Thursday, October 9, 2014

My ALS Bucket Challenge Post- Opportunities and Next Steps

I am sure that many of you have read at least a few blog posts on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. 
Many of you have participated, many of you made donations. Many people have commented on whether this kind of fundraising is good etc etc. I'm not going to get into that here-- just the facts as I see them so far... I made a donation, first to support the cause but also to find out what the response from the Association will be.

I am pleased to tell you that the online donation process was very simple and almost donor friendly. They even had a button to say I supported the ice bucket challenge and this is why I am giving. I received immediate email confirmation of my gift that served as a receipt. And then I waited.

Happily, on September 18, 2014 I received an email thanking me for my support. Here is a screenshot of the email:

Here is the link to the video:

Nice, sincere, a great first step.  Last week I received an email entitled "This is your #IceBucketChallenge donation at work‏"
Here is that email:

SO they've thanked me and told me the impact of my gift, kudos and good first steps... I was a bit disappointed to hear they weren't setting up an endowment with even some of the funds.

 So then I watched this video from the Chronicle of Philanthropy. 

I was really disappointed in Ms. Newhouse's views on endowments, on donor relations (especially with the antiquated notion of starting with major donors first) staffing (they don't have anyone in donor relations) and some other things within, I'll let you make up your own mind on it. 

Until then I will be checking my email to see how they keep donors involved. I would love to hear your thoughts on their donor relations, not whether the challenge was good or not, but what next steps would you advise them to do? How can we as the greater donor relations and fundraising community help them?



  1. Hi Lynne, thanks for the interesting post. I won't have the chance to watch the long Chronicle video until tonight at the earliest, but I thought I'd chime in that those of us in the healthcare development world often see a very different approach to endowments. Many donors and administrators in healthcare question the efficacy of endowments if we are intending to one day cure the disease. I am not saying I agree 100% or even 1% with this thought process, though it does present an interesting consideration that I think is not as present or necessary in higher ed. On the other hand, you could say that with government cuts in research funding continuing, our nation's medical researchers need the promise of an ongoing stream of support (such as that provided by endowments) more than ever.

  2. Interesting video. She admits to being new to the organization, and that surely isn't helping their overall messaging. She talks a lot about cultivating the donors who participated in the challenge and making another ask, but doesn't talk much about stewarding them in the meantime, or ensuring they are even around to ask again. I fear they may be scrambling a bit to hold on to those folks, and without the proper staffing and a stewardship plan, it will be difficult. I realize they are still trying to figure out their plan, but I hope that plan includes some thoughtful and purposeful stewardship, and someone who has the time and talents to put it into action.