The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge! It’s the hottest topic in the media these days and the best fundraising sensation since Terry Fox run across Canada to raise funds for cancer (now at $650M).
I watch with amazement as people from all walks of life engage with this campaign – either by taking the challenge, donating, or both. All are good in my books. Attention is being raised, people are taking action and folks are talking about a lesser known, serious issue in our world.
Yet there are the cynics out there. Yesterday, Shirley Steinberg, a youth studies professor at the U of C says the challenge is primarily about self-indulgence and narcissism.” Prove it I say. Opinions without substantiation are just that, opinions. Adding negativity to this story achieves what? And coming from a professor, whose career should be grounded in solid facts and constructs, it is disappointing to say the least.
In a world where death, dying, terrorism, rape, forest fires and a dearth of negative things prevail our media headlines, I for one am refreshed to see a good news story lead the conversation for a change. In assessing this fund-raising phenomena lets look at what is KNOWN.
According to Wickipedia, as of today, the campaign:
* The New York Times people shared more than 1.2 million videos on Facebook between June 1 and August 13 and mentioned the phenomenon more than 2.2 million times on Twitter since July 29. Mashable called the phenomenon “the Harlem Shake of the summer”.
* ALS Association had received $41.8 million in donations from July 29 until August 21. More than 739,000 new donors have given money to the association, which is more than double the $19.4 million in total contributions the association received during the year that ended January 31, 2013. Similarly, the ALS Therapy Development Institute reported a ten-fold increase in donations relative to the same period in 2014, with over 2,000 donations made in a single day on August 20th, 2014, while Project ALS reported a 50-fold increase.
To the cynics out there I suggest you think about this.
1. Their goal was to raise money – DONE in spades.
2. Their goal is to raise awareness – everyone is talking about it around the world, albeit more education is ALWAYS needed. Just the Edmonton poll alone of a mere 1000 people reported 350 people have learned alot. I’d love it there’d of been benchmark data, I’m hypothesizing this would be an increase. I wonder what a larger poll would reveal.
A mini poll that
Read more: http://edmonton.ctvnews.ca/is-the-ice-bucket-challenge-really-raising-awareness-for-als-1.1970588#ixzz3B8B9WyWy
* If the challenge has overshadowed the cause does it matter? They still raised $41 M and that will do amazing good, and the popularity annually will have a lifecycle that is destined to bring in more and more funds – as the Terry Fox Run does, even after his unfortunate death.
* A social media phenomena is supporting a lesser known charity by getting the news out in ways that are fun, engaging and entertaining! Can’t see a problem there either! So what if people are showcasing a bit. Would the cynics prefer they didn’t launch the campaign? That the this drive to raise awareness and money hadn’t occured? Celebrities are doing dumb things all the time and getting attention for themselves. Now they are using their status to challenge colleagues – who have tonnes of money to donate – to do so, If they get a little PR out of it, I’d rather see Bill Gates creatively toss ice on his head, than Justin Beiber’s next drug bust.
*The simplicity of the challenge is brilliant, easy, not-expensive, and virtually everyone can engage in some form – take the challenge, join the momentum and donate, learn about ALS.
Innovative ideas that reap this type of instant results that are a benefit to society are rare. Rather than criticise, why not celebrate. There is enough negative in this world and on the news everyday. If you could do this to your stock portfolio – you’d jump at it.