It’s safe to say either one or all of your friends have made a video for the Ice Bucket Challenge. If you don’t know, this is a viral effort to raise money and awareness for/of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease. One of the huge questions around this is whether or not it is actually effective. Are people actually donating money or is this just some social bandwagon people do to be trendy. Well, they’re both true.
Now, I didn’t take the time to research how many people made ice bucket videos and didn’t donate any money (personally, I haven’t yet because I’m currently living out of my suitcase for the week, I promise to donate $20 once I’m not sleeping on couches), but I’m sure that a fair, if not majority, number of people haven’t sent any money anywhere. It’s natural; people get nominated by their friends and think it’s a fun game, or they get jealous when everyone but them gets called out. So yeah, there are just a people on Facebook saying they’re donating to ALS but actually aren’t. But is that a bad thing?
According to the Huffington Post, donations to ALS research have increased by 1000 percent; the national office reported that donations went from $14,480 to $160,000. Even with all the people not giving money the number of those who actually are donating is still significant.
The real problem here is that people don’t realize the work these videos are still doing something. Really, any publicity is good publicity. Less common diseases and disorders (i.e. ALS and even Ebola) are often written off as ‘not that big of a deal,’ even if we don’t realize it. How many times do you get asked to donate to an organization working to prevent future Ebola outbreaks? It’s not that no one cares, it’s just no one is talking about it, until now. Yes, its super annoying to see ten videos on your newsfeed of people calling out other names and not even mentioning it’s for ASL advocacy, but others are going to see those videos and maybe they’ll donate something.
So let people pour ice on them, and if you’re so worried about them not donating then why not make sure your donation is enough to make up for theirs. Because you’re not complaining about pointless advocacy and not doing anything about it, right?