Framing Beneficiary Photos to Elicit Donations in Online Medical Crowdfunding: Through the Perspectives of Sympathy and Deliberation
32 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2022
Date Written: June 17, 2022
Beneficiary photos on charity appeals are believed to engender prosocial behavior. This study explores photo framing of healthy and unhealthy beneficiary photos in the context of photo-rich online medical crowdfunding. Based on framing theory, emphasis framing effect (i.e., unhealthy photos only vs. both healthy and unhealthy photos) and equivalency framing effect (i.e., healthy photos prior to unhealthy photos vs. unhealthy photos prior to healthy photos) are identified. Results of a scenario-based experiment with 135 participants reveal that disclosing both healthy and unhealthy photos can elicit stronger sympathy and perceived need than merely disclosing unhealthy photos. Moreover, the framing order of unhealthy photos prior to healthy photos leads to a higher level of sympathy than the framing order of healthy photos prior to unhealthy photos. Furthermore, sympathy and perceived need are positively related to donation intention. Our study provides a theoretical understanding of the photographic narratives of campaign projects in the crowdfunding literature. It also offers practical guidance in the aspects of the framing effect of beneficiary photos for crowdfunding management.
Keywords: Medical Crowdfunding, Photo Framing, Framing Theory, Beneficiary Photos, Sympathy, Perceived Need
JEL Classification: M15, M37
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation