I Challenge You to Not Do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Ready to be soaked in ice water.
Ready to be soaked in ice water.

If you have not completely isolated yourself from the trendiness of the world, you should be aware that the  ALS Association orchestrated a fundraising challenge. They called it, the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, in essence, to raise money for ALS. The Ice Bucket Challenge has invaded Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and probably many other social media outlets. The premise is to challenge other friends, family members, acquaintances, and complete strangers to dump a bucket of ice cold water on their heads and giving a donation in support of ALS (preferably $100). The ALS Association’s fundraising strategy has become so pervasive that some of the biggest celebrities to the nobodies devoted their time and money toward ALS.

I was even challenged, by a good friend of mine, but I was always apprehensive about the organization’s fundraising technique. Found it essential to find out more about the organization and their agenda. I didn’t want to be so gullible to engage into a pretty clever and creative marketing strategy that lured millions to raise 94.3 million, compared to 2.7 million this time last year. It is very easy to be hoodwinked by a charitable organization’s marketing strategies to raise revenue for their cause, without doing a minuscule bit of research. The execution of the challenge reminds me too much like the propaganda hoax, Kony 2012, rings a bell. 

ALS Association

Now, let us be honest with ourselves, ALS is real, approximately 300,000 Americans suffer from the disease between the ages of 40 to 70. It is surely imperative to investigate an organization that raised nearly 95 million in one month span, with a  virtual ice bucket challenge marketing campaign. What I found exasperating and less surprising about this nonprofit is the allocation of income. It is encouraging that the organization lauds itself on finding a cure for the five motor neuron diseases, but not when you realize how the funds are utilized. ALS Association illustrates their financial breakdown of the nonprofit.

als-association-donations

According to the pie chart, 27% of the organization’s revenue was allocated toward research, 7.2 million, which is still a significant amount. But let us not be so quick to extol them because most of the funding for research has gone toward pharmaceutical companies. And those who are familiar with Veracious Thought know that BigPharm never develops cures for severe diseases or virus, rather than treating medical disabilities for life. The third most expense is Patient and community services, where 5.1 million (19%) funds essential services. Public and professional education receives the most funding, of 8.5 million, which was 32% of their revenue. Fundraising receives 14% of the organization’s revenue, with 3.6 million. The last four expenses are legitimate for most nonprofit, especially one that address medical issues. While, the organization’s Administration expense is somewhat suspect and not because 1.9 million is allocated toward staff. However, when eight members of your senior executives make well over $100,000, it sparks great concern:

Jane H. Gilbert – President and CEO – $339,475.00
Daniel M. Reznikov – Chief Financial Officer – $201,260.00
Steve Gibson – Chief Public Policy Officer – $182,862.00
Kimberly Maginnis – Chief of Care Services Officer – $160,646.00
Lance Slaughter – Chief Chapter Relations and Development Officer – $152,692.00
Michelle Keegan – Chief Development Officer – $178,744.00
John Applegate – Association Finance Officer – $118.726.00
David Moses – Director of Planned Giving – $112,509.00
Carrie Munk – Chief Communications and Marketing Officer – $142,875.00
Patrick Wildman – Director of Public Policy – $112,358.00
Kathi Kromer – Director of State Advocacy – $110,661.00

Charitable organizations like ALS Association are strong advocates of conventional medicine and research. While, peer-review journals on natural supplements discusses the impact to patients suffering from ALS is consistently overshadowed. A GreenMedinfo article mentions that compelling studies suggest that natural interventions can also help alleviate some of the many conditions caused by ALS.

Forget the Ice Bucket Challenge

The ALS Association’s market campaign is certainly one of the most creative piece of propaganda I have ever witnessed. I want to make this clear to readers and people who have participated in the challenge, by no means am I trying to disparage your fight for a cause. Americans can be a very generous nation, that has a history of being benevolent for causes worldwide. However, when millions are willing to devote time and resources (money) toward a trendy cause that very few know anything about the organization or the cause, can be exasperating. Society needs critically analyze campaigns that is getting a lot of exposures and has social media traction. But, everything should not be considered a hoax.

If you want to be a participant in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, be my guest. Fill that bucket, bowl, or trash can with ice and then add fluoridated water, from either your faucet or water hose. To avoid accidental injuries,  maybe you can have someone pour over your head. And to those participants who already complete the challenge, I hope that you educated yourself about ALS, prior to taking the challenge. Let us not forget about the abundance of disease, social/political causes, and more needs market campaigns like the ice bucket challenge.

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