President Obama Declines Ice Bucket Challenge as ALS Charity Reaps $4 Million

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has raised millions for the charity
The ALS Association has been reaping huge rewards from the Ice Bucket Challenge. Since July 29, the association has raised more than $4 million, compared to $1.1 million over the same period last year. That includes donations from some 71,000 individuals, up from 25,000 over the same period last year, according to a spokesperson from the association in an interview on WBZ NewsRadio 1030. The Ice Bucket Challenge involves having a bucket of iced-water tipped over yourself, or agreeing to give money to a charity. While the challenge has been cooped by the ALS Association, many ask for a donation to any charity of choice for those who decline dumping ice-water over their heads.

The idea is to post a video of yourself doing it, to prove that you didn’t chicken out, and this gives you the right to challenge some of your lucky friends to join in. But if the challenge is not accepted, the chicken is asked to donate cold hard cash, anywhere from $10 to $100 depending on their challenger’s demands.

The challenge has gained wide attention as celebrities, sports figures and politicians have all participated in the challenge. President Obama was even challenged by Ethel Kennedy. The president declined to dump ice-water over his head, but did say he will make a donation according to White House spokesperson Eric Shutlz who said, “The President appreciates Mrs. Kennedy thinking of him for the challenge – though his contribution to this effort will be monetary.”

It’s a genius campaign idea that taps right into the human condition. The Ice Bucket Challenge takes advantage of our competitive nature, our willingness to have a laugh in the name of a good cause, and our desire to “be seen” doing the right thing.

It’s only one humble opinion, but my experience of human nature is we like to be seen to do the right thing, as much as we like to actually do the right thing. Which is why the invention of social media platforms has changed the face of charity fundraising forever. There’s no denying a certain amount of good-natured altruism exists in every Ice Bucket Challenge. But it’s the exhibition of this altruism that’s really powering the craze.

Don’t mistake my observations as criticism of either the charities or the individuals behind the Ice Bucket Challenge. It’s officially a piece of social media marketing genius. A dream campaign that not only uses the human condition for greater good, but it has the staying power to help any charity in the world.

The ALS Association says the following about the disease:

“Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.”

(Photo courtesy of Andrew Booth)

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6 Responses to President Obama Declines Ice Bucket Challenge as ALS Charity Reaps $4 Million

  1. scott says:

    I must admit I’m getting tired of seeing this challenge in my Facebook feed, but if it’s raising that much money for a good charity, then I’ll hold back my complaints and encourage people to continue to do it.

  2. christine says:

    Why would Obama decline to take part in a good cause like this? Just goes to show he isn’t the caring person he wants everyone to believe he is. Just a chicken and unsupportive.

  3. dan says:

    The article says he’s giving money to the cause which is one of the options of the challenge, and is actually doing more to help fight ALS than dumping a bucket of ice water over your head.

  4. Gailete says:

    Considering how much coverage the president and his wife seem to enjoy on regular TV shows (something I don’t recall ANY president and his wife ever doing!), I’m surprised he didn’t take this as a great photo opportunity to not only pour the ice bucket on his head, but to give money as well. It isn’t like they are poor and can’t afford a donation. It would have shown he was a good sport. They have time to appear on umpteen talk shows, Michelle managed to land a gig on Restuarant Impossible, but this time he bows out? Their whole first term they acted as if they planned on a second career as ators I saw their faces on the TV so much and it wasn’t in the news.

    And NO I would not take this challenge as physically I couldn’t tolerate the ice water and I already give monthly to my own charities. That is the one problem I see from these things where they expect everyone to give. They seem to ignore the fact that some people already give a portion routinely to charity. I would run into this at jobs where they wanted 100% participation in the United Way. Well, my problem is that I was already giving 10% of my income monthly already. How much more was I supposed to give when others that $5 a month was nothing as that all they gave. I think people have to be courteous about things like this.

  5. PFCAKES says:

    Our POTUS should have done it. Simply because it’s a fun activity that OMG might get his hair wet. If I got called out I would call out Michelle!

  6. PFCAKES says:

    it just would’ve been great and AMERICAN to see our POTUS do a fun thing.

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