Ruthellen Rubin
& Associates

Consulting for Nonprofits and Philanthropies


nyuLearn more about graduate programs
in Philanthropy and Fundraising at
New York University.
Email me if you
have any questions.

What's New

Professional Development

We offer the expertise, resources and personalized attention to help your nonprofit organization realize its full potential. Our team also works with philanthropies to help build strong partnerships.

FUNDRAISING STRATEGIES | BOARD DEVELOPMENT | COLLABORATION | TRANSITION

The Nonprofit Blog

1 comment - Last on 08/20/2014

Making Fundraising History – The IBC for ALS

Without a doubt, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge will join the March of Dimes campaign, Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential campaign and the 2010 Haiti earthquake mobile giving campaign as game-changers in demonstrating the power of grassroots fundraising.

The March of Dimes was launched in 1938, by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, to find a cure for polio.  The medium was radio.  The impetus was a number of Hollywood celebrities and a popular U.S. President who advocated for an end to this dreaded disease.  The tools were collection boxes and cards where one inserted dimes.  Soon 3,100 local chapters were formed to spearhead a tremendous grassroots effort to collect dimes (with FDR’s face) at movie theaters, at schools, in little cans that popped up everywhere.  Ordinary people were asked to contribute, since polio affected everyone.  The millions raised from “collecting dimes” not only purchased iron lungs and lab equipment but directly funded doctors and scientists who researched and found the cure to polio. 

In 2008, 3 million people made 6.5 million donations online, totaling half a billion dollars, to the Obama Presidential campaign.  The medium was email and early social networking.  The impetus was the promise of “change” promoted via well-crafted emails.  The tool was the recently streamlined online giving platform.  Cutting edge, yet inexpensive online technology made it possible to not only collect donations, but also to respond back and carefully steward the donors, thereby building personal relationships with donors – at all levels.

In the week following the 2010 earthquake that ravaged Haiti, the Red Cross raised over $100 million, in large part via $10 donations.  The medium was ads to “text to donate” on TV and numerous online websites.  The impetus was broadcasts of unspeakable devastation on all news media.  The tool was the cellphone and the widespread use of text messages. Cell phones gave people of all ages and socio-economic brackets the opportunity to “do something” and feel as though they were able to help.  And indeed, they did.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a terminal disease that affects two in 100,000 people in the US.  It is relatively rare and many Americans don’t know about it – unless you know someone who is stricken by this degenerative disease that comes with an average life expectancy of two to five years.  Last month, Pete Frates, a 29 year-old athlete from Boston who has ALS, decided to “do something”, promise “change” and find a cure for his dreaded disease.  Frates found a way to get everyone’s attention, as we all know, by asking ordinary people to dump a bucket of ice water over their heads OR make a $100 donation to ALS research AND challenge some friends to do the same.  The result – as of today is that $15.6 million has been raised in the last three weeks as compared to $1.8 million during the same period last year.  Yes – people are dumping the ice AND making donations. 

The medium is Facebook, for the most part, where over 1.2 million video challenges have been made.  The impetus is Facebook where we can demonstrate to our friends that we are willing to be part of this deluge.  The tool is Facebook along with the availability of the online giving page at www.alsa.org where we can easily complete the second part of the challenge.  Thank you, Mark Zuckerberg.

We have read a few words from critics who claim that the Ice Bucket Challenge is slacktivistic because people are spending more money on bags of ice than they are giving to ALS (not true) or the people making the videos don’t even know what ALS is (they do now).  In fact, the Ice Bucket Challenge is fundraising at its best.  My congratulations to Pete Frates who has created a campaign that meets five of the most basic rules of fundraising:

  1.  Your solicitor should be someone to whom it is impossible to say no
  2. Give your donor choices
  3. The “ask” is framed as an opportunity for your donor to feel good
  4. Remember that fundraising is not about your organization, it’s about your donor
  5. Have a website that demonstrates the reliability of your cause - www.alsa.org

This blog is dedicated to my dear friend, Peter Klein, who died on March 20, 2014, after a valiant battle with ALS.  

Add a Comment

Fantastic blog post and right on the money! Pardon the pun because it's not about the $ but about the donor, as you said.

It's also fascinating what goes viral and what doesn't and when. I believe it is a combination of all the points you made and a little luck and great timing. We should all strive to not become development robots and remember to innovate.

Bravo. Thank you!

T


Sign up to receive new blogs by email.


Print this Page
Send To A Friend

Share This


1 comment - Last on 08/20/2014

Making Fundraising History – The IBC for ALS

 Read more...
 

Add a Comment

Fantastic blog post and right on the money! Pardon the pun because it's not about the $ but about the donor, as you said.

It's also fascinating what goes viral and what doesn't and when. I believe it is a combination of all the points you made and a little luck and great timing. We should all strive to not become development robots and remember to innovate.

Bravo. Thank you!

T



Archive By Date

2014
- November (1)
- August (1)
- July (1)
- April (1)
- March (1)
- February (1)
- January (1)

2013
- December (1)
- November (3)
- October (2)
- May (1)

2012
- February (2)
- January (1)

2011
- September (1)
- July (1)
- June (1)
- May (1)
- March (2)
- January (1)

2010
- November (2)
- October (1)
- September (1)
- August (1)
- July (1)
- June (1)
- May (1)
- April (2)
- March (1)
- February (2)
- January (4)

2009
- December (1)
- November (2)
- October (3)
- September (1)
- August (2)
- July (3)
- June (3)
- May (2)
- April (2)
- March (3)
- February (3)
- January (5)

2008
- December (3)