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Appealing to the crowd: ethical justifications in Canadian medical crowdfunding campaigns
  1. Jeremy Snyder1,
  2. Valorie A Crooks2,
  3. Annalise Mathers1,
  4. Peter Chow-White3
  1. 1 Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
  2. 2 Department of Geography, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
  3. 3 School of Communication, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jeremy Snyder, Simon Fraser University, Blusson Hall 10516, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada V5A 1S6; Jcs12{at}


Medical crowdfunding is growing in terms of the number of active campaigns, amount of funding raised and public visibility. Little is known about how campaigners appeal to potential donors outside of anecdotal evidence collected in news reports on specific medical crowdfunding campaigns. This paper offers a first step towards addressing this knowledge gap by examining medical crowdfunding campaigns for Canadian recipients. Using 80 medical crowdfunding campaigns for Canadian recipients, we analyse how Canadians justify to others that they ought to contribute to funding their health needs. We find the justifications campaigners tend to fall into three themes: personal connections, depth of need and giving back. We further discuss how these appeals can understood in terms of ethical justifications for giving and how these justifications should be assessed in light of the academic literature on ethical concerns raised by medical crowdfunding.

  • Allocation of Health Care Resources
  • Decision-making
  • Resource Allocation
  • Social Aspects

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  • Contributors All authors made substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work and analysis of data for the work. All authors contributed to drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content, gave final approval of the version to be published and agreed to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

  • Funding Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.