little higher than when he was a student!
- Most important is the simple satisfaction of helping students and the community, the same feeling I get from donating blood! And maybe they’ll pay it forward.