Around the webs, there seems to be a growing sense of negativity surrounding the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, where people dump buckets of ice water over their head and/or donate to research to fight what’s popularly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. [Disclosure: The ALS Association is a former client of mine from a previous agency.]
The challenge has been accepted by all sorts of people – from Bill Gates to your neighbor’s aunt, with an over $10 million increase in donations this summer. And while we are a few weeks into one of the most successful awareness programs in non-profit history, it’s been partnered with a (un)healthy dose of criticism:
“Waste of water”
“Other causes need it more”
At the base level, is it a form of jealousy? Do people wish their favorite causes generated this much publicity? Do they look at the money raised as just part of a gimmick?
I think, the answer is yes to all of these questions, which is the root of the issue.
One particular organization came up with something that “tipped” and became a worldwide sensation, generating tons of money. What non-profit organization WOULDN’T want that awareness or cash influx?
Last year, I was at the ALS Association annual conference and saw a room full of brave patients, families, and caregivers that all fight this frightening disease. Their bodies were failing them faster than medicines could become available. Think about that: treatments are coming soon, but a few months away may be too late.
The challenge has pointed a spotlight on this cause and has given it two things: money and hope. It needed both.
We talk about organizations using the power of the internet and social media to spread awareness and spur action. Without a doubt, this is a home-run campaign. My guess is that it started as a silly idea that nobody thought would actually go anywhere — but it did. And in a major way.
Here’s my response to the #IceBucketChallenge detractors: You don’t have to do it. Don’t dump water on your head. Don’t donate to this cause. It’s OK. Your favorite cause is ALSO likely worthwhile and deserves attention and donations.
But, please, leave the hate and jealousy on ice.