Extant literature on entrepreneurship highlights the importance of the entrepreneurs' social network in mobilizing resources for their ventures. Over the last few years, entrepreneurial crowdfunding opportunities have become a subject of growing research interest as it acts as a tool to mobilize financial resources. However, many of these studies are limited within the scope of new ventures, creative industries, and commercial entrepreneurship. In this study, we examine crowdfunding within the context of social entrepreneurship in order to gain a deeper understanding of the motivation and the characteristics of the pool of individuals that contribute to social entrepreneurial crowdfunding. Data for this study have been collected from four cases of social entrepreneurial crowdfunding campaigns. The campaigners, who raised the funds in France for social ventures based in India, shared their knowledge of 157 individuals that contributed to their crowdfunding campaign. The findings inform that crowdfunders mainly originate from the crowdfunding campaigner's helper network, such as family, friends, and colleagues. A small percentage were also acquaintances and strangers. This network of individuals was motivated to support the campaigner achieve her/his goal or was attracted to the social cause that triggered them in creating a social impact. Moreover, the crowdfunders were generally open-minded and well-traveled individuals accustomed to participating in social and voluntary activities. Our study reveals that some members of the helper network are likely to disappoint by not supporting the crowdfunding campaign, thus emphasizing a twist to the existing literature on entrepreneurship. This has practical implications that prompt social entrepreneurs to exercise their social capital, networking skills, and communication strategies to attract and expand their community of helpers in order to trigger individuals from both their helper network as well as individuals outside their current network toward crowdfunding.
Mitra, P., Kickul, J.R. and Robb, C. (2021), "Helper Networks and Crowdfunding: Mobilizing Social Entrepreneurship", Wasieleski, D.M. and Weber, J. (Ed.) Social Entrepreneurship (Business and Society 360, Vol. 5), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 233-251. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2514-175920220000005011
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