If you’re seeing a lot of “Ice Bucket Challenge” in your social media feeds – that’s because lots of people are doing it. It’s a bunch of fun, and at the same time raises awareness for a crippling disease and raises money too. But plenty of people are starting to call for it to come to an end – perhaps they should just keep their mouths shut?
Australians donate something like $11 billion to charity every year. In the last week or so roughly $350,000 has been donated to Motor Neurone disease foundations in Australia, globally – in particular in the USA, that amount looks like topping $70 billion.
It’s a drop in the ocean.
According to Graham Opie, CEO Motor Neurone Disease Association of New South Wales the MND Research Institute has had donations of nearly $320,000, with the state associations and support bodies also getting donations in the thousands. With an estimated $350,000 nationally thus far, it’s an amazing result from a simple viral challenge.
Mr Opie told EFTM “This has overwhelmed us, there was no planning involved in making this happen, and it happened so quickly – it had a life of its own”.
You see, this is what happens when something goes truly viral. The Ice Bucket Challenge isn’t just about charity. Well before “ALS” became associated with the challenge, people were dumping Ice Buckets of water on each other and donating to local or national charities.
Here’s regular EFTM reader Rob getting dunked way back in July.
In the USA, it happened on Morning TV, the hosts took the challenge and discussed and donated to the ALS foundation in America. ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is one of five types of Motor Neurone Disease (MND).
Once the thing went viral we had Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, George Bush and loads more doing it.
Hitting Australia, it was quickly renamed to direct the attention to MND which is more commonly known here.
There are people who claim it’s doing nothing for MND, there are others who simply want it to stop.
What? Do we call for the Salvos to stop doing the Red-Shield appeal? Do we call for a stop to Jane McGrath day at the SCG test match?
No. Because it’s great to see a community come together, openly discuss an issue like homelessness, breast cancer or whatever it might be.
Motor Neurone Disease is a deadly and tragic disease. Not enough is known about it medically, or within the community.
In 2011, 790 people with MND died. Victoria and NSW MND associations alone receive $2.8 million in funding, 80% of which comes from public donations.
As Graham Opie told EFTM, “the challenge will pass, as will the notoriety, so we’re happy to make hay while the sun shines”.
There is only a finite amount of charity funding available globally, the Ice Bucket challenge isn’t likely to make a huge different to the total donations to charity, nor will the funds going to MND likely disadvantage other charities who might miss out.
So, if you’re nominated to take the Ice Bucket Challenge and you’re not interested, ignore it. If you want to help make a little difference to Motor Neurone Disease support and research – make a donation. If you’re nominated and want to have a bit of fun, take the challenge – and think about donating too.
Oh, and if you have kids – be prepared for long delays between each bucket – and it’s cold. Bloody cold.
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.