everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted. - albert einstein

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(chart: where we donate vs diseases that kill us, via The truth about the Ice Bucket Challenge: Viral memes shouldn’t dictate our charitable giving - Vox)

For the record, I think the Ice Bucket Challenge is great.

Anything that motivates people to give - and to publicly talk about their giving, making it part of their online identities - helps to create a stronger culture of giving. I refuse to accept the argument that campaigns like this necessarily cannibalize other, “better,” giving; after all, while writing a check for $100 to the ALS Assn may compete with writing $100 checks to other orgs, it also competes with watching TV or online shopping or pretty much any other way we might spend our time or money.

Reaching folks who may not have donated otherwise is a good thing for every charity. But just as not every org can/should require an “Ice Bucket” moment (or whatever the most recent viral hit might be - remember Kony??) to be successful, not every potential donor requires clever gimmicks to motivate them to give. Ideally, some percentage of IBC donors will become more savvy and look at other factors next time - after all, the Challenge accomplished a lot of things, but cultivating repeat donors for ALS is probably not one of them.

So, for those of us looking for something beyond memes, this article is a great place to start.