Why the Ice Bucket Challenge Worked
By now, unless you’ve been living in a cave, you probably have heard of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge or even participated in the challenge yourself. You may even be asking, how do I replicate the fund-raising success for my non-profit?
As reported by the ALS Association, the organization raised over $100 million dollars as compared to over $2.6 million by the middle of last year. ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, which affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. The challenge itself is simple, you douse yourself with a bucket of ice water and make a small donation to ALS or you skip the challenge, and make a larger donation to ALS.
So, what are some of the lessons a nonprofit organization should consider when planning for your next non-profit fundraising event?
First, make it grass roots.
Friends of Pete Frates, a Boston College baseball star was the inspiration behind the viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. His tireless efforts and support by family and friends made the viral sensation organic. It wasn’t a marketing strategy created by the organization, it was driven by people that were passionate about finding a cure for a disease that has no cure.
Second, make it easy.
Anyone can do this, no matter your age, your height, where you live, what you do for a living. There are no barriers. You just grab a bucket, some water, some ice, video tape yourself and post it. If you follow social media, you undoubtedly will see a friend or follower accepting the Ice Bucket Challenge. The community effect of the Ice Bucket Challenge is real and something we can all relate to.
Lastly, have a call to action.
In the Ice Bucket Challenge, you get wet, you donate money, and you nominate three other individuals who are also expected to complete the challenge. This is strategy that embraces two key components that makes a fundraiser a success – awareness and donation of dollars to the organization.
If we learn anything about the Ice Bucket Challenge, we see that bringing creativity, fun, and awareness has created a win-win situation for the organization.