Social media is breaking the ice between the public and non-profit organizations. And it is about time!
For some reason, non-profits had a hard time finding the magic formula for a successful campaign using social media. Non-profit organizations use their additional revenue toward a cause, disease, etc. instead of using that money has profit. They try to make a lot of money using a little money. It seems like a no brainer— social media is a cheap, wide-reaching resource. Yet, for some reason the formula was just out of reach — that was, until the ALS Association, a national non-profit, figured it out.
For those who didn’t do your research (shame on you), ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) or Lou Gehrig’s Disease affects nerve cells in the brain and in the spinal cord. As it progresses, sufferers lose the ability to control muscle movement. Complete paralysis often follows. The degeneration of motor neurons eventually leads to death. With one well-known exception, Mr. Stephen Hawking, who has beaten the odds and lived well beyond expectation. But, most do not. See ALSA.org.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge campaign was designed to raise awareness and donations for this deadly disease using social media. Organizers launched the challenge via social media, and then let it do all the work. The challenge: video yourself dumping ice water over your head and post it to social media or donate $100 to the cause. Then, share it will 3 people. Thus, beginning the chain effect (kind of like chain mail, except better).
The creator of this campaign is a complete genius! Social media, both cheap and able to reach a large audience, is the perfect resource for this kind of campaign. And yes, critics, I realize that pouring icy water over your head doesn’t, in itself, raise money. But, the shared challenge works to raise awareness to a wide range of people. If you challenge 3 people, then they challenge 3 people, and so on…it adds up quickly. Some will donate, and some won’t. Some will learn about ALS, and some won’t. Either way, they are aware of ALS, if by name only.
And yes, the longer the challenge continues the more watered down (pun intended) it becomes. Now, people are just posting “ice bucket challenge” leaving out “ALS,” and thus losing the essence of the campaign. However, the initial kickoff was stellar — and, that’s what matters.
I also agree with “critics” that the actual challenge brings focus to the individual but that was kind of the point (and genius). What better why to get someone involved than to put them in the spotlight? Because let’s be honest, most people just want the attention!
I have no interest or intention of pouring a bucket of ice water over my head, because I don’t want to be in the spotlight. But, I do plan to donate to my company’s annual ALS fund raiser, walk in the Nashville Defeat ALS walk, and spread awareness, like I have done for the last 3 years!
The ALS Association is certainty not the only organization trying to make a difference and in need of donations. Though, I hope other non-profits follow their lead — so campaigns for other important causes are just as successful in the future. The world is a better place when we all work together toward a common goal!
In August 2014, we were united by an ice bucket and a cause. Who would have thought?