If going viral is the goal of any social-giving campaign, then the ALS Association’s Ice Bucket Challenge scored big.
Between July 29 and Aug. 29 of 2014, social networks exploded with videos of celebrities, politicians and regular folks drenching themselves in freezing-cold water in support of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
According to a blog post from The NonProfit Times, one of BizTech’s 25 Must-Read Nonprofit IT Blogs, more than 17 million people uploaded Ice Bucket Challenge videos to Facebook around that time. The grassroots campaign sparked an unexpected windfall for the ALS Association — donations eventually reached $220 million and funded a mix of research projects, patient and community services, education initiatives and more.
This month, the nonprofit would like to see a repeat of that success.
“It’s all about transforming a moment into a movement,” said Carrie Martin Munk, chief communications and marketing officer at the ALS Association, in an interview with The NonProfit Times. For the Ice Bucket Challenge’s 2015 revival, the association plans to leverage the social drivers that made the 2014 campaign such a hit:
Social media was a platform that took the challenge to “unfathomable heights” while it was traditional media and channels that kept it going. “What we’ve done a lot of this year is coordinate not only with other ALS colleagues in the U.S. but internationally as well, sharing tools and resources,” [Munk] said. ALS Association has redesigned the landing page for the Ice Bucket Challenge on its website, created a video and an infographic about “how to” do the challenge, and share with friends.
According to Yahoo Tech, that sharing aspect of the challenge aligned particularly well with the open-audience design of social networking sites, giving the campaign more reach:
Participants are obligated to nominate other people to also take part. The fact that these nominations were made via social media ensured that not only their Facebook friends and Twitter followers saw their picture, but also that their social network’s social network saw it, as well.
Ignite Social Media noted that the challenge’s focus on immediacy also accelerated its success:
Perhaps the most ingenious and overlooked component of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge campaign is the fact that each challenge comes with a 24-hour deadline. Every social media and digital marketer understands that urgency is a key component for any call-to-action. People are busy and if they don’t have a reason to do something right now, they will often end up not doing it at all.
The 2014 Ice Bucket Challenge certainly fell into the audience-engagement sweet spot, and representatives from the ALS Association hope that social media users will once again push the campaign to critical mass.
“They will drive it,” Munk told The NonProfit Times. “Our role, in partnership with other ALS organizations, is to amplify their voice, in collaboration with other organizations.”
The 2015 Ice Bucket Challenge is live and underway. Visit the ALS Association's Ice Bucket Challenge page for more info.