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The Ice Bucket Challenge: A silly, but effective, method of fundraising

Be sure to drop just the ice on your head, and not the bucket as well. (Courtesy)

Pouring a bucket of ice water on your head and posting it on Facebook may not sound charitable. The actions that follow, however, can translate to millions.

The ALS Association has credited the viral "Ice Bucket Challenge" with helping them raise over $22.9 million since July 29. In comparison, the ALS Association raised $1.9 million during the same period last year.

"Our top priority right now is acknowledging all the gifts made by donors to The ALS Association," said Barbara Newhouse, President and CEO of The ALS Association, in a press release Tuesday.

"We want to be the best stewards of this incredible influx of support. To do that, we need to be strategic in our decision-making as to how the funds will be spent so that when people look back on this event in 10 and 20 years, the Ice Bucket Challenge will be seen as a real game-changer for ALS."

The Ice Bucket Challenge is a social media phenomenon that can be traced back to 2013. A person on Facebook or another social media site will challenge friends via video to pour a bucket of ice water on your head. The person challenged then has 24 hours to record a video of themselves getting drenched in ice water. They then post it online and challenge a handful of other friends to do the same.

Creativity is encouraged. Some of the more creative challenges include trucks of water dumped, ice baths, and a helicopter dropping glacier water on NHL Forward Paul Bissonnette.

There are multiple versions of the Ice Bucket Challenge, but the most popular version has been linked to raising money for the ALS Association. If a person completes the challenge within 24 hours, that person donates $10. If a person fails to complete the challenge, they donate $100.

Other versions let the person completing the challenge post online without donating. This version has been widely criticized as a form of slacktivisim and is usually not linked to the ALS Association.

Celebrities and public figures who have completed the challenge include Bill Gates, Lady Gaga, Steven Spielberg, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey, and many more.

From the ALS website: The ALS Association is the only national nonprofit organization fighting Lou Gehrig's Disease on every front. By leading the way in global research, providing assistance for people with ALS through a nationwide network of chapters, coordinating multidisciplinary care through Certified Treatment Centers of Excellence, and fostering government partnerships, the association builds hope and enhances quality of life while aggressively searching for new treatments and a cure. For more information about The ALS Association, visit their website at www.alsa.org.


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