KNOWLEDGE: The Ice Bucket Challenge

Critical Fundraising rounds up some of the pro and anti- arguments, and those that explore some of the more neutral issues relating to the Ice Bucket Challenge.
For something that raised so much money and awareness for a charity (the ALS Association) and cause (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) few people had previously heard of, the Ice Bucket Challenge (IBC) came in for a surprising amount of criticism (much of it from showbiz reporters).

First, a few of the anti blogs

Will MacAkill, campaigner for ‘effective altruism’, thinks the IBC results in “funding cannibilism” by taking  attention away from other more worthy causes, and also encourages ‘moral licensing’. He also says it is too focused on the donor rather than the beneficiary, with detrimental effects for philanthropy.

Financial journalist and blogger Felix Salmon says giving money to ‘disease-specific’ charities is a bad idea.

Julia Belluz argues in Vox Magazine that viral memes “should not dictate” charitable giving.

The Guardian’s ‘Lost in Showbiz’ column claims the IBC is more about celebrity profile than charity.

Daily Telegraph TV and radio blogger Michael Horgan bemoans that the IBC is ‘charity as vanity’.

Also writing in the Daily Telegraph, Willard Foxton – “investigative journalist and television producer” – describes IBC as a “middle class wet T-shirt contest for armchair slactivists”, and in National Post as a “narcissistic freak-show”.

Joe Rivers, music and media writer for the Huffington Post, says the problem with IBC is that it promotes charitable giving as a “gimmick”.

Nonprofit Quarterly magazine in the USA rounds up some of the anti-arguments.

And those in support

The Children’s Society’s Simon Burne, a member of Rogare’s advisory panel, writing in this blog, Critical Fundraising, disposes of some of the more unfounded objections.

Norwegian fundraising consultant Beate Sørum gets to grips with a few more criticisms.

As does Total Fundraising’s Simon Scriver in Ireland.

Rogare advisory panel member Matt Sherrington uses his Third Sector blog to say snobbery over participation in IBC is ‘sour grapes’.

Jeff Brooks in Future Fundraising Now rebuts to the types arguments advanced by Will MacAskill and Felix Salmon.

Neutral articles

Dan Diamond in Forbes Magazine asks how ALS will spend all the money raised through the Ice Bucket Challenge.

An article in the Boston Review explores where the IBC sits on a scale of empathy and rationality.

In an interview in Non-Profit Review, ALS explains how IBC will impact on the charity.

Charity comms consultant Kirsty Marrins looks at whether it was appropriate for Macmillan Cancer Support to start its own Ice Bucket Challenge.

Macmillan responds to claims that it ‘hijacked’ IBC.

Barney Hosey of creative agency Brightsource says charities should forget about formal ownership of IBC as it’s ‘owned’ by the participants.

The Independent reports that charities in the US are competing for the rights to the IBC, as does Fortune magazine.

UK Fundraising reports on the ‘cold water challenge’ (essentially the same thing as the IBC) in New Zealand, and how a number of British charities have been using it – a month before the ALS campaign took off.

Wikipedia also has a summary of all things IBC.

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