How can a bucket of ice water help to cure ALS? Through the magic of social media fundraising. The ice bucket challenge is the latest social media powered stunt to bring awareness and contributions to an important and worthy cause.
The premise is simple enough: Participants dump buckets of ice water on their heads, post videos of it to social media, and challenge others to douse themselves within 24 hours, or make a contribution to charity. People like Martha Stewart and Matt Lauer have participated in this fundraising phenomenon, dreamed up by friends and relatives of former Boston College baseball player Pete Frates, and over the course of 10 days, the ALS Association has seen a 1000% spike in donations.
Pete Frates was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, in 2012. Now, at age 29, he is paralyzed, eats through a feeding tube, and cannot speak. His parents are among those who have participated in the ice bucket challenge, and they say that this particular stunt has done more to raise awareness of ALS than anything they’ve done since their son was diagnosed.
That’s the beauty of social media fundraising. The sense of community created through social networking platforms leads to a kind of positive peer pressure that makes it possible for challenges like this one to go viral and reach enough people to raise significant amounts of money, in addition to awareness of various causes. Challenges you may have noticed in recent months include the no-makeup selfies posted to raise money for cancer, and other stunts, like cold water plunges, designed to draw attention to causes worth contribution.
As to the ice bucket challenge, it’s brought a windfall to those working to raise awareness and support research for ALS. According to Barbara Newhouse, the ALS Association’s national president, donations surged during the 10 day period designated for the challenge, reaching about $160,000, compared to the $14,480 raised during the same time period last year. It’s a beautiful thing, to see such a simple, silly stunt do such an enormous amount of good, in such a short period of time.
Yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg was challenged to participate:
What do you think of social media fundraising? Have you participated in any of these types of challenges? Do you think it really works?
top photo: twitter.com/49ers