Our goal is to understand the impact of crowdfunding communities from various socio-economic perspective. We can find crowdfunding campaigns in many forms, such as enterprise crowdfunding, scientific crowdfunding, donation-based crowdfunding and so on. In our group, we explore various forms of crowdfunding campaigns not only to understand their dynamic behaviors but also to explore their impact on our society. We have built interactive systems for enterprise crowdfunding campaign creators by leveraging persuasive factors from advertising theories’ that can motivate backers to donate. We also identified the persuasive effects of endorsements which are essential to building trust of the potential donors of scientific crowdfunding campaigns. We analyzed the impact of stigmatized crowdfunding campaigns hosted in donation-based crowdfunding platforms in shaping our opinion on socially stigmatized issues.

IUI 2018

Visible Hearts, Visible Hands: A Smart Crowd Donation Platform

Chi-Hsien Yen, Yi-Chieh Lee, Wai-Tat Fu

On existing crowdfunding platforms, the allocation of money is often not regulated, which leads to less-than-ideal distribution of resources. For example, recent donations to hurricane victims through their crowdfunding campaigns often lead to overfunding of certain victims while underfunding others. Inspired by algorithms from economic theories, our proposed Smart Crowd Donate system encourages donors to express preferences to multiple projects and reallocates funds dynamically across these preferences over time. We conducted a user study in which recruited 452 participants to simulate a small scale of crowdfunding. The findings of our user study supported the idea that the Smart Crowd Donate system has potential to efficiently distribute funds to projects and allows more projects to receive the amount of money they need.


CHI 2018

Effects of Socially Stigmatized Crowdfunding Campaigns in Shaping Opinions

Sanorita Dey, Karrie Karahalios, Wai-Tat Fu
Honorable Mention Award

Donation-based crowdfunding platforms have an increasing number of campaigns on socially stigmatized topics. These platforms’ widespread online reachability and the large flow of monetary donations have the potential to shape individuals’ opinions by influencing their perceptions. However, little research has been done to investigate whether these campaigns impact individuals’ opinions and how. We conducted an experiment to explore how an attitude-inconsistent campaign on fairness and equality for LGBTIQ people influenced participants’ opinion on this topic. Although all the participants changed their perceived opinions after reading the support for the campaigns, participants opposing equality were less inclined to change their attitude than participants supporting equality. To examine this difference further, we conducted another experiment where participants were exposed to both attitude-consistent and attitude-inconsistent campaigns with varying levels of social support. Participants opposing equality showed less sensitivity to the level of social support, and wanted to donate significantly more money to anti-equality campaigns compared to those who supported equality. Results demonstrate the complex role of crowdfunding campaigns in shaping individuals’ opinions on stigmatized topics.


CHI 2017

Understanding the Effects of Endorsements for Scientific Crowdfunding

Sanorita Dey, Karrie Karahalios, Wai-Tat Fu

Understanding the factors that persuade backers to donateto research projects has become increasingly important with the rising popularity of scientific crowdfunding. Although there are many similarities between enterprise and scientific crowdfunding, some factors differentiate these two forms of crowdfunding. One such factor is the use of endorsements. The endorsement helps backers gain trust based on expert opinions about the competency of the researchers and the usefulness of the projects. We analyzed 810 endorsements from scientific campaigns posted on and derived a taxonomy of topics discussed in the endorsements. A regression analysis revealed that when endorsers explained the skills of the campaign owners, the probability of success of the campaign improved; on the contrary, when endorsers reiterated the goal of the project, the campaign was less likely to succeed. We conclude with design implications formulated from ourfindings to better support scientific crowdfunding.


CSCW 2017

The Art and Science of Persuasion: Not All Crowdfunding Campaign Videos Are The Same

Sanorita Dey, Brittany Duff, Karrie Karahalios, Wai-Tat Fu
The Art and Science of Persuasion

To successfully raise money using crowdfunding, it is important for a campaign to communicate ideas or products effectively to the potential backers. One of the lesser explored but powerful components of a crowdfunding campaign is the campaign video. To better understand how videos affect campaign outcomes, we analyzed videos from 210 Kickstarter campaigns across three different project categories. In a mixed-methods study, we asked 3150 Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) workers to evaluate the campaign videos. We found six recurrent factors from a qualitative analysis as well as quantitative analysis. Analysis revealed product related and video related factors that were predictive of the final outcome of campaigns over and above the static project representation features identified in previous studies. Both the qualitative and quantitative analysis showed that videos influenced perception differently for projects in different categories, and the differential perception was important for predicting successes of the projects. For example, in technology campaigns, projects perceived to have a lower level of complexity were more likely to be successful; but in design andfashion campaigns, projects perceived to have a higher levelof complexity – which perhaps reflected craftsmanship – were more likely to be successful. We conclude with design implications to better support the video making process.


SBP 2017

Improving the Efficiency of Allocating Crowd Donations with Agent-Based Simulation Model

Chi-Hsien Yen, Yi-Chieh Lee, Wai-Tat Fu
simulation model

Crowdfunding platforms are emerging as an important online social platform to raise capital and awareness for innovative projects. When considered as a general online social system, the goal of a crowdfunding platform is to efficiently allocate a large number of small funds to promising new projects. However, the efficiency of donation allocation and the success rate of projects can be influenced by the behavior of donors, such as how they evaluate each project and choose the projects to donate. To understand how such behavior could impact crowdfunding market, we developed an agent-based model of crowdfunding to investigate three factors, i.e., project visibility, noise of perceived project quality, and donor strategies. These factors may impact the efficiency of a crowdfunding platform.


SBP 2016

Improving Donation Distribution for Crowdfunding: An Agent-Based Model

Yi-Chieh Lee, Chi-Hsien Yen, Wai-Tat Fu

Donation-based crowdfunding has the potential to democratize capital raising by soliciting donations directly from the public through the Web and social media. These crowdfunding platforms, however, often function as unregulated open markets, in which there is minimal intervention to influence donation distribution across projects. In fact, research on crowdfunding hints that donation distribution in most crowdfunding platforms are suboptimal: while the overall success rates of crowdfunding projects are often low, a significant proportion of projects receive donations way over their targets. In this paper, we propose a new donation distributing system that aim to (a) distribute donations more effectively among the projects, and (b) align the allocation of donations with the preferences of donors. An agent-based model was developed to test the proposed system. Results showed that the proposed system not only increased the overall success rates of projects, but also led to more successes for projects preferred by donors. Implications to future crowdfunding platforms are discussed.