This study demonstrates that Facebook likes affect willingness to contribute in charity settings. Specifically, Facebook likes influence charitable motives such as affinity, which in turn affect fundraising outcomes.
The authors report three studies that establish that relationship. To isolate signaling, Study 1 manipulates the number of total Facebook likes on a page. To isolate commitment escalation, Study 2 manipulates whether a visitor clicks a Facebook like. To examine social contagion, Study 3—an auction field study—relies on selling artwork created by underprivileged youth. Results show that Facebook likes increase willingness to contribute in charity settings and that the process goes through affinity, as well as through Facebook impressions and bidding intensity. The total number of Facebook likes has a direct signaling effect and an indirect social contagion effect.