The fundraising phenomenon this summer has been the Ice Bucket Challenge, where supporters literally pour a pail of water over their head to raise awareness for the disease which killed Lou Gehrig and the ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) Association. The campaign has raised over $94 million in less than a month. What can other nonprofits learn about fundraising campaigns from this stunning success?
- Video is a must - this idea would never have taken off without being able to see those taking the challenge
- Multi-channel isn’t just a buzzword – the ice bucket campaign accelerated because it was promoted on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram – and prominently featured on the ALS website
- Asking supporters to involve their friends and family is a lot more effective than the nonprofit contacting supporters directly
- The Ice Bucket Challenge wasn’t started by ALS, but the organization embraced the campaign when it caught on. Your nonprofit doesn’t always have to originate a successful campaign, but you have to be aware of what your supporters are doing, especially on social media
- If you can make it ‘fun’ to support your cause, constituents will enjoy getting involved
Congratulations to ALS – perhaps this publicity will be the push it needs to find a cure for this debilitating disease. Also see comments by Allison Fine, Gail Perry, John Haydon, Beth Kanter, Kivi Leroux Miller, Chronicle of Philanthropy, Nonprofit Times and Social Media for Nonprofits on the Ice Bucket Challenge phenomenon.
Updated 8/27/14 – chart which shows running donation and new donor totals for ALS.