Prolific’s charity feature: Some good (and bad) news

As you may know, we at Prolific care about social impact. When we speak about social impact, we mean primarily two things: (1) Helping academic researchers, data scientists, entrepreneurs, and companies of all kinds do better research and (2) encouraging our users to donate to charity.

In the past, we’ve offered two charity options to our participants: They could donate their rewards either to Cancer Research UK or to Save the Children. We’re delighted to announce that since our last donation round about a year ago, today we have transferred £1138.57 to Save the Children and £676.79 to Cancer Research UK. While this is great, these amounts are not as big as they could be. The good news is that we therefore have plans to revamp our charity feature. The bad news is that we won’t be able to get started on this just yet.

Rather than building too many different features at once, we’ve decided that we want to be laser focused on achieving our core mission: To facilitate open and robust science, and to improve trust into online behavioural science.

We've decided to launch the new participant interface without the charity feature for now, so we can give everyone the best possible, frictionless Prolific experience. That being said, we are planning to work on building a new and improved charity feature at a later date, and we have plenty of ideas around this. Amongst others, we’d love to allow participants to donate fractions of their rewards, or to pick their own favourite charities, and better understand what types of incentives most effectively encourage participants to take part in scientific research (any ideas?). Also, we want to make sure that any charities we recommend are evidence-based and use resources efficiently to help those in need. As much as we’d like to tackle these questions head on, progress on this will have to wait a little.

The right time will come when we’ll start developing a really great charity functionality as part of Prolific. If you have any thoughts on what this functionality could look like, please don’t hesitate to comment below.


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