Have donations to your nonprofit been staggering as of late? Would you want a 100% increase of donations in a span of three weeks? How about a 3,500% increase and donations totaling way above $100 million? Well, the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association did that and more with a viral Internet challenge.
The "ALS Ice Bucket Challenge" is an Internet sensation that has helped raise over $100 million dollars for the ALS Association. The campaign required a people to either donate money to the ALS Association within 24 hours of being nominated or dump a bucket of ice-cold water on themselves. Deviations of the original challenge show participants both donating to the cause and dumping ice water on themselves. Videos from all over the world, including Iran, were posted on Facebook and YouTube. Scores of celebrities and politicians, including former President George W. Bush, have participated in the challenge. Facebook reported that videos generated from the challenge were viewed over 10 billion times and that the campaign reached 440 million people, which is roughly 6% of the world's population!
Due to its viral success, many spin-off challenges were created. Many Gazans adopted the challenge by dumping buckets of rubble to raise awareness of the latest Israeli-Gaza war. Others donated money to other organizations and causes.
The Ice Bucket Challenge illustrates effective ways in which the Internet and social media can be utilized to spread awareness and raise money for various social causes. Prior to the Ice Bucket Challenge, ALS, also know as Lou Gehrig's disease, was not widely known. $100 million later, it is now one of the most talked about degenerative diseases.