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Help yourself: Pictures of donation recipients engaged in physical self-help enhance donations on crowdfunding platforms

D Perez, N Munichor, G Buskila

Journal of Business Research 161, 113826



Many charity organizations raise money through crowdfunding platforms, in which donors choose among large numbers of projects that compete for funds. Prior research suggests that photos used in a charity appeal substantially affect donation behavior. This study identifies a novel feature of campaign imagery that influences the donation decision: portrayal of victims engaged in different types of “self-help” actions. Specifically, two controlled experiments and an analysis of field data explore how prospective donors respond to fundraising campaign photos featuring either physical self-help, non-physical self-help, or no self-help. Results show that donors contribute more funds to campaigns that show victims engaged in physical self-help than to campaigns portraying victims engaged in non-physical self-help or no self-help. The findings also suggest that this influence is attributable to the sense of inspiration elicited …

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