How the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge could change PR for nonprofits

The ALS Association has raised $70 million since the viral challenge started. Other organizations are sure to look to replicate that success.

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As social media emerges from its infancy, we can look back at dozens of fads that it has produced. Remember when people were “planking”? At various times they’ve also been “owling,” “Batmanning,” “teapotting,” and “stocking.” There has been meme after meme, giving those who are in on the joke the opportunity to show how clever they are.

None of these have really meant anything, though, until the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

Of all the viral sensations, the Ice Bucket Challenge, which urges people to challenge their friends to donate money to the ALS Association and/or dump a bucket of ice cold water on their heads, has been the most meaningful.

Since July 29, more than 1.3 million new philanthropists have donated a staggering $70 million. In the same period last year, July 29 to Aug. 24, ALSA reports that it received $2.5 million in donations.

In addition to the money, it’s also brought a ton of attention to an organization with a relatively low profile. Oprah, Taylor Swift, Bill Gates and hundreds of powerful people have donated and been doused.

But ALSA is certainly not the only worthy charity out there.

The ice bucket challenge has shown us that massive amounts of people will rally around a serious disease in a fun way.

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