The ice bucket challenge for ALS is one of those campaigns that had all the appearances of being grassroots and non-orchestrated. There wasn’t a big campaign to promote it. Opinion leaders (primarily families and current supporters of ALS) were asked to do this simple, whimsical act to raise some awareness and, maybe a few dollars. It didn’t seem that the money was even part of it — or was that just reverse psychology? By asking for action/behavior instead of a donation, doesn’t that suggest a donation is likely forthcoming — public commitment to a cause promotes financial commitment?
Other npos are busy looking for their own unique “challenge” at this point. The question is will it be successful or will others see it as a copycat approach with no imagination and callously looking for money. The only way it could be successful is if it is truly grassroots, wholly unique and totally connected to the cause. The WSJ reports that the American Association for Suicide Prevention is promoting a “pie in the face” a la Mrs. Doubtfire in honor of the late Robin Williams. It might work in that it has a timely connection, a well-known movie scene and such but the tools are not as handy nor as harmless (unless you’ve seen the Ice Bucket “Fails” that may have caused some people damage to their bodies if not their egos!)
The Ice Bucket Challenge hasn’t really run its course yet so anything similar will have lessor appeal — which isn’t a reason not to do it. But perhaps the core concept — asking people to exhibit a commitment behavior BEFORE committing to donating money is the key for the next great idea.