What we can learn from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

What we can learn from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

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Yet another ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Love it or hate on it, there are lessons to be learned from the viral success of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

Like most of you, I’ve seen the ice bucket videos by celebrities, athletes and business moguls throughout the summer of 2014.

I was a bit surprised the first time I saw a friend post their video on Facebook.

I’m not sure why, but up to that point I thought it was only for famous people. Boy was I wrong.

So it struck me just how brilliant this fundraising campaign is, and what we can all learn from it.

It might be best to start with the haters first.

Why some people hate the Ice Bucket Challenge

I’m not sure I could adequately list all of the reasons people dislike this, but here are a few.

  1. Anti-Slacktivism – there’s a mentality that if people just share/like/retweet for a cause, they’re participating in a cause and don’t have to do anything further, like donate.
  2. Donations are better – a lot of people think that if you do the ice bucket, you did not donate. Some people do both.
  3. Competitive causes – there are a ton of great causes in the world. Some people are wondering why ALS and not something like leukemia.
  4. Trolls and haters – Ah, what would the internet be without trolls?
  5. Same reason it works. Narcissism! – this campaign would be nothing without social media, and social media would be nothing without narcissism. It works, and it is not always a bad thing. On Facebook, everyone gets to be a mini-celebrity to their “friends” and family members.

Why it doesn’t matter what the haters think

It’s successful. Wildly successful.

According to an article in Forbes:

“The ALS Association has since said that it has raised $15.6 million as a result of the challenge, nine times what it normally raises in the same time frame.”

Even if you were to argue that the bulk of people making ice bucket videos are not doing it for the benefit of ALS, you’d still be wrong to think this was a bad thing. While I do wish people would donate and remind others to donate, the Ice Bucket Challenge itself still generates buzz, gets people talking, and ultimately raises awareness of this godawful disease.

So never mind the haters. Keep dumping ice on your heads.

However, it’d be great if you could keep something in mind when you do.

The thing that sadly gets overlooked sometimes

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – aka ALS – aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease. You may also know it as the condition that Stephen Hawking has, and one I wouldn’t wish on anyone I’ve ever known.

A lot of people do take on this challenge from their friends and forget to remind others to donate. Hell, some of them might not even know why they’re doing it at all – except that their friends did it and then tagged them in their videos.

And while that is still beneficial to the cause, please try to remind others to either read up on this terrible condition or go to ALSA.org to donate. Or do both. Even if you dump ice on your head and post the video!

I got challenged, how about you?

Here’s my video. Please go donate if you haven’t already. I opted to donate and dump the bucket of ice on my head.

Leave a comment below to let us know about your experience with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

Have you been challenged? Did you donate, do the bucket, or both?


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