Social Media has recently been swamped with videos of ice-bucket challenges to raise awareness and fundraise for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) research. Indeed it is one of the most creative and captivating fundraising ideas in recent times; but no matter what one does, haters are going to hate! Many people are aggravated by videos of challenges with participants ranging from kids to the wealthiest and most influential personalities of the world. Simply put, the thing is spreading like wildfire in the harmattan and raising more money along the way than many nonprofits can ever dream of making in their lifespan.
The ALS ice-bucket challenge is an ingenious way of raising money and providing people with something fun to do while affectionately calling out their relatives and friends to do the same. Surely, there can be nothing wrong with a little fun in a world constantly under the plague of human tragedy, but there are those who would rather no one participated. They argue that most participants are simply showing off and don’t even donate to the cause. Now, that can’t be accurate, can it, considering that funds raised by the organization so far are fast approaching a hundred million. It is certainly true that not everyone is donating, but the campaign is also about the fact that people like me are hearing about ALS for the first time. The ice-bucket challenge and the creative length many have gone to record themselves provide some entertainment with their donations or just acquired knowledge about a terrible disease. This is not to deny that there are those who still don’t have a clue beyond their bucket of ice water, but that’s expected.
Moreover, there are those who are pissed off because the ALS Association is raising so much money for a disease that is affecting a comparatively infinitesimal number of people at a time when another, Ebola, is taking significant toll on the lives of people in West Africa. There is room for sympathy here, but those fundraising for Ebola cure did not come up with the ice-bucket challenge, so they should just retreat to their creative bunkers and come up with some ideas. The ALS ice-bucket challenge was not designed to steal money from Ebola or any other global disaster for that matter; it merely came up with a fundraising idea that has perhaps grown even beyond the wildest imagination of its creator. The copycat Ebola ice-bucket challenge floating around is certainly evidence of envy and lack of imagination.
Then there are the other furious bunch who claim that the fascination with the ice-bucket challenge is an obstacle to meaningful conversations about the Michael Brown tragedy in Ferguson, recent Israel-Palestinian conflict, Syria, or the massacre of the Yazidis. Well, it is certainly presumptuous to think that just because people are taking a few minutes of their summer day to throw a bucket of ice water on their heads, their brain cells suddenly become incapacitated for serious discussions about pressing social issues. It may even be that the ice-bucket challenge offers an avenue for some people who are genuinely outraged by recent global tragedies to cool off a little.
On the list of detractors are also those who are protesting the ice-bucket challenge for lack of water elsewhere in the world. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if refraining from pouring a petit bucket of ice water on one’s head will solve the problem of drought in many places around the world? The reality is that with or without the ice-bucket challenge, there will be places with no water. Perhaps what those places need is their own creative idea to fundraise for drinking water or in some places I know, just a functioning government that can provide such services. It is not the fault of the ice-bucket challenge that they cannot drink or shower; it is poverty, underdevelopment, a natural consequence of their location, or a curse of poor leadership.
Finally, it is understandable that those who run small nonprofits that struggle for funding wished they had come up with the ice-bucket challenge phenomenon sweeping the world at the moment, but they didn’t; so instead of hating they should learn from this success or just go pour a bucket of ice water on their heads. It helps with the summer heat! On the other hand, let us hope that those in charge of managing the funds from this campaign will be as scrupulous with the money as the generosity of those who have given.
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