Semantics as Persuasive Cues in Donation-Based Crowdfunding Campaigns: The Moderating Role of Donation Category

Ting Yu Hsu, Yin Chi Tsai, Yu Chen Hung, Wenting Liu, Jing Ren, Ding Ding, Jorng Tzong Horng

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-552
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the International Conference on Electronic Business (ICEB)
StatePublished - 2023
Event23rd International Conference on Electronic Business, ICEB 2023 - Chiayi, Taiwan
Duration: 19 Oct 202323 Oct 2023


  • content analysis
  • donation-based crowdfunding
  • empathy
  • LIWC
  • trust


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