The social media solution to fundraising

With the recent success of the ALS Association, others seeking funds are hopping on the bandwagon.

Destanie Martin-Johnson

This year, the ALS Association raised more than $115 million for research projects dedicated to curing ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Last year, the organization was only able to raise roughly a few million dollars during a similar time frame.

The fact that it raised so much more money in just one year is astonishing. What exactly was the catalyst that launched the success of the donations? The answer is social media.

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos surged through everyone’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages throughout the summer. A total of 2.4 million people shared Ice Bucket Challenge videos on Facebook by September, and 3.7 million people shared them on Instagram.

Lauren Hill, a 17-year-old basketball player who was recently diagnosed with a rare type of terminal brain cancer, started a similar trend two weeks ago. It’s called Layups4Lauren. Participants record themselves spinning around five times and then trying to make a basket with their non-dominant hand.

This is meant to give people a similar sensation to how Hill feels when playing basketball. In this way, it’s just like the Ice Bucket Challenge, in which the ice was meant to make you feel “paralyzed,” like many who suffer from ALS.

Last week, Hill even received shout-outs and other forms of recognition from professional athletes like LeBron James via Instagram. This is yet another example of the reach that social media can have for individuals and organizations trying to spread awareness for their causes.

To me, the Ice Bucket Challenge seemed helpful, but some controversy surrounded it. People questioned whether the social media craze would even help because it seemed that many people would post videos of themselves completing the challenge, but then wouldn’t donate.

The astounding figures regarding funds raised answers that question, but the sustainability of this type of fundraising still remains unanswered.

How will the ALS Association continue to generate revenue at this rate?

Social media sites are a way for people to share ideas and get connected, making them a perfect outlet for informing the public. Using social media is an excellent way to make communities aware of important issues or causes.

However, the long-term effectiveness of this type of fundraising still has room for improvement.

The ALS Association has just recently begun distributing the Ice Bucket Challenge donations toward research and treatment for those who currently suffer from ALS.

Let’s hope that Hill raises just as much awareness, inspires as many people to join her cause and ultimately continues to help others.