Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

The Social Network Effect: The Determinants of Giving through Social Media

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, vol. 43, pp. 850-868, 2014

35 Pages Posted: 9 Apr 2013 Last revised: 5 Mar 2015

Gregory D. Saxton

Schulich School of Business, York University

Lili Wang

Arizona State University (ASU)

Date Written: March 9, 2013

Abstract

Social networking applications such as Facebook, Twitter, and Crowdrise offer new ways for nonprofits to engage the community in fundraising efforts. This study employs data from Facebook Causes to examine the nature and determinants of charitable giving in social networking environments. Our findings suggest donations on these sites are not driven by the same factors as in “off-line” settings. Instead, a social network effect takes precedence over traditional economic explanations. Facebook donors do not seem to care about efficiency ratios, their donations are typically small, and fundraising success is related not to the organization’s financial capacity but to its “Web capacity.” Moreover, online donors are prone to contribute to certain categories of causes more than others, especially those related to health. Given the growth in social media-driven fundraising – and the increase in crowdfunding, slacktivism, impulse donating, and other new practices this entails – these findings carry notable theoretical and practical implications.

Keywords: charitable contributions, crowdfunding, donations, Facebook, fundraising, giving, Internet, small donors, social media, social networking sites, nonprofit organizations, charities

JEL Classification: L31, O33

Suggested Citation

Saxton, Gregory D. and Wang, Lili, The Social Network Effect: The Determinants of Giving through Social Media (March 9, 2013). Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, vol. 43, pp. 850-868, 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2247138

Gregory Saxton (Contact Author)

Schulich School of Business, York University ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://social-metrics.org

Lili Wang

Arizona State University (ASU) ( email )

Paper statistics

Downloads
573
Rank
39,287
Abstract Views
1,747