Ice Bucket Challenge Round-up

Lori Halley 05 September 2014 0 comments

You may be tired of hearing about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. After all, coverage of this campaign has splashed across the mainstream media and gone viral on social media.

Whether you loved it (and maybe even participated) or not, you have to admit, it was successful in stirring up a lot of excitement, social sharing and even controversy. The non-profit blogosphere has certainly weighed in on the pro’s and con’s of this type of campaign, as well as it’s origins and efficacy.

Everything you ever wanted to know about the Ice Bucket Challenge

Non-profits looking for ideas to raise awareness as well as funds for their cause want to know if and how they can replicate this phenomenon. So to help, we’ve rounded up a compendium of blog posts and articles that might shed some light on this sensational campaign.

Here is our round-up of 7 posts and articles that offer insight and opinions – the good, the bad and the ugly – on this viral campaign.

Pouring Lukewarm Water on the #Ice Bucket Challenge

On the GuideStar Blog, Gabe Cohen reports:

...The GuideStar team kept seeing comments on social media questioning the campaign, so we recently launched a survey to get your opinion about the campaign’s effectiveness in advancing the ALS Association’s mission. The survey asked one simple question: “How effective do you think the ALS #IceBucketChallenge has been in meeting the ALS Association’s overall mission?” with options to select a number from 1 to 5 followed by the opportunity to leave a comment. 1 corresponded with a response of “not at all effective,” 2 with “minimally effective,” 3 with simply “effective,” 4 with “very effective,” and finally 5 with “extremely effective.” After a week, with more than 100 responses, the average score was a 3.71, or in other words somewhere between “effective” and “very effective.” Personally, this is very close to where I net out.

Cohen offers a lot of information and insight in this post and ends with a challenge:

My name is Gabe Cohen and I nominate the social sector to take the real #IceBucketChallenge: think before you give.

The Ice Bucket Challenge, By the Numbers 

Sarah Perez (TechCrunch) suggests:

...While the challenge’s success as a viral meme should be the feel-good story of a year filled with bad news involving wars and violence and terrorism, some in the media have poured cold water (ha!) on the positive, warm-and-fuzzy feelings this viral act of charity has inspired.Quartz pointed out, for example, that the ALSA is sucking in donations at the expense of other charities, who will now suffer. Vice said the challenge is “narcissism masked as altruism,” which BBC countered by saying that might not be such a bad thing.

The Ice Bucket Challenge has proven to be an interesting study into the spread of viral memes, as well. Earlier in August, Facebook’s data scientists looked at data from June 1 through August 17, and visualized the challenge’s spread across the U.S.

Perez offers details (and visuals) about the “meme’s spread” on social media, as well as it’s impact on the ALSA.org website and closes by reminding us:

The Ice Bucket Challenge’s legacy is that it could become a blueprint for achieving viral success, which other charities could choose to replicate. Simply ask the selfie generation to once again turn their cameras on themselves, but infuse that act with a higher purpose.

Can Your Cause Catch Lightning In An Ice Bucket?

Ritu Sharma (Social Media For Nonprofits) explains:

The world is buzzing with ice bucket news, with marketing and communication professionals scratching their heads wondering how to replicate the same results for their own organizations. After all, a nearly 1000% increase in donations from the previous year, and almost 400,000 new donors would be a miracle for most nonprofits.

This is an excellent opportunity for us to recognize the power of social media and how great an equalizer it is. This organic and grassroots campaign eclipsed the best and highest spend media campaign in the news cycle. It demonstrated how it is possible for nonprofits to compete with brands and organizations with multi-million dollar ad buying budgets by being creative and harnessing the power of social media and social activism.

Sharma offers six “takeaways” that the rest of us can learn from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, including: “Believe in the Power of Clicktivism”; “Going Viral –It’s All in the Details”; “Keep it Real and Make ‘Em Feel” and more.

Creating Your Nonprofit’s Version of the #IceBucketChallenge

Kivi Leroux Miller (Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog) suggests:

It’s the question that thousands of nonprofit communications and development staff will be asked over the next several weeks:

What’s our version of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge?

Of course, the real questions behind that are “How come we aren’t raising a bazillion dollars online?” and “Why can’t we get our supporters to make videos of themselves about our cause and share them with their friends?”

In the post, Kivi explains why she believes this worked and weighs in with "a few words on the backlash.”

In addition, Kivi Leroux Miller hosted the Nonprofit Blog Carnival in August and published: Raising Awareness For Your Cause - Nonprofit Blog Carnival. This Carnival round-up offers 5 posts about the Ice Bucket Challenge (from bloggers such as Beth Kanter, Gail Perry and more), as well as a number of other great posts on how to plan your own awareness raising campaigns.

Why the Ice Bucket Challenge is bad for you

Scott Gilmore (MACLEAN’S) suggests:

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is bad for you.

I don’t mean you will catch a cold (you won’t), or look like a craven sheep (you will). I mean that when you are inspired by a viral fad to donate your limited dollars to a charitable cause, you ignore the diseases that genuinely threaten.

...We, as individuals and as a society, have finite resources to donate to medical research and other worthy causes. When we decide where to spend our charitable dollars, we need to consider three factors.

    1. Where is the greatest need?
    2. Where will my dollars have the greatest influence?
    3. What is the most urgent problem?

The ALS challenge fails all three of these tests.

6 Viral-Marketing Lessons to Learn From the Ice Bucket Challenge

Gabrielle Boko (Entrepreneur) tells us:

Whether you've laughed at your friend’s reaction to the ice cold water or taken the challenge yourself, postings about it are everywhere. This initiative has achieved something that's every marketer’s dream: going viral and capturing wide attention across the nation in a month or two.

How did this simple initiative turn into a movement that has scored participation from some of the biggest names in the country, including Bill Gates, Sheryl Sandberg, Mark Zuckerberg, Kobe Bryant, Oprah and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie?  

...Startups, established firms and marketers of all types can learn from the success of the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Boko offers 6 tips for those organizations “trying to develop a viral campaign”.


What lessons has your organization learned from this viral campaign? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Image source:  bucket with ice - courtesy of BigStockPhoto.com

Get a Special Report on Simplifying Membership Management

Enter your email and receive this special report in your inbox.
Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Friday, 05 September 2014 at 8:30 AM

Get a Special Report on Simplifying Membership Management

Enter your email and receive this special report in your inbox.
Sorry, this blog post is closed for further comments.