Making a splash

August 4, 2016

Word is out over the past week that the splashy ALS Ice Bucket Challenge of 2016 – the incredibly viral campaign we all wish we had thought of – has resulted in progress towards the organization’s goal of finding a cure for ALS.

Amidst all of the questions about whether this would actually have an impact, or whether donors would remain with the organization after the novelty wore off, the ALS Association steadily and strategically moved forward with a full year of strong, open communications designed to keep supporters close and intrigue those who had not yet donated.

als image

Yet its important to remember that when it comes to viral, social media-based campaigns, Kickstarter itself, on its own site, reports only a 35% success rate of fully funded projects. This means that more than half of the project attempts fail to get full funding. And of the projects that are funded, three quarters of them raise less than $10,000.

So while the odds are still decidedly against a repeat of this splash, three important lessons are clear:

  1. You’ve got to go big and all-out on multiple platforms including offline, real world, person-to-person efforts.
  2. The fundraising itself is just the start. True long-term success demands intense year-round efforts to maintain connections and retain support.
  3. “Going viral” is rare, tough, and extremely unpredictable. The ALS Association had no idea that their campaign would do what it did. Neither will you. These things can’t be forced.

Hearty congratulations goes out to the ALS Association for making the most of the incredible opportunity.