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The Narative Advantage: Why Women Are More Successful than Men at Crowdfunding Because of the Language They Use to Describe Their Projects

9 Feb

A leading crowdfunding research report from Andreea Gorbatai, UC Berkeley, and Laura Nelson, Northwestern University, details why women are better at crowdfunding because of the language they use in their crowdfunding campaigns

By Robert Hoskins

Austin, Texas – According to a new crowdfunding research report, it is not what you say, but the words you use to say it when communicating the features and benefits of a crowdfunding campaign. If you are researching how to launch a successful Kickstarter or Indieogogo crowdfunding campaign, we highly recommend that you read both “The Narrative Advantage: Gender and the Language of Crowdfunding” and “The Language that Gets People to Give for Successful Kickstarter Campaigns.”  These research reports will greatly enhance your ability to use the most effective and persuasive language possible to reach donors and investors and instill a desire to support your crowdfunding campaign.

Here is an introduction to what the crowdfunding research report covers:

“Economic and social arrangements in markets and organizations have been shown to systematically disadvantage women across a wide range of outcomes ranging from hiring, performance evaluations, rewards, and promotion in the labor market to financial support in the capital market. Research has identified several mechanisms through which this inequality is perpetuated, ranging from homophily, tokenism and structural constraints to negative stereotyping and women’s own beliefs about their skill level and worth in the labor market.

The Narrative Advantage Gender and the Language of Crowdfunding

The Narrative Advantage Gender and the Language of Crowdfunding

In particular, research on financing, small business, and entrepreneurship has shown that women are at a marked disadvantage compared against men with similar skill and experience levels. This difference has been largely attributed to choice homophily among predominantly male funders, and to the type of businesses that women start.

In the venture capital industry, male venture capitalists acts as gatekeepers; this results in less funding and mentorship for female entrepreneurs. In other entrepreneurial ventures, women gravitate towards small business ventures where they are often the sole employee instead of choosing scalable business projects.

In all these contexts, the long term outcomes – financing, and the terms of the financing deals – are the results of many difficult to quantify factors resulting from the interaction between the funder and the entrepreneur. It is thus difficult to isolate the effects that non-verbal behavior, paralinguistic cues, contextual factors, and interactions between the entrepreneur and the funder have on the final decision regarding funding. Some of these factors have been studied experimentally in the laboratory (Brownlow and Zebrowitz 1990; Carney, Cuddy and Yap 2010; Kramer 1977).

The majority of these studies rely on evaluating the effect of these factors on the audience, controlling for language content. But the language we use is intimately connected to how we think, and how others evaluate what we are saying. Moreover, language is connected with socio-demographic characteristics of the speaker or writer, such as gender, age or occupation.

In this study we aim to examine the effect of language on the success of crowdfunding campaigns, and the relationship between linguistic content and gender. Online, text-based campaigns are ideal for examining the effect of language content apart from characteristics of the delivery medium, message sender, and audio-visual information because the message is delivered to the potential donors via an information-poor, asynchronous text interface.

In turning our attention to the language used in crowdfunding campaigns, we examine four different dimensions of language content in campaign descriptions: positive (sentiment) language, vividness, inclusive language, and business language. We then suggest that three of these types of linguistic content (positive sentiment, vividness and inclusive language) are both more likely to be rewarded in crowdfunding campaigns, and more likely to be used by women, while the use of language related to money is more likely to be penalized in the crowdfunding context and more likely to be used by men. We then test and confirm our theory that language mediates the relationship between gender and fundraising outcomes using data from the online crowdfunding site Indiegogo.

Our findings indicate that gender-specific language partially mediates the success of women in fundraising money through crowdfunding. This study identifies an economic institution (crowdfunding) where female-specific linguistic patterns are preferred over male- specific patterns, leading to a reversal in gender inequality with respect to funding.

Additionally, this study contributes to economic sociology research on gender by quantifying the impact of linguistic choices on fundraising outcomes. Lastly, this research contributes to research in computational sociology by employing topic models to refine the product classification of crowdfunding campaigns and quantify crowdfunding campaign text along several content dimensions using the Linguistic Inquiry Word Count dictionary (Tausczik and Pennebaker 2010).”

