You’ve likely seen the videos on the news and in your newsfeed of friends, family, and celebrities dumping a bucket of ice water over their heads. The “ice bucket challenge” is intended to raise money to fight Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS), and so far the campaign has been incredibly successful, using the viral, friends-tagging method to increase awareness and bring in over $1 million since the end of July.
Viral philanthropy is nothing new — lots of men (and some women) participate in Movember, growing moustaches to raise funds and awareness to support men’s health, including prostate cancer. Kickstarter and other crowd-funding methods have also added to the virility of philanthropy, generating huge amounts of money for charities.
How do nonprofits and aid groups set themselves apart in a time when fundraising is ubiquitous and unique? Is it enough to host a more traditional event like the walks, runs, or bike rides that support HIV/AIDS and breast cancer? Does direct access to friends and family via social media change the personal landscape of philanthropy? Is the U.S. philanthropically fatigued, or becoming increasingly generous?
Justin Timberlake does the #ALSIceBucketChallenge:
Bill Parent, Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives at UCLA Luskin School
Ken Berger, President and Chief Executive Officer of Charity Navigator