Is Fundraising on Social Media Really That Bad?

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More and more critics have been verbal about their disapproval of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Regardless of the increased awareness and unprecedented funds being raised for the devastating disease, some people feel the need to intellectualize the movement.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m always up for a healthy debate and I strive to learn something new everyday. But to those who are endlessly criticizing the viral fundraiser, you’re completely missing the point!

Ask most families who have been affected by ALS, and you will hear how this online campaign has lifted spirits and provided hope amid the 100% fatality rate.

Note to the haters: if you were facing your inevitable death, don’t you think watching people worldwide dump ice water over their heads in the name of your killer would be uplifting? A global eff-off to your fatal diagnosis?

Never underestimate the therapeutic powers of entertainment. Sure, facing your death can be the ultimate time to reflect, seek forgiveness, face regrets and embrace your bucket list (of the non-ice variety, so to speak). But, honestly, when you’re paralyzed and barely able to breathe (as one is when dying of ALS), facing each day can be incredibly boring and depressing.

When my dad was dying of ALS, I tried everything in my power to lift his spirits. I remember watching the O.J .Simpson trial with him for hours. Marcia’s kinda hot, but she needs to do something about that hair. Don’t tell me he’s gonna get off because of that glove. It seems like you truly can ‘get away with murder’ these days. This is what my dad and I discussed for hours as his motionless, stiff and ailing body was sprawled out on his power wheelchair while we watched the murder trial from our living room.

And God bless Jim Carrey and Chris Farley! I cannot tell you how many times we watched Dumb and Dumber and Tommy Boy. While some might call this a waste of time and useless way of spending your dying days, my dad and I bonded over endless hours of laugh-out-loud moments spent in front of the TV. I can only imaging the thousands of father-daughter duos laughing over the multitude of Ice Bucket Challenge videos filling up our social media feeds. While it’s certainly not a cure, laughter truly is the best medicine most of the time.

Not only is this an uplifting campaign for thousand of families living with ALS, it is working. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is an example of how social media is now changing the face of fundraising. These types of online, social media campaigns will change the way we rally behind causes that are close to our hearts.

Clearly, fundraising and raising awareness via social media isn’t the stupidest idea on the planet. In fact, some might call this movement a game-changer.

On the heels of the Ice Bucket Challenge, Academy Award-winning actress Reese Witherspoon shared an image via Instagram Wednesday in hopes of starting her own viral campaign. The Legally Blonde actress (who also did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge), shared support for #TeamWill.

“#TeamWill This is for one of the strongest little four-year-olds I can imagine,” she wrote. “Will – I hear that you’re fighting so hard and strong against cancer and that in the hospital you’ve been watching a lot of Legally Blonde and loving it. I hope it makes you laugh! I wanted you to know that I made this sign in your honor – and I’m sending a big big hug and my hope and prayers. Just know – I’m a really big fan of YOURS! PS anyone else – feel free to make your own sign for Will and post it with the hashtag #TeamWill so he can see it….I’m sure he’d love that!”

Are these online campaigns of hope, support and funding really that bad? Surely, we can move past the annoying factor for our fellow humans?

Intellectualize it all you want, but people like trending topics. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has been so successful because there is an element of fun. This campaign has encouraged people to get involved alongside donating their money. And let’s face it, making a 1-minute video is way less effort than running a marathon for a cause while having to collect donations from friends.

Call me crazy, but I’m happy to see this on Facebook rather than hearing yet another Let it Go cover or getting a Farmville request.

If you’re still convinced the the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is a complete waste of time, check out the latest fundraising stats. As of August 27, $94.3 million has been raised in the U.S. since July 29, and $9.3 million has been raised in Canada.

As much as I’m enjoying the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, I know that it will inevitably end soon. That said, the ALS hashtags (#ALSIceBucketChallenge, #IceBucketChallenge, #StrikeOutALS) represent a database of potential donors after the campaign tapers off. Fundraisers at ALS, take note!

It will be interesting to see how the culture of fundraising evolves after the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge as more and more organizations take advantage of social media platforms. Whether it’s support for #TeamWill, or a creative new way to raise money for a disease, I, for one, am looking forward to seeing the next trending campaign.

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