Pass the hat and fill it up with ice

The current ALS Ice Bucket Challenge raises the make-fundraising-fun barre so high, will other charities be able to meet it?

The recent Ice Bucket Challenge on social media has become the latest craze. It’s a funny, nutty idea that has everyone dousing themselves with ice cold water in a variety of ways while they make a donation to ALS research.

After they do it, they challenge others to do the same. The internet is suddenly full of pictures and videos of individuals and groups doing this. The donation seems to be secondary to the fun, but be that as it may, almost $90 million has been raised so far since June.

I’d call that a pretty successful fundraising campaign.

But it makes me wonder if other charities with less glamourous campaigns are going to suffer. After all, there’s only so much money out there.

This is one of many event-based charity fundraisers. Cancer, Cystic Fibrosis, Health and Lung, Muscular Dystrophy, SPCA and hundreds of other worthwhile charities all have walks, runs, other functions to gather people and raise money.

Year after year I watch annual fundraisers like the Terry Fox Run attract less and less people. The Canadian Cancer Foundation is no less worthy a cause, but apparently it’s time they came up with a new idea.

I suppose that it’s “old fashioned” to expect people to donate to a cause based solely on its merit. Where there used to be a handful of national or international charities vying for your pocket change, now there are hundreds if not thousands. As science takes off, research into diseases is yielding exciting results into cures, support and even prevention nearly every day. But research isn’t cheap.

Donations given to reputable charities are always put to good use, and charities are grateful to receive them. If the ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) Association is a charity that you choose to donate to, then by all means, send them your money – and take part in this fundraiser.

But don’t do it just because all your friends are doing it – not if it means that the other charities you might give to go without this year because you’ve already spent your budget.