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The Ice Bucket Challenge

It all began with an ALS-diagnosed baseball player named Pete Frates. His athlete friends in Boston started the ice bucket challenge, in his honor. It soon spread to other athletes across the country. Entire teams, celebrities, executives, co-workers, friends, neighbors, family members and then YOU, were finally challenged, publicly, in tagged videos posted online.

You now had 24 hours to either make a $100 donation to the ALS Association, OR make a video of yourself getting doused with ice and water. You did both! Impressive. Once you made your donation, you set up your camera, picked out an outfit after hours of deliberation, filled a bucket with water and ice, and hit the record button. You were terrific. You nominated others in your circle, fluently adding a short blurb about ALS, and then you poured a bucket of ice and water over your head. That last part is where some of you had a few struggles, but most of you got it right. You then posted it online, tagging people you've challenged. I know that you did your part to keep the ball rolling, because there are over 3.1M tweets with the hashtag #icebucketchallenge, since July 24, 2014.

Well? Congratulations, because as of Saturday, August 23, the ALS Association has received $62.5 million in donations! Same time last year, they raised $2.4M, when nobody cared.

Here are my 5 takeaways from this challenge:

  • Keep it simple and elegant! Items required for this participation included:

  • a bucket of ice and water

  • a phone or a camera

  • an existing social media account

  • friends to call out

  • a hashtag

  • a clear call to action

  • Make it fun, entertaining, unique, and authentic. The person posting the video gets to look like a charitable, well-liked person who is a good sport. Win!

  • Leave out logos, corporate jargon, and a branded microsite where the upload process is long and cumbersome. Boo! Just use sites that people visit daily, like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

  • Promote posts that are getting traction, like the one below of Benedict Cumberbatch.

  • Finally, I intend to make friends with athletes. Their competitive nature can clearly help push a campaign to great viral heights!

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