A Multi-platform Study of Crowd Signals Associated with Successful Online Fundraising

Henry K. Dambanemuya, Emoke Ágnes Horvát*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The growing popularity of online fundraising (aka "crowdfunding") has attracted significant research on the subject. In contrast to previous studies that attempt to predict the success of crowdfunded projects based on specific characteristics of the projects and their creators, we present a more general approach that focuses on crowd dynamics and is robust to the particularities of different crowdfunding platforms. We rely on a multi-method analysis to investigate the correlates, predictive importance, and quasi-causal effects of features that describe crowd dynamics in determining the success of crowdfunded projects. By applying a multi-method analysis to a study of fundraising in three different online markets, we uncover universal crowd dynamics that ultimately decide which projects will succeed. In all analyses and across three markets, we consistently find that funders' behavioural signals (1) are significantly correlated with fundraising success; (2) approximate fundraising outcomes better than the characteristics of projects and their creators such as credit grade, company valuation, and subject domain; and (3) have significant quasi-causal effects on fundraising outcomes while controlling for potentially confounding project variables. By showing that universal features deduced from crowd behaviour are predictive of fundraising success on different crowdfunding platforms, our work provides design-relevant insights about novel types of collective decision-making online. This research inspires thus potential ways to leverage cues from the crowd and catalyses research into crowd-aware system design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number115
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Issue numberCSCW1
StatePublished - Apr 22 2021


  • collective behaviour
  • crowdfunding
  • fundraising
  • group decision-making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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