Social media in China has not only become a popular means of communication, but also expanded the interaction between the government and online citizens. Why have some charitable crowdfunding campaigns had agenda-setting influence on public policy, while others have had limited or no impact? Based on an original database of 188 charitable crowdfunding projects currently active on Sina Weibo, we observe that over 80 per cent of long-term campaigns do not have explicit policy aspirations. Among those pursuing policy objectives, however, nearly two-thirds have had either agenda-setting influence or contributed to policy change. Such campaigns complement, rather than challenge existing government priorities. Based on field interviews (listed in Appendix A), case studies of four micro-charities – Free Lunch for Children, Love Save Pneumoconiosis, Support Relief of Rare Diseases, and Water Safety Program of China – are presented to highlight factors that contributed to their variation in public outcomes at the national level. The study suggests that charitable crowdfunding may be viewed as an “input institution” in the context of responsive authoritarianism in China, albeit within closely monitored parameters.