Calls for papers


International Journal of Web Based Communities
International Journal of Web Based Communities


Special Issue on: "Organisational and Community Aspects of Crowdfunding"

Guest Editor:
Dr. Irma Borst, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands

As the economic crisis continues, an urgent need for alternative financing forms arises. Many nonprofit organisations are facing reductions of government grants and start-up companies are having difficulties getting funding from banks or other investors. Crowdfunding is a new way of funding that facilitates financing from a large number of – often distant - strangers and thus may reduce important market failures in the provision of public and market goods (Agrawal et al 2011).

Crowdfunding is the raising of funding from large audiences approached via social networks or social media. Usually, each individual funder provides a small amount. Lambert and Schwienbacher (2010) defined crowdfunding as “an open call, essentially through the internet, for the provision of financial resources either in the form of donation or in exchange for some form of reward and/or voting rights in order to support initiatives for specific purposes”. Crowdfunding has been in existence since 2006 when SellABand started their first crowdfunding platform for musicians. Nowadays crowdfunding is applied for a variety of purposes: financing start-up companies, nonprofit organisations, scientific research, political campaigns and individual financial needs. Target amounts vary from a few hundred to several million dollars. Crowdfunding campaigns can be targeted on existing communities – benefiting from social networking patterns of existing community members – or give rise to the creation of a new community.

Four different crowdfunding types can be distinguished based on the reward that a funder gets in return for his/her financial contribution ( 2012; Griffin 2012). In the case of donation-based crowdfunding, funders donate to causes that they want to support, with no expected compensation (i.e. philanthropic- or sponsorship-based incentive). In reward-based crowdfunding, funders’ primary objective for funding is to gain nonfinancial reward, such as a token or a first-edition release. In lending-based crowdfunding initiatives, funders receive a fixed periodic income and expect repayment of the original principal investment. Finally, equity-based crowdfunding refers to cases in which funders receive compensation in the form of fundraiser’s revenue or profit-share. Donation- and reward-based crowdfunding are typically used by cultural heritage and charity organisations since no repayment of the funding is required and are therefore identical to subsidies. Equity- and lending-based crowdfunding can be considered as substitutes for financing by banks, venture capitalists or business angels.

We are seeking original manuscripts on conceptual and methodological issues related to research on organisational aspects of crowdfunding as well as papers which report on the results of empirical research in the field. Papers can focus on particular crowdfunding initiatives or a particular type or category of crowdfunding and also more general outcomes. We particularly welcome papers that translate findings into theorising of crowdfunders, crowdfunding community behavior, and governance. Since crowdfunding is a relative new phenomenon, we would like to stimulate explorative qualitative research – eventually in combination with the mining of crowdfunding platform system data – to uncover unknown patterns in crowd or community behavior and governance.

Subject Coverage
We specifically encourage submission of papers related to organisational and community aspects of crowdfunding: what are relevant research results that contribute to the understanding of individual crowdfunders and the role of the community, the implications for managing crowdfunding campaigns successfully, and the provision of (new) guidelines for governance of communities of crowdfunders?
Suitable topics may include, but are not limited, to the following:

1. Characteristics of crowdfunders
  • Motivations for making a positive decision-to-donate or decision–to-finance
  • Typology of crowdfunders in terms of amounts donated or invested
  • Influence of crowdfunding community resulting in a sense of belonging
  • Social distance to crowdfunding creator
  • Geographic dispersion (local versus distant funders)
  • Return expectations (financial return on investment, social return on investment, other)
We would like to emphasise that crowdfunders characteristics may vary for donation- , reward- , equity- or lending-based crowdfunding.

2. Patterns in crowdfunding campaigns
  • Relation between target amounts, number of crowdfunders, duration of crowdfunding campaign
  • Conditions influencing success rate (e.g. campaigns yielding 100% or more of target amount)
  • Overrun on target amount (not applicable for equity-based crowdfunding)
  • Influence of [social] networking factors when a crowdfunding campaign is targeted at existing communities
  • Influence of accumulated capital and herding, role of early stage investors
  • Bystander and free-rider effects - a reduction in the propensity to fund by new individuals because of the perception that the target will be reached anyway
  • Overcoming the slowdown in the middle of crowdfunding campaign
  • Effects of incentives and disincentives
  • Role of nonfinancial contributions of crowdfunders (participation in organisational activities, promotion in person’s own network, ideation)

3. Position of crowdfunding platforms in crowdfunding community
  • Marketplace, broker, trustee (e.g. reducing the risks of crowdfunders through preselection, due diligence, or reducing information asymmetry in underlying investment, ensuring that creators meet their obligations such as repayment of lending-based crowdfunding or adequate spending of donations to charity organisation)
  • Enhancing network effects to crowdfunding creators and crowdfunders

4. Impact on crowdfunding creator
  • Creation and maintenance of online community of crowdfunders
  • Transparency on organisation’s information including financial information
  • Progress reporting, continuance social media campaigns
  • Formal and informal obligations (voting rights, feedback possibilities)
  • Governance of crowdfunders
  • Democratisation of crowdfunded organisations

5. Sector-specific requirements
  • Start-up companies, social ventures
  • Charity organisations
  • Involvement public or governmental organisations
  • Arts and culture
  • Scientific research

Notes for Prospective Authors

Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. (N.B. Conference papers may only be submitted if the paper has been completely re-written and if appropriate written permissions have been obtained from any copyright holders of the original paper).

All papers are refereed through a peer review process. Have a look at our Author guidelines and read our detailed information on Preparing articles.

You may send one copy in the form of an MS Word file attached to an email to the following:

Dr. Irma Borst
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Faculty of Social Sciences
Department of Organization Sciences
De Boelelaan 1081
1081 HV Amsterdam
The Netherlands

Important Dates

Abstract submission: 1 September 2013
(Abstracts should have a length of maximum 1500 words, excluding references)

Notification of acceptance: 15 September 2013

Full paper submission: 1 November 2013

Report reviewers: 1 January 2013

Revised submission: 1 February 2014

Final acceptance notification: 15 January 2014

Agrawal, A., Catalini, C., Goldfarb, A. 2011. The geography of crowdfunding. NBER Working Paper, No. 16820. 2012. Industry report crowdfunding; market trends, composition and crowdfunding platforms.

Griffin, Z. 2012. Crowdfunding: fleecing the American masses. Journal of Law, Technology & the Internet. Forthcoming.

Lambert, T., Schwienbacher, A. 2010. An empirical analysis of crowdfunding. Working paper Louvain School of Management, Louvain-de-Neuve.