The truth about the Ice Bucket Challenge: Viral memes shouldn't dictate our charitable giving

“The truth about the Ice Bucket Challenge: Viral memes shouldn’t dictate our charitable giving.” By Julia Belluz, Vox.

The choices we make about where to donate money for health causes aren’t always rational. We are probably more often driven to give by a disease that has touched a loved one than by utilitarian calculations about which illnesses impact the most people or receive the least investment from pharmaceutical companies. Sometimes our decisions about donating don’t even seem to be driven by values or potential impact — but by celebrities and the entertainment value of the fundraising campaigns they endorse. Look no further than the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

The feel-good campaign works like this: you film yourself throwing a bucket of ice over your head, post it to social media, and then challenge your friends to either do the same or donate $100 to the ALS Association, which works to end Lou Gehrig’s disease. Now every famous person — from Martha Stewart to Justin Bieber and Bill Gates — seems to be dumping ice on their heads in the name of the motor neuron disease. Other charities are reportedly now searching fortheir ice-bucket equivalent. Although large fundraisers can have a significant impact on raising money for causes, there are big gaps between the diseases that affect the most people and those that net the most money and attention.

More »


Be Sociable, Share!

Articles & Posts