What Kind of Cause Unites a Crowd? Understanding Crowdfunding as Collective Action

Rob Gleasure, Joseph Feller

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper explores the types of shared goals that underlie fundraising activities in web-enabled charitable crowdfunding, as well as how these goals unite donors and fundseekers. A grounded theory analysis is undertaken using a stratified sample of records from Pledgie.com, a crowdfunding website dedicated to charitable causes. Content analysis of these records reveals three types of information sharing associated with successful fundraising (1) information supporting impact (2) information supporting morality and (3) information supporting external relationships. These information types are related back to existing literature on collective action to explain how and why communities of donors form around specific fundraising initiatives. Findings suggest that while most existing models of charitable crowdfunding adopt a view of information sharing based on dyadic communication between donors and fundseekers, charitable crowdfunding should also be viewed as a technological paradigm capable of forming action-oriented collectives based around specific causes, beliefs, and/or identities.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Electronic Commerce Research
Volume19
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)223-236
Number of pages14
ISSN1526-6133
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Crowdfunding
  • Charity
  • Collective action
  • Content analysis
  • Grounded theory

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