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Currently our social media networks are very busy with the news of the ALS Ice Bucket challenge.
The challenge’s rule is very easy. After dumping ice water in his head, the participant has the right to challenge three people. When challenged the new participants have to choose between dumping Ice water over their heads (and repeating the same challenge) or donating 100$ to an ALS association.

The challenge went viral when Mark Zuckerberg and Bill gates took it. Later on, many celebrities like “Tom Cruise”, “David Beckham”, “Lady gaga”, “George W. Bush” and others followed them.

The challenge main idea is to spread awareness for ALS or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and help the ALS associations to get more funds. This challenged has raised a controversy between people who saw it as a great opportunity to help charities and other who saw it as a stupid challenge and a waste of time and water.

Personally, I did not take this challenge seriously the first time it crossed my Facebook page. However, after reading the newspapers and checking the numbers I found out that I was wrong!

Does this challenge raise money to ALS Association?

Some contrarians were sure that this challenge would not raise money for the charity because simply “people will be posting their videos on Facebook and YouTube without really donating”.
Although, this argument may seem valid, it is not.

ALS Association has announced a huge increase in donations “As of Thursday, August 21, The ALS Association has received $41.8 million in donations compared to $2.1 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 21). These donations have come from existing donors and 739,275 new donors to The Association.”  Also Project ALS, told the Washington Post that its donations were 50 times its normal donations .

Will this campaign take the funds and attention from other charities?

Unfortunately, this may be right. People are usually limited on the amount of money to be donated to charities. The huge increase on the ALS associations’ funds may mean a decrease on the funds of other charities.

However, this migration of funds may result of a positive competition between the different charities. The later will be motivated to develop their marketing and promotion techniques. The number of people donating may increase as well.

Are we wasting fresh water on a challenge while Africans are thirsty?

Absolutely, YES!

The campaign had used more than estimated 5 million gallons of water in the first three weeks. This number is small when compared to the amount of water we waste every day in regular bases. However, it is still a great loss.

Unless, we are holding the challenge in a garden that needs watering, or finding ways to capture water for reuse I suggest donating money without dumping water.

Although, we may find lots of criticism of this challenge, ALS Challenge in my opinion is a great way to push people toward donating, to spread awareness and to mix fun with helping others.