An outline of the report:

Theory and Hypotheses:


Money and Language

1a. Crowdfunding proposal success decreases with the use of money-related language.

1b. Crowdfunding proposal success increase with the use of vivid language.

1c. Crowdfunding proposals success increases with positive emotion.

1d. Crowdfunding proposal success increases with the use of inclusive (relational) language.

Gender and Language

2a. Women use more inclusive language than men do.

2c. Women use more vivid language than men do.

2d. Women use less language related to money than men do.

Language, Gender and Crowdfunding Success

3. Language mediates the relationship between gender and fund-raising success.


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Robert Hoskins, a seasoned Front Page PR veteran provides more than twenty-five years of external communications, media relations, digital social media and SEO skills to Front Page PR’s crowdfunding PR and media relations service portfolio.
(512) 627-6622

Mr. Hoskins is a seasoned marketing veteran with a proven track record of helping entrepreneurs, startups, small businesses as well as Fortune 500 corporations launch successful marketing communications campaigns to gain market traction for a wide variety of products and services.
Hoskins is one of the crowdfunding industry’s foremost crowdfunding advocates and has amassed a huge social media following that is dedicated to supporting donation-, rewards- and equity-based crowdfunding campaigns. Due to the overwhelming demand from the general public for crowdfunding information, he empowers entrepreneurs with some of the internet’s most affordable ($20) online crowdfunding training classes, which provide insight to startups around the world on a 24 x 7 basis.
Hoskins adamantly believes that the crowdfunding industry will empower everyone in the United States to rediscover the possibility of living the American dream with a little hard work, a great business idea and the dedication to researching, planning and launching a well-thought-out crowdfunding campaign. He consults on a regular basis with crowdfunding campaign managers as well as crowdfunding sites, portals and platforms to deliver successful crowdfunding marketing campaigns.

BidOkee Adds Auctions, Draws, Referral Competitions and Traditional Gamification Services for Do It Yourself (DIY) Crowdfunding Campaigns

20 Mar

Elements of points, badges, leaderboards (PBLs)  engages and motivates people to achieve goals and enhances acquisition, retention and monetization of backers

 By Robert Hoskins

Vancouver, B.C. – BidOkee has launched a beta version of what will be a do-it-yourself crowdfunding platform based on a cooperative model the company is calling “Crowdfunding for Crowdfunding.”  With BidOkee customers own their own crowdfunding site and their crowdfunders information from the start, and there isn’t a time limit on crowdfunding campaigns.

BidOkee provides backers with reward points to compete with in auctions and contests. If a crowdfunding campaign manager’s contacts can’t afford to donate, they can still earn loyalty points for referring people, which makes it possible to grow a crowdfunding campaign’s social network. 

BidOkee’s CEO, Eyal Lichtmann, contends that a major problem with crowdfunding is that small campaigns are being pushed aside as big corporations look to dominate the industry.  

Dr. Richard Swart, the director of research on crowdfinance at UC Berkeley, recently said that “that there are 10 to 20 Fortune 100 companies participating in Berkeley’s new Crowdfinance program that are thinking about launching a corporate crowdfunding campaign.”

Bidokee DIY Crowdfunding for Crowdfunding Business Model

BidOkee DIY Crowdfunding for Crowdfunding Business Model

Approximately one million crowdfunding campaigns are launched annually. Over $20 billion in crowdfunding transactions will occur this year – a 100% increase over last year – according to Equitynet. Another research report from the World Bank estimates that, by 2025, this number will spike to $300 billion annually, while others estimate as high as $500 billion that will contribute up to $3.2 trillion in economic development activity.

Entrepreneur.com reports how difficult it is for start-ups to get funding despite the proliferation of crowdfunding worldwide. Currently 90% of the world’s online population has access to crowdfunding and $1,400 is raised in donations every minute. Still, only 3% of all start-up funding comes from crowdfunding.

