The latest viral craze is the ALS Association’s Ice Bucket Fundraising, which is both generating a lot of buzz on social media and attracting some criticism. It’s has been helping the ALS Foundation get donations. Known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, the disease is 100 percent fatal. Most people only live 2 to 5 years after receiving the diagnosis, The New York Times reported.
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The Ice Bucket Challenge involves people taking a video of themselves dumping a bucket of ice water over their heads, posting it to Facebook or Instagram and nominating friends to do the same thing within 24 hours or donate $100 to the ALS Association. The challenge has caught fire on social media, especially as a large number of celebrities have gotten involved. Justin Timberlake, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Jimmy Fallon as well as many other musicians, actors and athletes have completed the challenge and nominated others, according to CBS News.
Why Encourage People Not to Donate?
Not everyone in the nonprofit community has been so excited about the Ice Bucket Challenge because of one significant flaw: Dumping water on your head absolves you from giving money to the cause. In addition, some critics have said it seems silly to encourage people to waste water when California is suffering an extreme drought, according to Long Beach Post. Many people think it would be more productive to just encourage people to give instead, npENGAGE stated. Some participants may just be doing it to get involved in a viral trend rather than increasing health care fundraising initiatives.
However, there is something to unconventional fundraising ideas like the Ice Bucket Challenge. While not everyone who participates may give to the ALS Association, many are doing both or just donating. The results have been astounding either way. As of August 13, the ALS Association received contributions from more than 259,000 new donors. Between June 1 and August 13, the organization raised $11.4 million, including national revenue and individual chapters. While these totals are extraordinary however you look at it, the ALS Association raised $1.7 million in the same time period in 2013.
How Can MobileCause Solutions Strengthen Ice Bucket Challenge?
One flaw is not everyone who takes a video of the Ice Bucket Challenge gives to the cause. This is partly due to the process of having to go to their website to be able to donate. With MobileCause tools participants can quickly donate with the click of a button using their mobile phone.
1. Keywords make donating in person convenient: Instead of just calling out the nominations, participants can send keyword instructions (Example text ICEBUCKET to 41444) to those who they nominated to directly connect them to a mobile responsive donation page. Donors can then hold up their smartphone in videos to confirm their donation to the world. Additionally, people who text keywords are automatically subscribed to receive ongoing mobile communications which have 99% open rates.
2. Online Giving Forms make donating from any device (PC, smartphone, tablet) easy: Online Giving Forms can be created in minutes and they empower fundraisers to easily measure the effectiveness of each campaign. Fundraisers can also compare ROI across different channels such as social media, email, text and direct mail.
3. Shortlinks (example: safedonate.us/icebucket) enable fundraisers to track clicks and conversions for unique donations pages and make sharing donation pages on social media much easier: Participants can post branded donation shortlinks on social media which link directly to donation pages. This makes it easy for people to go to donation pages after watching the video. Even better… you can track who clicks these links and who completes donations!
It’s Clear From the Success of the Ice Bucket Challenge that Social Media has the Power to Connect People for Good Reasons.
While it’s more difficult for smaller organizations to engage the entire country on this scale, social media with the help of MobileCause solutions can all be used to sharply increase awareness for important causes. Viral fundraising ideas have the potential to connect nonprofits with new donors they wouldn’t have reached otherwise. In addition, when joined with a mobile fundraising strategy, these efforts can be even more effective.
By Daniel Scalisi, Founder/ EVP Sales & Market Development