Using third-person language makes crowdfunding campaigns more successful, reveals new research from ESSEC Business School and Ivey Business School.
According to a new study conducted by Dr. Amir Sepehri, a consumer psychologist at ESSEC Business School, Rod Duclos, Kirk Kristofferson, Poormina Vinoo and Hamid Elahi(all of Ivey Business School), indirect appeals – using third-person language – are more effective than first-person wording in crowdfunding campaigns, as the audience tends to perceive indirect appeals as more credible.
Additionally, Dr. Sepehri also identified social proof as another factor making third-person language more effective when crowdfunding:
“When we are uncertain of what to do, we tend to look to others for cues, thinking they are likely to have more knowledge than we do,” Dr. Sepehri explains. “This social influence lends credibility to a campaign, making people more likely to reach into their pockets,” he adds.
The researchers studied the role of language in a series of studies.
They looked at real-world campaigns on GoFundMe, examining the wording used in over 9000 campaigns, finding that the use of third-person pronouns (he/she/his/her) led to more donations: $620 more per campaign on average.
Meanwhile, first-person pronouns had the opposite effect, reducing donations by an average of $682 per campaign.
This suggests that would-be fundraisers should pay attention to how they word their campaigns, and consider using third-person pronouns to convince their audience of their authenticity.