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ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: PR Success


If you’ve been on the Internet sometime in the past month, there’s a good chance you’ve seen a video of a friend dumping a bucket of ice water over his or her head. Millions of people across the globe, including celebrities and political figures such as David Beckham, George W. Bush and Ben Affleck, have accepted the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” in support of the fight against Lou Gehrig’s disease. This simple idea has grown into an incredible campaign despite little public relations planning. Anyone can participate and the “challenge” aspect makes getting soaked with freezing cold water fun and social. According to the New York Times, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has resulted in over $40 million in donations to the ALS Association.

Despite the grand success of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, skeptics still question the impact donations actually have on ALS research. While $40 million may not find a cure for this paralyzing disease, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has succeeded from a PR standpoint. A top PR executive could not have dreamed of raising such awareness in the span of a month. Awareness is fundamental in nonprofit work because it leads to action and donation.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has proven the power of social media in the modern world. If a viral trend is what it takes to remind the common citizen to donate to charity, then so be it. Hopefully, other charities will use the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge as a model for future fundraising tactics and help the world recognize the importance of awareness and charitable giving.

Here are a few of our favorite ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos:

Bill Gates:

Foo Fighters:

John Krasinski & Emily Blunt: