Have you accepted the #ALSIceBucketChallenge and doused yourself with ice water? This week one of my best friends challenged me after she accepted the challenge by her mother, who is like my second mother.
I failed. I am sorry if I let you down. I should clarify. I failed to dump ice water on myself within 24 hours. I asked for an extension and I failed again. I failed to unleash the challenge to my friends.
I wanted to be a joiner. But the truth is, I didn’t want to follow most everyone else and simply drop ice and water in a bucket and have someone videotape me saying how cold the water was and then throw out the challenge to my friends.
That sounds as if I am judging all the good souls who have done it and that is not my intent. According to most I have read, this campaign has done wonders for the ALS Foundation, in terms of money raised. It has its own entry on Wikipedia. The challenge has also met with controversy, which can often mean success.
What is really a clever play on dunking booths, which have benefited charities for a long time, I simply feel has run its course. The ice bucket, water, and video part. But I also know charitable organizations everywhere are brainstorming the next big viral giving sensation. Good for them.
Good for the ALS Foundation. Kudos to everyone who has donated to the cause – or in many cases, donated to other causes and organizations, perhaps, instead.
Honestly? I knew I couldn’t part with the suggested $100 donation at this time. Also, I couldn’t think of anyone I know or have known who has been dealing with a diagnosis of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Does that really matter? I suppose it does to me. I wanted to learn more and I needed more than 24 hours to do so. I learned ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, falls under MDA – The Muscular Dystrophy Association.
I have supported MDA for many years, beginning with my volunteer work for the MDA Telethon when I worked for WKEF TV in Dayton, Ohio. It is a cause I hold dear, partly for the families I’ve known and because of the dedication to the cause by longtime Dayton show host Johnny Walker, one of my most trusted mentors. I just didn’t realize how that tied into the whole ice bucket thing and ALS. Now that I know, I will send a check this week for what I can spare.
I am generous in my giving and I choose causes and people to support who have touched me in some way. It is a personal decision.
Friends have complained they have grown tired of seeing the videos all over social and mainstream media. I’ll admit, I don’t click on many of the videos anymore, although I did laugh at the bloopers. I’ll also admit that makes me feel a bit bad. Not the laughing part. The fact that clearly some folks got hurt in the process.
The real beauty of this campaign? It got us talking, clicking, sharing, challenging, and thinking about how we can help others. I have worked many years in the not-for-profit arena. This amount of promotion is a gold mine and is commendable. We know it will be copied. Hopefully everyone will find their own special twist. Going viral on the internet, for the sake of being viral alone does not move us to make a difference.
Let’s make a difference. If we haven’t been charitable, let this be a place to start.
I challenge my readers to find at least one cause or organization and contribute to it as often as you can, making it a goal of at least once per quarter. Pour yourself a big glass of ice water and enjoy it as you ponder my tips for turning ice water into dollars:
1) Research the organization before you choose to support.
2) Donate financially, what you can, when you can.
3) Give the gift of your time through volunteering.
4) Offer the donation of your expertise and/or other resources.
5) Encourage your circle of influence to do the same.
6) If funds are tight, plan a garage sale, bake sale, craft sale, sell some items on Craig’s List - whatever you can and donate those proceeds to the cause(s) you have chosen.
7) Never feel guilty about not donating or shamed into doing it – if your gift isn’t genuine, it should be held for when it can be.
8) Feel good about paying it forward and leading by example.
Here are a few other organizations I have researched and helped over the years. I also support individual friends as the need arises – as I can, financially – always, emotionally.
Where do you contribute and why?
May your glass always be at least half full…enough to share with others.