What I Think About the Ice Bucket Challenge

I’m not going to dump a bucket of ice water on my head for ALS. And, before you get all up in arms and call me a selfish spoilsport, let me tell you why.

Raising money for charity, or for any nonprofit for that matter, is no small task. It takes creativity, innovation, a lot of hard work, and, perhaps most importantly, passion. Nonprofit work is not for the weak or faint of heart. It’s all-encompassing, incredibly challenging, and overwhelmingly rewarding. I humbly bow (with just the teeniest bit of envy that I didn’t think of the idea first as a fundraiser for one of the organizations I support) to the individual who started the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. It’s everything a great fundraiser should be; it’s raised both money and awareness about an important cause, all while spending very little money or effort. Kudos! I look forward to the day when your hard work pays off with a cure for this devastating disease.

I haven’t been nominated for the challenge yet, but I know my friends all too well (you know who you are), and I know it’s only a matter of time before it happens. And, while I’m not going to dump ice water on my head, I am going to make a donation to a worthy cause.

Recently, organizations like the West Michigan Refugee Education and Cultural Center suffered a loss of government funding as a result of resources being diverted to the current immigration crisis at the border (click here to learn more). The work this organization does in the area I grew up in is important to me and, so, in anticipation of being nominated to support a worthy cause, I will make a donation within the next month to the WMREC.

Yes, yes, I know that’s not how this whole thing works. But, as important a cause as ALS is, there are others nearer and dearer to my heart, such as Women for Women International and various other nonprofits in Eagle County, Colorado, where I reside. And, frankly, I don’t have much money, especially not at the moment and simply cannot afford to give to every good cause out there. So I choose to give to those I believe in the most. If you work in nonprofits, or volunteer for nonprofits, or give money to nonprofits, you get it.

Perhaps the most extraordinary thing about this movement, in my humble opinion at least, is that it’s gotten so many people, across so many different demographics talking about – excited about – and participating in philanthropy. Yes, it’s unconventional and sure, there are definitely those who have done it for the social media glory. But when was the last time your Facebook feed was filled with people doing something stupid for charity? Personally, I’ve never seen anything like it.

I will now challenge any of my friends, followers, connections, family members, and anyone who reads this post to simply give as well. Give your time, give your money, give your support in any way you can to a cause that’s close to your heart. If it’s ALS, then by all means, please dump a bucket of ice water on your head and make a donation to the cause. But it doesn’t have to be ALS, it can be breast cancer or orphans or education or endangered monkeys in the Amazon. Whatever it is, give to it. And don’t forget to give again in the future, after the buzz has died down and the social media posts forgotten. ALS will still need your support next year, and so will the monkeys in the Amazon and the refugees in Michigan.


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