A Study of Crowdfunding Motivations: Exploring the Motivations of Backers to Contribute to Social and Environmental Crowdfunding Projects of social Entrepreneurs

Nichanun Phituksithkasem

Student thesis: Master thesis


Many social entrepreneurs have been facing difficulties in accessing funding from traditional capital providers since they have the aim to achieve social and environmental goals rather than solely maximizing profits. Hence, they have increasingly relied on crowdfunding as an alternative source of finance. Despite the growth of crowdfunding, there are still limited numbers of research on the field, especially in the context of social entrepreneurs. As the behavior of backers can be highly unpredictable, it is necessary to examine the factors that drive them to back crowdfunding projects. Hence, this master’s thesis aims to explore the motivations of backers to contribute to social and environmental reward-based crowdfunding projects and provide strategic implications on crowdfunding for social entrepreneurs.
Due to the limited knowledge in the field of crowdfunding, the conceptual framework of this study was drawn upon the extrinsic-intrinsic motivational framework and the concepts in the field of philanthropy and SOB in virtual communities. It is an exploratory study which have applied the abductive research approach and qualitative data collection method in the form of semi-structured interview. The study included six participants in total who have previously backed crowdfunding projects in the focus. The data analysis was based on the thematic network analysis method. Consequently, three thematic networks were developed, including intrinsic motivations, extrinsic motivations, and contextual factors.
The findings revealed that backers are driven by a mixture of intrinsic and extrinsic motives. The intrinsic motives include altruistic values, psychological benefits, sense of belonging to a community, and identification with entrepreneurs. The extrinsic motives consist of tangible rewards, reputation, and social norm. In contrary to previous research, it was found out that the reputation motive could also potentially demotivate some backers. Moreover, contextual factors, including trust in entrepreneurs, number of backers, and financial and time constraints, could also influence the decision-making of backers. Hence, social entrepreneurs should be able to control some of the contextual factors and make sure that their crowdfunding projects are able to fulfill both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations of backers.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2018
Number of pages118