“You’ve been nominated for the ALS Challenge! You have 24 hours to participate or DONATE $100!!”
While the ALS Challenge was a great milestone for social media awareness campaigns and just awesome fundraising, there were some aspects of it that were a smidge off-putting.
First of all, the whole idea of the campaign was to donate no matter what! There was no condition. Whether or not you dumped water on yourself, you still had to donate. Because of this discrepancy, there was much confusion going around Facebook. Sentiments along the lines of “Sooo…how will dumping ice cold water on my head make a difference?” It seemed to escape people that actually donating was the bottom line, thus raising money for the ALS Foundation. Our initial thought was, “Well maybe since donating is physically easier than dumping ice water on your head, that’s why the challenge is set up this way.” But then we realized most people were participating in the icy challenge. Again…major confusion. We eventually learned the truth, which shed a ton of light on the situation. The fact that the challenge was so botched yet so popular led us to our next question.
Just exactly how many people were doing this JUST to do it? Instead of doing it for the actual cause? If they were truly concerned about the Foundation, they would’ve chosen to donate instead of participating in the challenge (on the premise that it was either or…not both).That’s why some of us at Cote Media were initially turned off to the challenge. Something so important turned so quickly into a social media trend that there didn’t seem to be much value to it. One day, people had no idea what the ALS Foundation was about and the next, everybody was doing it. If they donated, then cool. Makes sense. If they didn’t, then colossal waste of time.
That being said, if people donated without being fully aware of the actual foundation and what it does, is there much meaning behind it? One side says yes because of the millions of dollars they actually raised. One side says no because of lack of mindfulness. Nobody held a gun to their heads, after all. And it went to charity so we guess it’s okay. That’s also half the reason some of us were initially turned off. While we’d heard of the foundation, it wasn’t something we particularly paid much attention to. For that reason alone, we weren’t going to participate because it would’ve been so out of the blue. It would be giving into the trend. We don’t doubt the sincerity of many of the participants, and again, it raised a ton of money, but sometimes these types of things go too far too quickly that we lose sight of the actual meaning.