Keeping Kids Learning: Online Crowdfunding Communities Respond to the COVID­-19 Pandemic

Research output: Working paper

Abstract

We study how digital crowdfunding platforms can help replenish the sudden economic deficiencies that accompany a global crisis. Specifically, we examine whether public schools, which suffered severe setbacks during the COVID-19 crisis, were able to generate support from online fundraising communities. We study how the shutdown of schools and the shift to online learning in the United States affected private fundraising on the DonorsChoose.org platform. We find evidence that, after the exogenous shock caused by the pandemic (and resulting stay-at-home orders), donations to schools increased, implying both demand-side and supply-side effects. We observe an increased level of concern from existing platform contributors through increased per-donor contributions, especially toward high-need schools. Moreover, we found a shift in donation patterns, wherein donors swiftly adapted to renewed priorities and redistributed their resources to immediate needs around digital learning infrastructure. Our findings reveal the pivotal role digital platforms can play in facilitating community resilience during times of crisis.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages34
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 5 2021

Keywords

  • Digital Resilience
  • Crowdfunding
  • Online Platforms
  • COVID-19

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