ALS got very lucky. One guy started an amazing movement that made it fun for people to donate to a charity, even if they had no idea what ALS actually was. As of August 25th the ice bucket challenge has raised almost $80MM.
As of Monday, August 25, The ALS Association has received $79.7 million in donations compared to $2.5 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 25). These donations have come from existing donors and 1.7 million new donors to The Association.
Yes, raising almost $80 MILLION is amazing but what’s even more staggering is they have garnered donations from 1.7 million new people. These people never knew about or had no desire to support the ALS Foundation until they could dump a bucket of ice water on their head. It may be wasting water but it’s a genius marketing tactic.
I love philanthropy and I am a huge supporter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America and any non-profit that saves animals. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough buckets of ice water to support every charity in need of funding.
However, there are enough buckets to support charities that use their dollars wisely. I highly recommend doing the research to make sure the charity you choose to support is highly rated by a third party evaluation party like Charity Navigator or Guidestar. Do they give the majority of their fundraising dollars to research, drug development, program activities, or family support? Or do they push those dollars into advertising, marketing, paychecks or lobbying?
I’m not saying that a charity isn’t worthy. They are all ultimately helping a great cause but if there is a cause you strongly advocate for, push that charity to use its funding wisely. For example, the ALS Foundation self reports that only 28% of its funding goes toward research. CharityWatch gave the ALS Foundation a B+ rating, which isn’t too bad. However, it could be better. And I know there are many of you that will start discussing how their CEO’s get paid way too much. Every CEO gets paid way too much so, in my opinion, if the percentage of dollars going toward admin is much lower than the dollars going toward research and program development, it’s a start.
It’s full list of top-rated charities can be found here. If your charity of choice isn’t on that list, maybe it’s time to push them to use their dollars more wisely.
In case you were wondering, the CCFA is an A-rated charity and uses their dollars wisely. I can say that with confidence considering I take a lot of medications that were researched and funded by the CCFA (some right here in Colorado).