Media and Communication Ph.D. Dissertations


How Message Strategies, Visual Strategies and Technology Affordances Influence Donation on Facebook Fundraiser Pages

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Media and Communication

First Advisor

Louisa Ha (Advisor)

Second Advisor

Srinivas R. Melkote (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Yanqin Lu (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Salim Ahmad Elwazani (Other)


This study investigated the donation behavior mechanisms underlying the message and visual strategies in narrative form and their impact on crowdfunding campaigns’ success. Specifically, the study examined how messages and visual appeals in fundraising campaigns in the crowdfunding platform influence the amount of money raised through people’s engagement with the campaigns.

This study employed quantitative content analysis to study online crowdfunding campaign stories from the Facebook Fundraiser page. Through natural and field data from the fundraising page (n = 300), this study investigated the charitable crowdfunding phenomenon in its rich context. Specifically, message and visual appeals discussed as significant factors according to previous research are assessed along with individuals’ engagement information from technology affordances. Incorporating those significant variables, this study developed a model to explain people’s donation mechanisms.

Through regression, ANOVA, and Partial Least Squares (PLS) path modeling analysis of the content (n = 300), this study revealed that specific message appeals significantly influence individuals’ engagement in the story, leading to a higher amount of funds raised. The final path model shows that only the third-person point of view (POV), positive framing, visual images of the beneficiary, identifiability of the beneficiary, and interactivity positively influence the amount of funds raised through technology affordances on social media.

The study identified the relative importance of different message appeals to donors and engagement as facilitated by the technology affordances of the crowdfunding platform with real data from crowdfunding campaigns. The study’s theoretical, methodological and practical significance is discussed. The limitations of the study and suggestions for future research are also explored.