photo courtesy of alsa.org
For any person with any access to social media, whether Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr or more, it is impossible not to have seen it: the ALS ice bucket challenge is sweeping the internet. Everyone from high school sports teams to George Bush has been nominated and shown posting videos of their own bucket of ice being dumped on their head.
There are some criticisms of the ice bucket challenge. Arguments say that it wastes water, especially in states like California, which is in a drought. Other critics of the challenge believe that people are dumping water on their heads in replacement of giving to charity, or using the ice bucket challenge as an excuse not to donate.
However, the numbers tell a different story: ALS Association (ALSA), the foundation that started the ice bucket challenge, has raised millions of dollars in this month alone, whereas for all of 2013 combined, they raised only thousands. The ice bucket challenge is having very real results for the victims of the disease.
Furthermore, the ice bucket challenge reduces the need for costly awareness campaigns for ALS. As the ice bucket challenges spreads like fire across social media, many of those who are nominated choose to find out more about the disease on their own, which means that ALSA and other ALS foundations do not need to spend money on awareness and can spend their money on finding a cure for the disease.
That said, the rules for the ice bucket challenge say that every person who completes the challenge should donate $10, while those who choose not to should donate $100, assuming it is within that person’s means to do so. Therefore, those who participate should at least consider donating money. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is working because of those who choose to donate; however, those who are unable to donate also contribute through spreading the message.