CHICAGO — If you’re a social entrepreneur considering using Kickstarter, take notice. The tone and diction you use in a crowdfunding campaign can go a long way, a new study finds.
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago examined 656 Kickstarter campaigns that took place in 2013 and 2014, hoping to find what was conducive to success for campaigns with a social cause.
The analysis found that social campaigns that made their mission and founders more relatable and understandable to their donors garnered the most exposure and success.
Meanwhile, this finding did not apply to commercial crowdfunding campaigns.
“Here, we show that the persuasiveness of entrepreneurs’ stylistic expressions is dependent on their category membership— that is, whether they are social or commercial entrepreneurs,” explains Annaleena Parhankangas, the study’s lead researcher and an assistant professor of managerial studies, in a university press release.
In other words, interactive pages that share personal experiences and easy-to-understand stories are uniquely effective for social causes, whereas boilerplate content is often effective enough for for-profit campaigns.
One method of driving engagement with social campaigns is by asking the message’s recipient questions, as opposed to providing unambiguous statements.
While crowdfunding has been growing as a whole, it has particularly become a panacea for social causes, as funding has dried up for many of these ventures.
In 2014, about $12.6 billion was raised in total for both for-profit and non-profit ventures through various crowdfunding platforms.
With the increasing importance of crowdfunding, “how [firms] deliver the message matters— and, as a result, it is important to study how entrepreneurs’ language use affects their chances of raising funding,” says Parhankangas.
The study’s findings were published in the Journal of Business Venturing.