This study used augmented reality (AR) to test the effects of perceived social presence, perceived media richness, media empathy and social capital on intentions to participate in prosocial, community-oriented behaviors in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which appeared to be rife with fear. Specifically, a structural model was employed to assess the hypothesized relationships based on questionnaire data from 476 respondents, who were divided into high and low fear groups. The findings revealed that perceived media richness and social presence both had a significant influence on media empathy, which in turn affected users’ perceptions of social capital. Social capital predicted users’ community participation intentions, which included intentions to donate. The paths from perceived social presence and perceived media richness to social capital were not significant, and media empathy did not directly influence prosocial, community participation intentions. There were no significant differences between the high and low COVID-19 fear groups. Overall, this study confirmed the importance of leveraging media richness and social presence to create media content designed to prompt users to identify with those who are negatively affected by the cause, so that media empathy will be boosted. Media empathy should be increased in a manner that leads users to feel connected to a larger community, so that perceptions of social capital will be boosted and will lead to prosocial, community participation activities and donations to the cause.