Understanding Social influence in Facebook Fundraising: Relationship Strength, Immediacy of Needs, and Number of Donations

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Mass Communication and Journalism




Crowdfunding through social media has presented challenges and opportunities for nonprofit and voluntary sector organizations. To better understand how organizations can harness the power of social media in fundraising, the current research examined the effects of different types of Facebook fundraising posts on donor engagement. Based on Social Impact Theory, three factors of social influence were investigated, including relationship strength with the fundraiser creator, immediacy or urgency of the fundraising need, and number of donations. An online experiment was conducted using samples recruited through Amazon Mechanical Turk. A repeated measures test was performed to explore the effects of three social influence factors on perceived source credibility, feeling of social presence, attitude toward the post, and intention to click, share, and donate. Strongest main effects were found for immediacy of needs. Facebook fundraising posts for an urgent need generated much more positive responses than posts for a nonurgent need. Interaction effects were also found among three variables in perceived credibility and intention to click. Personal relevance and perceived risk moderated the effects of number of donations on intention to donate. Implications for nonprofit and voluntary sector organizations were discussed.

Publication Title

Journal of Philanthropy and Marketing

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