Ice Bucket Challenge: Slacktivism or Charity?

Ice Bucket Challenge: Slacktivism or Charity?

Did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014 actually work, and did it hurt other charities? It did work, and reportedly raised $220 million worldwide. The ALS Association received 13 times as much in contributions as it had in the whole preceding year.

Slacktivism, a way for people to feel virtuous without doing much, turned out to be only a fear. People did participate and donate. While those who made contributions in the challenge didn’t do so again, according to Giving USA, other individual charitable donations in the US rose almost 6% in 2014, so other charities were not hurt by the challenge.

The use of social media and the cell phone allowed what anthropologists call “extreme ritual” and made people more generous. The Ice Bucket Challenge took tools typically used for private amusement and turned them into public good.

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