Here is an interesting piece of news – the original ice bucket that started the challenge recently went on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Yep you read that right, when visiting the Smithsonian, you can see this piece of Americana on display – probably somewhere near Archie Bunker’s chair!
All the historical significance of the original bucket aside the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was a huge success. People all over the United States and ultimately the globe were dumping buckets of ice over their heads or having someone else do it! During the summer of 2014 over $115 million was raised in the US and the challenge was repeated in the summers of 2015 and 2016. Success may not be measured in dollars, but the fact that research funded by the challenge uncovered a gene variant associated with ALS is a major win.
For nonprofit organization and fundraisers around the world, the most interesting part of this phenomenon was that it was spread from friend to friend via social media. This was probably the most successful social media, peer-to-peer campaign ever. Using a variety of video channels – Facebook, Vine, You Tube, Instagram and a few more some of us have probably heard of – sports and entertainment figures, politicians and a whole bunch of the rest of us posted videos of ourselves dripping wet to raise money.
While not everyone donated to ALS, whether they dumped ice on their head, a whole lot of people did. Moreover, it was so popular and successful it was repeated in 2015 and 2016.
Can your nonprofit or cause partner create an equally successful challenge? Maybe not, but at the very least you should be focusing on ways to find an idea something that spreads like wildfire through social media. Sharing video was a huge part of the challenge success; now that Google, the second largest search engine on the planet, owns You Tube, that seems like a great place to start. Hey, you can be the summer of 2017 fundraising success!
Img src. By slgckgc (Doing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons