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Published on Apr 25, 2016
The Power of Collective Endorsements: Credibility Factors in Medical Crowdfunding Campaigns Jennifer G Kim, Ha Kyung Kong, Karrie Karahalios, Wai-Tat Fu, Hwajung Hong
Abstract: Traditional medical fundraising charities have been relying on third-party watchdogs and carefully crafting their reputation over time to signal their credibility to potential donors. As medical fundraising campaigns migrate to online platforms in the form of crowdfunding, potential donors can no longer rely on the organization’s traditional methods for achieving credibility. Individual fundraisers must establish credibility on their own. Potential donors, therefore, seek new factors to assess the credibility of crowdfunding campaigns. In this paper, we investigate current practices in assessing the credibility of online medical crowdfunding campaigns. We report results from a mixed-methods study that analyzed data from social media and semi-structured interviews. We discovered eleven factors associated with the perceived credibility of medical crowdfunding. Of these, three communicative/emotional factors were unique to medical crowdfunding. We also found a distinctive validation practice, the collective endorsement. Close-connections’ online presence and external online communities come together to form this collective endorsement in online medical fundraising campaigns. We conclude by describing how fundraisers can leverage collective endorsements to improve their campaigns’ perceived credibility.