I had no idea what ALS was until everyone started to pour buckets of ice water on their heads. That doesn’t make me a bad person. But apparently, according to some cynics out there, endorsement of the ice bucket challenge does make me a bad person.
The chief complaint of these people is reasonable: the actual challenge itself isn’t doing anything to cure Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (more commonly called Lou Gehrig’s disease), a progressive disease that kills neurons and can ultimately cause paralysis. And they’re right. Videotaping the act and making fools of ourselves doesn’t actually cure the disease. Money, properly donated to the ALS Association, is what helps.
We have been doing fundraisers for diseases and cancers for decades. This isn’t anything new. Bake sales, 5Ks, talent shows and even crazy parties have been raising aid money since the birth of student governments. This is fundraising that’s been adapted for the digital age. The exposure for this organization is more helpful than you think it is. According to the ALS website, the foundation received 11.4 million dollars during the last 19 days (as of 16 August). They usually see about $1.7 million in that same time period. There’s even a page dedicated to the ice bucket challenge on the ALS website. They embrace it. Shouldn’t we?
Yes, you should donate even if you shoot the video and avoid the $100 “penalty”. But even if you don’t, your video is a free advertisement for this cause that was struggling before the challenge took off. Social media, as we know, has tremendous power. Let it work its magic. Nay-sayers, get the sticks out of your butts and stop preaching your “charitable superiority”.
Let’s face it: it’s August. It’s hot. People are gonna be pouring cold water on themselves anyway. Might as well try to do some good in the process.