’Where Does my Money Go?’: How Online Comments on a Donation Campaign Influence the Perceived Trustworthiness of a Nonprofit Organization.

Wiencierz, Christian; Pöppel, Katharina G.; Röttger, Ulrike

Research article (journal)


Nonprofit organizations (NPOs) are increasingly using social media to spread campaigns. Little research has focused on the influence of user comments on trust in NPOs regarding campaigns in social media. Stakeholders' trust is seen as important for NPOs. Two experimental studies examine the influence of user comments with different connotations concerning campaigns that were published on the social networking site Facebook. The first experiment focused on the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The second experiment applied to a fictitious NPO, to avoid reputational influence. Irrespective of the NPO's reputation, the results show that user comments in social media influence the perceived trustworthiness of NPOs. Negative comments resulted in a lower level of perceived trustworthiness. Positive comments, a balanced mixture of positive and negative comments, and the absence of any comments at all resulted in a higher level of perceived trustworthiness. In addition, the likelihood of an act of trust in the form of a donation or a recommendation of the campaign to others increased if the NPO was perceived as trustworthy. Finally, we were able to demonstrate the link between reputation and trustworthiness as two distinct constructs. Implications for the management of campaigns via social media are derived.

Details zur Publikation

Release year: 2015
Language in which the publication is writtenEnglish