Crowdfunding has emerged as an additional source for financing research in recent years. The study at hand identifies and tests explanatory factors influencing the success of scientific crowdfunding projects by drawing on news value theory, the “reputation signaling” approach, and economic theories of online payment. A standardized content analysis of 371 projects on English- and German-language platforms reveals that each theory provides factors influencing crowdfunding success. It shows that projects presented on science-only crowdfunding platforms have a higher success rate. At the same time, projects are more likely to be successful if their presentation includes visualizations and humor, the lower their targeted funding is, the less personal data potential donors have to relinquish and the more interaction between researchers and donors is possible. This suggests that after donors decide to visit a scientific crowdfunding platform, factors unrelated to science matter more for subsequent funding decisions, raising questions about the potential and implications of crowdfunding science.