What started as a simple challenge by a professional golfer, college baseball player, or whomever you’re inclined to believe, has quickly become one of the most successful fundraising campaigns in the history of fundraising. No matter the dispute of origin, there’s no disputing that the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has proven to be a worthy, altruistic act of solidarity in the face of a devastating disease.
In just one month, give or take, the ALS Association has received over $106 million in donations, thanks to the viral video phenomenon that challenges participants to dump a bucket of ice water on their head in lieu of a donation. Folks are then charged with nominating others to take part. The Challenge aims to raise awareness about ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) and its impact. We’d be missing the point if we failed to mention that ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord, leading to debilitating muscle deficiencies in the body.
The rules of the Challenge have since been modified, albeit informally, to include both dumping and donating. Participants have included former president George W. Bush, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and NBA superstar LeBron James, to name some. Donations have ranged between $1-$200,000 according to the ALS Association, most notably from actor Leonardo DiCaprio, the Chairman of Carnival Cruise Lines, Micky Arison, and the New York Yankees. And consider this: Not a single dime was spent on marketing the campaign.
ALS Association President and CEO Barbara Newhouse has been animate that all the money raised from the Challenge would be used towards cutting-edge research and to support those living with the disease. Newhouse also emphasized that the organization maintains the highest possible four-star rating from CharityNavigator.org, a not-for-profit that grades charities based on practices and the allocation of donated funds, so you can be sure that the money is going towards a worthy cause.
According to the latest annual report from the ALS Association, 32% of its budget ($8.5 million) went to education efforts while 28% ($7.2 million) went to research efforts. Patient and community accounted for 19% of the budget ($5.1 million), fundraising 14% ($3.6 million) and administration 7% ($1.9 million).
Levinson and Stefani recently made a donation to the ALS Association, but we certainly couldn’t let someone walk away without getting wet. Thankfully, we have great folks in our office who are willing to go the extra mile on behalf of the rest of us. Founding partner Ken Levinson completed the Challenge and we’ve got the video to prove it (see above).
Take note of Ken’s chattering teeth post-Ice Challenge, in case you doubted just how cold a bucket filled with ice water really is. Thanks, Ken, for taking one for the team. We challenge the rest of you out there to join the ALS Association and millions of others to help make a difference, whether it’s through donating or getting doused!