Hello, naysayers of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. I have a quick message for you:
In case you’ve been away from the Internet for a week and therefore haven’t heard, there’s a new trend that’s sweeping the Internet. It’s called The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, and it’s coming to a city near you. Basically, if someone challenges you, you have 24 hours to either dump a bucket of ice water onto your head, or donate $100 to ALSA.
Cool. So what’s the problem? Well, I see two recurring complaints. First, that celebrities have enough money that they should be donating the $100 instead of taking the challenge. Second, that Americans in general are terrible people because they would rather pour ice water over their heads than donate to charity. If you have said a version of one of these statements, I have a quick response for you, and then I’ll elaborate.
The thing is, this fundraiser could not have worked any better. The ALS Association reported that from July 29 to August 17 they have received $13.3 million dollars, compared to $1.7 million in the same period the previous year. Donations have come from existing donors and 259,505 new donors. In other words, the fundraiser has been a smashing success, and it’s still going!
Celebrities can afford to donate!
Yeah, they can. But, well, that line of thinking doesn’t exactly hold (ice) water. Celebrities are, by definition, highly visible and influential people. They’re precisely the people who should be taking the ice water challenge. Their $100 doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. But their ability to influence is what really matters. Sure, Bill Gates can afford to donate $100 to the ALS Association, but I bet the video of his machine that dumps ice water ultimately had a larger effect. Oh, and by the way, Bill Gates is the last person you could ever accuse of not being a philanthropist.
Sure, rich celebrities have the money to donate. But they’re worth more when they do the challenge. I’m sure many of the celebrities did the challenge and donated, but didn’t want to mention that they donated. You know, being humble.
What about regular people doing the challenge but not donating?
Who cares? They are spreading awareness, and the fundraiser is working. People are donating.
Do you get mad at people who work traditional fundraisers because they’re only contributing their time, but not their money? You do? All right then, that does explain things.
There’s a street performer in Boulder who gathers a large crowd and while performing tells them:
Listen, I don’t need a hundred of you to give me a dollar. All I need is one of you to give me a hundred dollars.
Likewise, the ALS Association doesn’t need every person to donate. But the more people who participate, even without donating, can only help the association and, in turn, people with Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
I’m convinced. What now?
I propose that we all take a chill pill, enjoy LeBron James screaming like a little girl, and stop the fucking naysaying.