Challenge Sets Fundraising Precedence


In her 2014 Dartmouth commencement speech, screenwriter Shonda Rhimes said “a hashtag is not a movement.” She was talking about the influx of protests on social media in recent times. From #findourgirls to #notallwomen, many people rely on twitter and other platforms to let their voice be heard.

Recently, though, a new movement is shaking things up.The hashtag for the ice bucket challenge has over 2.5 mil posts on Instagram. According to the ALS Association, the hashtag has raised more than $100 million for research.

Senior Hannah Ogden has a personal connection with the movement and also participated in it. “My cousin’s boyfriend’s family were some of the first to start it because they were supporting a close friend who had it [ALS].”

The ice bucket challenge, unlike many other social media hashtags and movements, “is fun to do,” said Ogden.

There’s a reason for that fun, however. “It’s supposed to simulate having ALS” said Ogden.

Senior Elise Blegen, who participated in the challenge, said she agrees that it is fun. That being said, “It got to be more of just kids doing it for fun without knowing what it was for.”

The challenge has been very successful in multiple aspects. “It has raised awareness because a lot of people didn’t know about it. Also, it raised a ton of money” said Ogden.

One of the factors towards the challenge’s success has been its spread. “It was successful because people wanted to see other people do it. It was a ‘challenge’ and if you didn’t do it you were supposed to donate,” said Blegen.

The creativity aspect is another key to the spread, said Ogden. “It’s different, not many people have tried to pour water on their heads as fundraising.”

“It was really out there, so I think people will be more creative in the future” said Ogden.

Anna Ruckman, a West grad and graphic design major at Park University, said the ice bucket challenge has a big impact on the future of advertising. “It not only raised money and awareness for ALS, but also showed how fast and effectively you can use social media to raise awareness.”

“I think in the future of advertising, we will see more of these ‘challenge’ type scenarios,” said Ruckman.