Empathy or perceived credibility? An empirical study on individual donation behavior in charitable crowdfunding

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)623-651
Journal / PublicationInternet Research
Issue number3
Online published4 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


Purpose – Researchers have called for the synthesis of divergent perspectives and the development of a theoretical model that examines individuals’ donation behavior in charitable crowdfunding. To fill this research gap, the purpose of this paper is to synthesize the literature pertaining to the determinants of donation behavior in charitable crowdfunding. Then, drawing on the stimulus-organism-response framework, the authors develop
and test a model that explains individuals’ intention to donate to charitable crowdfunding.
Design/methodology/approach – This paper follows a quantitative research approach. An online survey was distributed to collect data from individuals who had experienced charitable crowdfunding. In total, 205 valid responses were received and analyzed.
Findings – First, this study finds that individuals’ empathy and the perceived credibility of a charitable crowdfunding project are key determinants for their intention to donate in charitable crowdfunding. Second, the study finds that website quality, transaction convenience, and project content quality influence both empathy and perceived credibility in different ways. Third, it is noteworthy that initiator reputation is positively related to perceived credibility, while project popularity is positively associated with empathy.
Originality/value – This research advances the knowledge of individual donation behavior in charitable crowdfunding. The model can help researchers understand individuals’ philanthropic behavior by providing empirical explanations of the interplay between technological and project characteristics, emotional and cognitive states, and individuals’ donation behavior. For practitioners, the research suggests appropriate design, launch, and operation strategies to facilitate individuals’ donation behavior in charitable crowdfunding.

Research Area(s)

  • Empathy, Perceived credibility, Charitable crowdfunding, Donation behaviour, Project characteristic, Technological characteristic