The Ice Bucket Challenge Movement
In last week’s blog, I discussed the characteristics of movements. One person, a “lone nut,” typically initiates movements. It is the subsequent followers, who are embraced as equals, who really lend power to the movement.
If you have not yet watched the referenced TED Talk on movements, take a look.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was a movement the likes of which are rarely seen. I had the opportunity to hear about this from the inside over dinner last week with Lance Slaughter, chief chapter relations and development officer of the ALS Association. Together with Otis Fulton, Turnkey’s resident psychologist, we explored the idea of movements in the context of the Ice Bucket Challenge. What we found out was that the Ice Bucket Challenge met all the criteria of successful movements that Derek Silvers describes in his Ted Talk.
The Ice Bucket Challenge was started by one person—a family member of someone with ALS. That family member called out to and embraced others through the nomination process online. The important thing that the ALS Association did was to embrace the followers by celebrating them.
Lance, who has been with the ALS Association since 2007, said, “ALS Association’s role is to amplify the ALS community’s voice to acquire the concern, participation and support to the ALS cause from the other 290 million people who did not get challenged.” In short, the ALS Association celebrated the participants, facilitated their activity and got out of the way.
The Ice Bucket Challenge, according to Lance, lifted spirits and hopes and recaptured the imagination. He said, “Biggest impact of IBC? IBC can’t be undone. That so many people know about the ALS [Association] via the Ice Bucket Challenge can’t be undone.”
Katrina VanHuss is the CEO of Turnkey, a U.S.-based strategy and execution firm for nonprofit fundraising campaigns. Katrina has been instilling passion in volunteer fundraisers since 1989 when she founded the company. Turnkey’s clients include most of the top thirty U.S. peer-to-peer campaigns — Susan G. Komen, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the ALS Association, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, as well as some international organizations, like UNICEF.
Otis Fulton is a psychologist who joined Turnkey in 2013 as its consumer behavior expert. He works with clients to apply psychological principles to fundraising. He is a much-sought-after copywriter for nonprofit messaging. He has written campaigns for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, The March of Dimes, the USO and dozens of other organizations.
Now as a married couple, Katrina and Otis almost never stop talking about fundraising, volunteerism, and human decision-making – much to the chagrin of most dinner companions.
Katrina and Otis present regularly at clients’ national conferences, as well as at BBCon, NonProfit Pro P2P, Peer to Peer Forum, and others. They write a weekly column for NonProfit PRO and are the co-authors of the 2017 book, "Dollar Dash: The Behavioral Economics of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising." They live in Richmond, Virginia, USA.