August 27, 2014
The success of the ALS Association's Ice Bucket Challenge, the social media phenomenon where individuals are nominated and have to douse themselves with ice-cold water, give to the charity or, ideally, do both, is inspiring a lot of conversation. The challenge has been successful in terms of both raising awareness for ALS – amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly called Lou Gehrig's Disease – and in generating donations as well. The ALS association has raised approximately $22.9 million in less than a month, according to CBS Boston, thanks to the viral nature of the challenge and its popularity on social networks. In the same time period in 2013, the ALS Association raised about $1.9 million.
The staggering increase in overall donations and of general awareness means it's difficult to criticize the campaign. There are reservations about participants choosing to douse themselves instead of donating, which is a choice that's condoned by the ALS Association. Of course, the nonprofit would prefer to increase contributions as well as awareness, but growing at least one of these two important resources is better than none.
So how can nonprofits create a campaign along the same lines? The Nonprofit Marketing Blog highlighted a few of the components that made the effort so successful. The social nature of the challenge, both in terms of sharing on Facebook and connecting with others is obviously important. The ability to challenge others ties into this. The novelty of the challenge has also played a big part, as well as the seasonally appropriate idea of cooling one's self with a bucket of ice water. The simplicity and consistency of the challenge also make it an easily spread concept. These are all qualities that can be incorporated into other nonprofits' efforts to raise funds and awareness. While a mimic campaign may not be as big a success as the Ice Bucket Challenge, using similar techniques will improve chances for greater success.
Throughout our membership in the Unemployment Savings Program, First Nonprofit understood our demands, community dynamics, and the importance of seamless services; that allowed us to serve our constituents better.
Because INCS advocates for the operating conditions that allow charter public schools to provide high quality public education, partnering with First Nonprofit was an easy decision. First Nonprofit’s unemployment programs provide our member schools two operating elements crucial to their ability to provide high quality public education: savings and budget certainty. Capable, committed teachers are the key to student success. By participating in the unemployment insurance savings plan, charter public schools gain peace of mind and are able to invest more money in their teachers.
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The Ensight Skills Center has enjoyed working with First Nonprofit for several years. We are enrolled in their Unemployment Savings Program and although we have not required a lot of intervention, there have been a few times. I know others have dealt with the same problem of unemployment fraud over the last year and in our case, a call to First Nonprofit (they actually answer their phones) cleared up the issue. They also sent us a letter to send to all our employees telling them what they needed to do to prevent this in the future and protect themselves. What a relief! Over the years if I have questions or concerns, they are happy to listen, advise and help if they can. Another BIG advantage of using First Nonprofit is that all the money that is paid into the Unemployment Savings Program lives on my balance sheet as an asset. The money continues to be Ensight’s not the governments. First Nonprofit has certainly given me peace of mind.