Everyone seems to want in on the ALS Fundraising Campaign which has raised over $100 million dollars (and counting), reported Forbes Magazine on Saturday. Reports state that Summer 2014 may very well be the “Summer of the Ice Bucket Challenge.” It certainly seems to be true. There are videos all over our social media feeds showing friends who have accepted the challenge as well as celebrities from all over the world who have also submitted their videos to the public and challenged their friends. These videos seem to come in by the dozens every single day. We can’t seem to get away from them.
Even scam artists are taking advantage of the extremely successful viral campaign, reported USA Today, Aug. 31 (so be aware!). “Emails, text messages and Facebook postings” have lured many with the promise of celebrity videos which have turned out to be loaded with downloads of “keystroke-logging malware that will steal all of the information from your computer or portable device...which can be used to make you a victim of identity theft.” This is no joke. USA Today tells more about these scams and how to protect yourself from the scammers here.
The Associated Press told us recently that the Ice Bucket Challenge most likely will change the non-profit world. The viral campaign has rounded in the interests of many donors who might not otherwise be interested in participating in such campaigns. Connecting with “a younger generation of donors” has become possible with the endorsements of so many celebrities like Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Selena Gomez and even Oprah and Mark Zuckerberg. Further, “The ice bucket challenge has shown it’s OK to be silly for a good cause,” stated Brian Mittendorf, a nonprofit finance professor from the Ohio State University Fisher College of Business. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has made both fundraising and donating to a good cause fun.
Despite the popularity of this campaign, there are still many in the news who have decided to say no to the challenge. Reasons are numerous. Organizations, religious groups and celebrities have been putting up their voices in response to the challenge with seemingly very powerful reasons for resisting jumping onto this campaign’s bandwagon.
PETA advocates say no to ALS challenge on the basis of unnecessary animal cruelty
PETA president and cofounder, Ingrid E. Newkirk was recently challenged in a video by Russell Simmons to speak out against the ALS Association for “funding archaic and painful tests on animals (PETA).” In response, Newkirk posted a YouTube video Aug. 25. In the video, she states, “One way to fight animal tests is this.” She opens a door with a sign reading “Acme Labs” to reveal an adorable guinea pig. A thought bubble appears over the guinea pig’s head that reads, “I’m free!” After some moments with the guinea pig, the camera switches back to Newkirk where she relates that “Everyone can help Gypsy and other guinea pigs by buying only cruelty free cosmetics and goods. And please, save all guinea pigs by choosing charities only listed on HumaneSeal.org.”
PETA advocate Pamela Anderson posted a picture on her Facebook page, Aug. 20 stating that she couldn’t bring herself to accept the ALS challenge. “I thought instead, I'd challenge ALS to stop animal testing,“ she wrote. “Trying to cure human diseases by relying on outdated and ineffective animal experiments isn’t only cruel — it’s a grave disservice to people who desperately need cures.” The former Baywatch star’s post, as of Aug. 31 had been shared more than 55,000 times, had received nearly 120,000 likes and more than 16,000 comments. Pamela Anderson was one of the first people to speak out against the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
Many say no to the ALS challenge because it wastes water
Not only does the ALS Association test on animals to find cures for Lou Gehrig's disease, which is something witch-house recording and performance artist Grimes disagrees with, the association in hers and many others’ eyes promotes wastefulness, as well. The artists tells the press that she doesn’t “feel great about wasting water in this California drought,” and she chooses to donate her funds “to the Malala Fund because education is the key to ending almost every issue that faces humanity and our world today."
Matt Damon did The Ice Bucket Challenge with another message attached. The Huffington Post reported that he was “conflicted when friends Jimmy Kimmel and Ben Affleck called on him to complete” the challenge because of the drought in California and because he had co-founded Water.org, an organization that advocates and makes moves towards getting clean water and proper sanitation to populations that would not otherwise have it. While Damon wanted to support the cause, he didn’t want to waste water in doing so. In a statement to bring attention to millions who do not have access to clean water or proper sanitation, the actor poured toilet water on his head.
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Some have decided to just donate, instead of dumping a bucket of freezing cold water on their heads
Many celebrities have decided that just donating to the cause without making a frozen spectacle of themselves is the best action. One such donor, Zachary Quinto did just that, as did Patrick Stewart who posted a powerful YouTube video showing himself writing a check without saying a word about the challenge and President Barack Obama who very diplomatically declined a challenge from Ethel Kennedy and stated that he would make a monetary donation to the ALS Association.
Many are opposed to embryonic stem cell research
Pro-life advocates of the US Catholic Church who consider embryonic stem cell research immoral have spoken out against the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The UK Independent reports that, “The Cincinnati Archdiocese in Ohio has already warned principles at 113 Catholic schools in the area to “immediately cease” donations to the ALS Association for this reason,” and has requested “that any money raised should instead be given to a “morally licit” organisation.”
In response to these pleas, the ALS Association stated that there is one research project which uses embryonic stem cells, but donors can request that the funds they send to the organization are not used in such studies. The Motor Neuron Disease Association states that it does not currently fund research projects which use embryonic stem cells though they do support the research while recognizing that said research will bring about many “moral, ethical and religious concerns.”
A well-known Catholic priest, Father Michael Duffy, responded in a blog post with his concerns after being nominated for the challenge. “I will certainly pray for those that suffer from the disease,” he posted., “I’ll also be on the lookout for a charity that doesn’t violate the Sanctity of Human Life.” In an update on the post, he wrote that “The John Paul II Medical Research Institute may be a more worthy group to donate to.”
Despite ‘haters’ of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, the campaign’s momentum has not slowed
Despite a backlash of objectors to the Ice Bucket Challenge, the campaign is still going strong. Further, many other organizations may be receiving a bit of a benefit from those who decide to donate to their causes instead of ALS. Examples? In India, The Rice Bucket Challenge, another viral campaign started by a journalist in Hyderabad, asks supporters to donate a bucket of rice to someone in need. The social media campaign has almost 60,000 likes on Facebook and can also be followed on Twitter at #RiceBucketChallenge.
Pro-choice advocates could also follow the #TacoorBeerChallenge, reported Jezebel on Tuesday. “The Taco or Beer Challenge aims to raise funds for legal abortions while taking down the lingering stigma,” wrote Jezebel. “You just eat a taco or drink a beer and donate to an abortion fund.”
Other offshoot campaigns abound. As the campaign continues, many fundraising organizations that haven't already taken note, should and probably will. Expect more offshoots soon.