Why the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Worked
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It’s flooded your social media newsfeed for the last half of summer. You’ve got an opinion either way. You’ve heard the naysayers. Maybe you’re even one of them. “Why are these idiots dumping ice on their heads? Just donate.” That’s been the thought of thousands of cynics since ALS Ice Bucket Challenge began. But, just one minute.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease, hasn’t had this kind of spotlight since the beloved baseball player himself was diagnosed in 1939. Pete Frates, a former Boston College baseball player and ALS advocate who’s suffering from the disease, is credited with steering ALS back into the spotlight with the ice bucket challenge. The assignment: dump ice on one’s head to raise awareness for a given charity, any charity. If you don’t, you’re asked to make a donation. But when the challenge reached Frates’ social media networks, he wasn’t capable of doing the challenge himself. What he could do was nominate others to do it for his cause of choice: the ALS Association. A simple #StrikeOutALS hashtag later and suddenly, athletes all over Boston were taking the challenge for Frates. Then sports teams, celebrities, families, politicians, Assurance Rockstars. Everybody. A viral sensation and fundraising engine emerged.
So, why did this work? Well for starters, it’s something everyone could do – easy accessibility! A bucket, some ice, a Facebook account and a camera phone and you’ve pretty much accepted the challenge. Whether you’ve made a donation or not, you’re able to participate. Factor in, calling-out friends and high-profile individuals participating and suddenly you’ve got everyone’s attention. It’s a quick, easy way to support a deserving organization and feel that sense of belonging in a unifying moment.
So what exactly did this do? Well, the ALS Association received over $100 million within 30 days and $115 million throughout the duration of the summer. That’s quite a jump from the $2 million they received in 30 days around the same time last year. Donations came from existing donors, plus 2.1 million new ones. The Association’s chapters in both large and small markets have seen a 30- 100% increase in registrations for their awareness walks.
Pete Frates and his family are well aware of the real challenge that faces those with ALS and now thanks to him, everyone else does too. As a not for profit, engagement - whether socially or monetarily – is crucial. Get creative and utilize word of mouth, or as we now call it, social media. Remember, it only takes one challenge to start a movement.
Watch this video to see how Assurance started a charitable movement of its own with the Assurance Caring Together (ACT) program. Under the motto “We Can Be Heroes," Assurance employees have donated over 14,500 labor hours in a nine year span through volunteer opportunities organized by ACT.
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