Yesterday I was nominated to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. As per the rules, I have 24 hours to either dump a bucket of ice water on my head or donate to the ALS charity. Although I believe in recent weeks people have been called out for being slacktivists and not really doing much to help ALS if all they do is dump a bucket of ice water on their heads. Now the new rules are to do the challenge and donate to the charity.
I’m always up for a fun challenge (and making a fool of myself) so I accepted the nomination and completed my challenge today. Good golly miss molly that was COLD! My face is still tingling from the chilled out experience but it was lots of fun and I look forward to seeing the people I nominated also complete the challenge. And yes, I ain’t no slacktivist so I also donated to the ALS Association. You can check out the video below.
I’ll admit, I didn’t know much about ALS before the Ice Bucket Challenge. However, seeing video after video on social media prompted me to look into the association and read up on what ALS actually is. For that part, the viral campaign has been successful. I’m sure I’m not the only one who decided to learn more about the disease and all that increased awareness is definitely a good thing.
Since starting in July, 2014, the campaign has raised over $100 million dollars to date – compared to only raising $2.8 million dollars in the same time period last year. So obviously the campaign is successful in raising a huge amount of funding. Now the question is what will the association do with all that money? Given the huge increase in donations that this Ice Bucket Challenge has brought in (a 3,600% increase), one has to wonder if the association is prepared enough to effectively utilize that much money. One can only hope.
So we know it’s raising awareness and we know it’s raising a lot of money but let’s not bypass the downsides. All this awareness around ALS has also resulted in a decrease in funding for other charities that don’t have a viral campaign to raise their awareness. It has also left those other charities desperate to create a viral campaign of their own which means they are increasing their marketing budgets (and potentially decreasing their research budgets). There’s also the point that Matt Damon recently brought up in his ALS challenge video. He opted to use toilet water to complete his challenge because he couldn’t justify wasting tap water when his own charity is aimed at providing more access to clean drinking water to developing nations around the world. As he mentions in his video, although toilet water might seem disgusting to drop over your own head, the fact is that toilet water in western nations is actually cleaner than the drinking water that is available in many developing nations.
After all is said and done, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has its own pros and cons, just like anything else in the world. It’s up to you to decide whether it’s the way you want to contribute to charity or not. At the very least, I hope you will take the time to learn about the ALS Association, as well as other very deserving charities around the world.