I’m always amazed by what “goes viral” and what never does.
In the case of the ice bucket challenge, I am both amazed and delighted. Delighted for the ALS Association, an organization fighting one of the most deadly diseases I can imagine. When I have strange aches and pains I think about whether it could be cancer or ALS. (Admit it, you do that too sometimes!) And yes, I read Tuesdays With Morrie and I’m glad I did.
But this isn’t about the ALS Association as much as it is about a quirky, fun challenge that people are glomming onto, and that just happens to be tied to a serious cause. People get to have fun, they make great videos that urge more people to have fun and, thank goodness, they are riding this wave to the very end by making those contributions to the ALS Association.
Not everybody is having all that much fun, however.
There are detractors (some of them nonprofits) out there who think that the donations being made to ALS are ones that would have gone to other charities.
Overall, that’s not how philanthropy works, in the first place. And what we are seeing here anyway is more spontaneous giving, that in-the-moment decision to act that’s based more on gut feeling than contemplation.
I know who’s behind all of this: our younger generation, those 75 million “echo boomers” or “Gen@ers” who’ll do just about anything if it’s fun and can raise some money for good causes. These folks have true social commitment, no barriers, and they are networkers to the max. When they get ahold of something, look out.
I didn’t take the challenge (I know: no guts, no glory), but I did make a gift 1) because I am having such fun watching all of this play out around the world, and 2) I read the stories on the ALS Association website and watched an awesome (and sad) video on Upworthiest and wanted to be part of a hopeful solution to an awful disease.
Let me know how you feel.