Catching Fire and Spreading It: A Glimpse Into Displayed Entrepreneurial Passion in Crowdfunding Campaigns

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Abstract

Crowdfunding is an emerging phenomenon that enables entrepreneurs to solicit financial contributions for new projects from mass audiences. Drawing on the elaboration likelihood model of persuasion and emotional contagion theory, the authors examined the importance of displayed entrepreneurial passion when seeking resources in a crowdfunding context. They proposed that entrepreneurs’ displayed passion in the introductory video for a crowdfunding project increases viewers’ experienced enthusiasm about the project (i.e., passion contagion), which then prompts them to contribute financially and to share campaign information via social-media channels. Such sharing further facilitates campaign success. In addition, the authors proposed that perceived project innovativeness strengthens the positive effect of displayed passion on social-media exposure and the funding amount a project garners. They first tested their hypotheses in 2 studies using a combination of survey and archival data from the world’s 2 most popular crowdfunding platforms: Indiegogo (Study 1) and Kickstarter (Study 2). They then conducted an experiment (Study 3) to validate the proposed passion contagion process, and the effect of displayed entrepreneurial passion at the individual level. Findings from these 3 studies significantly supported their hypotheses. The authors discuss the theoretical and practical implications of their findings.

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