It is without a doubt that the #ALSIceBucketChallenge is the most successful viral campaign of our time. As a matter of fact, as of 29th August, the ALS Association has received USD100.9 million in donations compared to USD2.8 million during the same time period last year (29th July to 29th August). While that means that the campaign has been very well received by people around the globe and that we can all have faith in humanity once again, the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” is now coming under siege due to some “ice doubts”.
This, of course, comes naturally, as with anything that suddenly has a large incoming flow of cash. Hence, some public questioning has ensued.
A website called “Political Ears” claimed that the ALS Foundation “admits” that 73% of donations are not used for ALS research, as previously assumed. The website also highlighted the breakdown of the ALS Association’s finances for the fiscal year ending 31st January 2014:
As seen in the pie chart provided above, only 28% of the donations go to actual ALS research purposes. “Political Ears” also made it a point to highlight the fact that over 73% of all donations raised goes to fundraising, overhead, executive salaries, and external donations, and that the ALS Association’s employees’ salaries add up to about just slightly under USD2 million.
We know what you’re thinking. “What on earth?”, right? Have we all been duped? Did we all blindly donate money (in USD, no less) to an untrustworthy association? Why were we putting ourselves through dumping buckets of freezing cold ice water over our heads in the name of fraud then? Should we have done thorough research before jumping on the bandwagon?
First things first, it is true that only 28% goes to research. And perhaps that’s what made people (applied across everyone and anyone who has taken the Ice Bucket Challenge and even for those who haven’t don it but have seen the trend go crazy) jump in the first place. So much so that they forget that the ALS Association is not a non profit organisation that raises money for research only. In fact, the ALS Association delivers vital ALS-related programs and services to the ALS community such as professional and public education, patient and community services, on top of research into ALS treatments and cures.
All of which were stated in their mission anyway:
- Raise the level of awareness of The ALS Association as the leading voice and most trusted source of information about Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
- Lead, direct and/or collaborate on global research to understand the disease, develop treatments and ultimately find a cure.
- Provide every person with ALS and their families access to high quality, consistent and compassionate support services.
- Advance a nationwide advocacy program that increases funding for ALS research, improves patient services and empowers the entire ALS community.
- Function as one organization with unity of purpose.
- Operate within a business model designed to ensure stability and promote financial strength.
Let’s not forget that services such as Charity Navigator, an independent assessor of charitable organisations, confirmed that the ALS Association has a record of high transparency and ranks high in other areas, receiving an overall 90.73/100 rating and a 4/4 stars ranking.
Oh, also, “Political Ears” is listed here under “List of Top Websites on Satire”. Don’t we all know what “satire” means by now?
And if the above is not enough to convince you yet, the ALS Association has never forced it upon anyone to involuntarily and unknowingly “split” his/her donation to fund all other things e.g. administration, fundraising, etc within the association. If a donor would like 100% of their donation to go to research, he/she can check the “I want my research to be used solely for ALS research” box in the online donation form here.
We hope that helps clear up some doubts, if not all, about the ALS Association and their involvement with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge’s donations.
Meanwhile, here are some of the best #ALSIceBucketChallenge videos that we’ve seen over the past 2 weeks
- The “Heavenly Kings” of the East Andy Lau and Jay Zhou.
- K-Pop idols Super Junior’s Siwon, Donghae, and Eunhyuk.
- The world’s top DJs/producers e.g. Tiesto, Calvin Harris, Nicky Romero, and more.
- Bosses of their league Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft’s Bill Gates.
- Members of the DC and Marvel Cinematics Universe, because they’re cool like that.
- The “Young & Dangerous” members, together again after 14 years for the challenge.
- Our favourite YouTubers being all cute and charming.
- These Korean celebrities who were also bitten by the ice cold bug.
- Anthony Carbajal, the 26-year-old real-life ALS patient who stole our hearts.
- The Samsung GALAXY S5 one that made us laugh because of its nominations.
- Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng who did it because he kept his promise.
- Singer-songwriter Jason Mraz took it on without wasting water.
- Henry Cavill because he’s Superman and Superman ain’t afraid of a little cold.