Over the last few weeks we’ve seen videos of people screaming while getting soaked in the ice bucket challenge. From celebrities showering themselves in ice, to friends, family and strangers joining the trend.
People wanted to get their own version out there, nominating each other and spreading the word and raising funds for charities. it’s been a challenge that social media users couldn’t get enough of.
As this stunt proved to be popular with all age groups, demographics around the world, it managed to raise awareness about Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a progressive disease of the nervous system, and significant donations flowed from far and wide.
But how effective are such fads, from a longterm perspective?
Making new behaviour ‘stick’ takes effort that allows the change to become part of the everyday norm, and sometimes, gimmicks like the ice bucket challenge can act as a catalyst for behaviour change, however showering in ice alone may not deliver the needs of charities for the longterm, while others argue that such campaigns may do more harm than good.
The Giuardian ran an interesting article on the subject, you can click here to read more about it.
Or for an interesting insight from an economist’s point of view, you can click here to see what they make of the challenge.
In any case, it is vital to ensure that a viral campaign raises awareness about the disease, while also going beyond the one off donation into an ongoing commitment that converts this highly successful viral campaign into one that engenders positive, long-term behavioural change.
Finally, I am pleased to share with you some great tips and ideas from Forbes on how other charities could benefit, a personal favourite is the ‘no-selfie challenge', click here to read the article.
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Sandra Anani is passionate about sustainability, with over 19 years’ experience. She has dedicated her career to sustainable development and communications.