The ALS Association is currently receiving the largest donations in its 30-year history thanks to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. While the challenge has received significant criticism for wasteful water-use (especially from all those celebrities in drought-ridden California), and a lack of connection between icewater and ALS, perhaps instead we can establish some key take-aways that have helped propel its popularity:
Being challenged in the public domain really puts on the peer pressure. It’s the oldest trick in the book; want someone to do something they would never normally do? Dare them in front of their friends! The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is basically that ridiculous drinking nomination (Neknominate) from earlier in the year put to better use.
Ever received a chain e-mail from your mum? Those things were only cool for 5 minutes in 1998, but thanks to your (older) relatives, they’re still alive. The social sharing component of passing the e-mail on to a smattering of friends keeps them going to this day (unfortunately). And, that’s another element that makes the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge work – social sharing. The ability to nominate three people after completing the challenge ensures that it extends exponentially into other’s social networks. Plus, the 24-hour time limit to complete the challenge ensures that this process moves quickly.
Awareness for a worthy cause:
This initiative has brought awareness to a disease that affects relatively few people around the world when compared to major diseases (approximately 30,000 in the US). Ultimately, I believe that the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is getting such a high participation rate, because seeking to cure ALS is a worthy cause. While the Ice Bucket Challenge will undoubtedly go the way of the Harlem Shake (remember that, Summer 2012?), the initiative has brought the disease to the forefront, and into the minds of researchers, innovators, and fundraisers. A terrible disease characterized by silence and immobility has finally found a voice.
Ice-water doesn’t exactly make me think “ALS”, but there’s also nothing like hearing a grown man shriek as water is poured over his head. NOTHING. The main component of success is that it’s FUN. If you’ve ever watched the end of the Superbowl just to see the coach get Gatorade poured over his head then you know what I mean!
Enjoy some of the Best ALS Ice Bucket Challenges, to date: