This study investigates the role of semantics as persuasive cues in donation-based crowdfunding campaigns across donation categories. Semantics have been shown to affect donation as part of narration technique. Drawing from the research on framing effect and schematic association of category, the study proposes that the persuasiveness of semantic cues depends on its consistency with categorical expectation. The consistency (vs. inconsistency) between semantic cues confirming to categorical expectation is to strengthen (vs. weaken) willingness to donate. The text analysis by LIWC showed that other-focused description increases willingness to donate, while self-focused description decreases willingness to donate. These findings suggest a sympathetic response towards descriptions on the occurrence of grave events happening to individuals; their needs for funds to travel for medical treatment are perceived highly worthy. The sympathetic feelings were ill afforded when the psychological process trigged by semantics are in conflict with categorical expectations. When words triggering cognition processes were present in the highly emotional category (such as funeral), they weakened donation. The results provide guidance for campaigners and crowdfunding platforms in communication strategies on appeal content within specific donation categories.
Hsu, Ting-Yu; Tsai, Yin-Chi; Hung, Yu-chen; Liu, Wenting; Ren, Jing; Ding, Ding; and Horng, Jorng-Tzong, "Semantics as persuasive cues in donation-based crowdfunding campaigns: The moderating role of donation category" (2023). ICEB 2023 Proceedings (Chiayi, Taiwan). 54.