Being seen to care: The relationship between self-presentation and contributions to online pro-social crowdfunding campaigns

Joe Cox, Thang Nguyen, Andy Thorpe, Alessio Ishizaka, Salem Chakhar, Liz Meech

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)
143 Downloads (Pure)


Although the desire for image enhancement has long been considered one of the key motivations for prosocial behavior in conventional offline settings, comparatively little evidence exists as to whether the same assumptions hold for online interactions. Our study addresses this gap in the literature by investigating whether self-presentation leads to variations in prosocial behaviors among contributors to online pro-social crowdfunding campaigns. We present an analysis of data from the Internet crowdfunding platform ‘Lendwithcare’, which combines the results of a tailored survey with recorded patterns of actual funding activity. By using the presence of a publicly visible lender profile as a proxy for image consciousness, we hypothesize that self-presenting funders will increase levels of visible activity (number of loans made), but will not vary levels of non-visible activity (average monetary value of each loan) relative to other funders. We find empirical evidence that is largely consistent with our hypotheses. Our findings are likely to be of interest to both academics and practitioners seeking to better understand funder motivations and prosocial behaviors in online settings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-55
Number of pages11
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Early online date19 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Computers in Human Behavior, Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Computers in Human Behavior, [83], (2018) DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2018.01.014

© 2017, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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  • Self-presentation
  • Image consciousness
  • Pro-social behavior
  • Crowdfunding
  • Online


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