Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Marketing



First Advisor

B. Lawrence Chonko


In 2015, individual donations were at a $264.58 billion high, accounting for about 72% of overall donations. The proportion of individual donations coming from crowdfunding has had a steep, increasing pattern. In 2015, for instance, $34 billion of the individual donation came from crowdfunding sources, which has nearly doubled since 2014. This share was at about $5 billion in 2013 (Forbes 2015; 2017). The increasing use of the Internet and the growth in crowdfunding vehicles give rise to more increasing estimates of this share for the years to come. While it seems intuitive that sharing online crowdfunding campaigns on social media increases donations, since more people get to know about them, the net effect of such sharing has not been studied. In Essay 1, using data scraped from a major crowdfunding website, it is shown that sharing crowdfunded campaigns on social media actually has a negative effect on donations. This is a phenomenon which, in recent literature, has come to be known as slacktivism; the tendency of people to make fast, easy contributions (e.g., sharing a campaign, wearing a bracelet to support a cause, etc.) instead of meaningful, perhaps more difficult contribution (e.g., actually giving money to a cause). It is further shown that consistent with similar online social living (non-donation) campaigns (e.g., Groupon), there is a ‘critical mass’ beyond which donations increase significantly. The existence of these phenomena in the nonprofit domain has important strategic implications about how awareness is to be made about nonprofit campaigns in the online world. Building up upon the implications of Essay 1, Essay 2 uses propensity-score matching (PSM) to compare and contrast the success factors of campaigns that are shared both on the social media and traditional media vis-à-vis those that are merely shared on the social media. Using data scraped from a major crowdfunding website, average treatment effect (ATE) is estimated for various success factors. This research is the first of its kind to measure treatment effects in the online crowdfunding of charitable donations. Further, the literature on this topic does not offer a concrete prediction as to which means of promotion might have a superior effect. This research has important implications for using social media as a promotion tool. Finally, Essay 3 investigates donations in the not-exactly-cheerful realm of cadaveric organs for transplantation. Given that the rational decision-making framework has not been significantly successful in explaining and predicting behavior in this domain, a conceptual framework is proposed to study cadaveric organ donations using irrational (illogical) beliefs. This research has important implications for reducing the considerable gap between the current supply and demand of cadaveric organs.


Donations, Helping behavior


Business | Marketing


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

Included in

Marketing Commons