Too many Facebook friends? Raising money will be a problem

People with fewer friends on Facebook raise more money for charity than those with lots of connections on the social networking site, a new study has found.

Professor Kimberley Scharf at the University of Warwick found a negative correlation between the size of a group and the amount of money given by each donor — with the average contribution by each person dropping by two pence for every extra connection someone had on Facebook.

The research, which analysed data from, builds on and supports earlier findings, published in the International Economic Review by Scharf, that said large social groups are less likely to share information about charitable causes when compared to those who are part of smaller circles — and that this results in less fundraising success.

Scharf also discovered that the amount a person can raise doesn't only depend on the number of friends they have online — those who complete tougher fundraising activities generate more cash.

The research supports the idea that motives for giving in online platforms, such as, could be driven by "relational warm-glow," that is, people are motivated by the idea of helping their friends achieve their fundraising goals — it makes the fundraiser feel good and this in turn impacts on the people who've made the donations.

It is possible that donors have a more intense warm glow experience when the fundraiser exerts more effort, such as could happen when he or she fundraises by taking part in a triathlon instead of by taking a leisurely stroll, and this could then transpire into larger donations.