How to Learn From the Ice Bucket Challenge and Make Social Media Work for Your Cause
The astonishing success of the Ice Bucket Challenge (#icebucketchallenge) is clearly rocking the nonprofit world. On Aug. 26, the ALS Association reported raising $88.5 million from existing donors and 1.9 million new donors. Amazing.
Who could have predicted that a social-media phenomenon could have swept the country so quickly and yielded such bounty? (Probably my millennial friends, that's who!)
Your board and executive leaders just might be looking to you and your team to pull off your own ice bucket challenge.
So let's turn this into a teachable moment and help everyone understand how social media actually works. What makes social media successful — or not?
What made the Ice Bucket Challenge so successful?
There were a few key factors of the challenge that all fell together perfectly to give it zing, appeal, momentum and energy.
1. It was funny and playful, even goofy
Ask your leaders: Are we willing to be playful and goofy? You need to seriously think about this question! I have seen many a cool and quirky idea get watered down by nervous, conservative leaders.
We know for a fact that whacky and goofy fundraisers work. Check out how a small symphony orchestra created a hilarious and successful Facebook campaign!
Takeaway: If you want to break out on social media, be willing to play around with surprise, delight and even goofiness.
2. Young people cooked it up
OK, here's a toast to the young folks! Generally younger people are more creative — and comfortable — on the social platforms than us boomers.
The young folks understand social media. As far as I can see, they can nail the tone and the offbeat playfulness that makes something catch on.
Takeaway: Are you willing to empower some younger people to develop offbeat ideas for you? And are you wiling to let them run with it? Or are you going to want to water it down?