And E-commerce Times reports that Fortune 500 firms are actively experimenting with crowdfunding as a product launch and testing platform, potentially pushing out the small players. UC Berkeley is actually looking into providing courses for corporate executives wanting to launch crowdfunding campaigns. In addition, many charities, NGOs and scientific and health research projects are also looking to crowdfund their projects.

“As a result, traditional crowdfunding platforms, and the industry as a whole, are becoming very crowded,” Lichtmann says. “With more and more competition, including consultants and corporate campaigns, the bar is getting higher for small businesses. The cost and effort to successfully execute large campaigns is becoming prohibitive for many small firms and entrepreneurs. As crowdfunding platforms get bigger, start-ups are getting pushed out.”

“Breaking through the barriers is an uphill battle,” Lichtmann continues, “especially now, as small start-ups are being eclipsed by hundreds or thousands of campaigns launched by deep-pocketed Fortune 500 companies and established organizations. The biggest advertising and marketing firms, scientists and crowdfunding consultants are taking over. The bigger the crowdfunding site, the less a small start-up can compete.”

Dr. Richard Swart, the director of research on crowdfinance at UC Berkeley, indicated there are Fortune 100 companies that are thinking about launching a crowdfunding campaign.

Corporations have enormous resources to launch and build support for their crowdfunding campaigns and that is driving the cost of crowdfunding services higher for the little guy. Companies such as Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Dodge and DC Comics are using crowdfunding for marketing purposes, with the deleterious effect of marginalizing smaller players seeking to raise funds on the same platforms while at the same time driving up marketing, PR, consultancy and production costs within the industry.

“Crowdfunding was intended to enhance the start-up experience and bypass the onerous process of finding traditional investors to launch an idea or product,” says Lichtmann. “It was not intended as a marketing platform for established or already successful companies.”

An example, he says, is the Pebble watch, which already had sufficient cash on hand for their project but wanted the additional exposure Kickstarter offered.

“And now the biggest consumer companies in the world are moving into crowdfunding as a platform to market-test and pay for their product launches,” says Lichtmann. “This is counter to the whole notion of crowdfunding, which was supposed to assist start-ups penetrating the vast expanse of the marketplace.”

Some activist-commentators are calling out the commandeering of crowdfunding by multinational behemoths, though not everyone agrees, and a healthy debate is beginning.

“The survival of crowdfunding requires a true cooperative model that has the best interest of the small player in mind,” he says.

Lichtmann’s company, BidOkee, has launched a beta version of what will be a do-it-yourself crowdfunding platform based on a cooperative model.

“The DIY model we are building allows people the freedom to share, cooperate, assist, collaborate and utilize more human resources through cross-pollination of projects and ideas to yield infinitely more unique possibilities,” he says.

Scott Steinberg, author of The Crowdfunding Bible, featured BidOkee on NewsWatch TV. He declared: “This could change crowdfunding as we know it.”

Combining DIY with a cooperative model may sound contradictory, Lichtmann acknowledges.

“But a do-it-yourself model is about being wholly independent,” he says. “And the cooperative model is about relying on the goodwill and assistance of others. And that is the exact formula BidOkee is looking to propagate.”

BidOkee is establishing a cooperative model through which networks, resources, wisdom, advice, connections and best practices are shared between campaigns.

“If we reach our goals, we hope to share over $100 million annually back with campaigns,” he says. “But that number can grow higher. In addition, we are looking at cross-pollination opportunities that allow one successful start-up crowdfunding campaign to assist another start-up campaign with backers, users and other resources. Also, with the integration of loyalty rewards through a gamified system, campaigns can have access to tens of thousands of additional leads for their campaigns. We want to change 60% failure rates to 80% success rates. That is what we are striving for.”

As Darryl Burma, CEO of Crowdmapped.com says, “BidOkee will definitely disrupt the industry. It is doing something we have not seen before and is a game-changer.”

BidOkee is currently developing the beta platform into a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, which will give anyone the opportunity to launch their own independent, self-directed crowdfunding campaign with tools and features no other platform offers.

“We are now crowdfunding for crowdfunding and hope people will support our campaign to get this model to market” says Lichtmann. “We think this is the future – a future that realizes crowdfunding’s original potential.”

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