Social Media and Charity – The Ice Bucket Challenge

How Social Media played a role in one of the largest crowd sourced charitable donations of all time.

As of August 29, 2014 the ALS Association has topped $100 million in donations.  This is due in large part to the Ice Bucket Challenge, a viral challenge that if you haven’t heard about, then you have been living under a very large rock.  What makes this so astounding is that compared to August of 2012, there was only $2.8 million in donations during the same time period. For those of you scoring at home, that’s a 3,500% increase. The only comparable fund raising effort that took advantage of social media was Livestrong when it launched its yellow bracelet campaign in 2004 and raised a mere $50 million dollars. Besides the sheer amount of good this money will do, what is also impressive is the magnitude that one viral campaign has reached in such a short time.  Here are some stats from the campaign so far:

  • Three Million people have donated.
  • One Billion YouTube views (B for Billion)
  • The ALS Wikipedia page increased 18 times to 2.89 million views.
  • “Ice Bucket Challenge” was the top rising YouTube search globally in August.
  • There are currently approximately 2,330,000 videos on YouTube associated with the Ice Bucket Challenge.

The Impact of Facebook

Seemingly the most important means to display dumping ice water on one’s head and showing it to friends, family, and onlookers is to post it on Facebook.  From June 1  to August 17, over 28 million people have discussed the challenge, which includes posting, liking, or commenting on a post with 2.4 million video shares.  Without Facebook and to a lesser degree other Social Media sites, it is hard to believe that a campaign of this magnitude would ever happen.  What we do know is the growth of this campaign is unprecedented and it is only going to grow.  Even though you may think it is over, 90% of the likes, shares, and comments come from the United States, and are now trending globally. This challenge made charitable donations cool.  Being challenged was almost a badge of honor, it mean someone was thinking about you.  Facebook was integral in showing proof that you a: donated b: dumped water on your head or c: did both.  What social media was able to do was generate an incredible amount of awareness and donations to a good cause. We can’t wait to see the what’s next.

Our Favorites

Although we haven’t watched all 4 years worth of videos, we have seen quite a few and enjoyed almost all of them.  From that long list, here are our two of our favorites so far.

Thanks for Reading,


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