After speaking with one of my Veterans Giving Circle members, I realized that I may be falling down on the job by not sharing with you my thoughts on the popular ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
For those of you who are not familiar, a campaign to raise money for ALS (aka Lou Gherig’s disease) has gone viral. In this campaign, you are challenged to pour a bucket of ice water over your head and donate $10 to the ALS Foundation OR don’t dump the ice water but then you have to donate $100 for ALS research. After completing the challenge, you challenge others to complete the Ice Bucket Challenge.
It’s been a brilliantly successful fundraising campaign for the ALS Association who has now raised nearly $100 million- nearly 5 times the amount they usually raise on an annual basis. As with any successful effort, there will be lots of criticism. Some say that the ALS Association is cannibalizing charity dollars and, as a result, other charities with diseases that impact more people will receive less money. Some people call it “slacktivism” where people get to do something cool and be part of the crowd without really understanding what it is they’re supporting. No doubt, the results of the campaign will be studied and plenty written about this campaign in the future to find out if any of these things are true.
But for me, it’s not all that important. I don’t really look at the ALS campaign as charitable giving. It’s more accurate to think of it as fun. If it’s fun for you to dump a bucket of ice water on your head, and you feel good about spending $10 to do it, great. If it’s fun for you to challenge someone else to do it, great.
What is Charitable Giving?
Charitable giving is an intentional act to make a big impact with your finite charitable dollars. Fundamentally, charitable giving is three things….
1. Giving on a regular basis
2. For causes you care about
3. To great charities doing great work.
Naturally, this type of giving doesn’t just happen– especially when it’s a response to a viral marketing campaign. It takes time and effort, and giving circles, aka donation teams, make that soooo much easier.
Fundamentally, I don’t believe there is any harm giving $10 for the fun on dumping a bucket of ice water on your head with all your friends– as long as you are also giving to other charities that you’ve chosen after careful thought and research.
My Kind of Challenge
I chose not to participate in the ALS challenge, because it’s not really my style. This is my kind of ice bucket challenge.