PACIS 2021 Proceedings

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The phenomenon of social entrepreneurship has continued to gain traction, and many social entrepreneurs have turned to online platforms to solicit funding for their prosocial initiatives. A common medium for SEs to solicit the masses is rewards-based crowdfunding platforms (e.g., Kickstarter). Although crowdfunding affords both prosocial and traditional entrepreneurs to tap into the crowd, barriers persist in these democratized environments. In addition to overcoming the traditional hurdles of online-based fundraising campaigns, social entrepreneurs are also burdened with establishing a strong ethical fiber as part of their dual mission to both turn a profit and forward a prosocial mission. Despite the prevalence of this pain point in practice, the current literature is left wanting in understanding how would-be backers assess what constitutes a valid social enterprise within computer-mediated environments. Calling upon signaling theory, I investigate how individuals assess authenticity on crowdfunding platforms.



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