Ice Bucket Challenge

The Ice Bucket Challenge has been a hugely successful fund raiser for ALS, or as we know it in the UK, Motor Neurone Disease. You can join in with donations by texting ICED55 followed by your donation amount (ie- ICED55 £5 ) to 70070. Donations have been pouring in (no pun intended!) and the ALS foundation has seen an increase in donations compared to the last year of over 3000% [1]

That’s not a typo. Three thousand percent.

So, what is it that makes the challenge and donation request so successful?

It’s easy to do

A bucket, some water, a smart device- in the UK these things are all pretty easy to get hold of and are likely owned already.


Shadenfreude is a German word that means “Happiness at the misfortune of others”. I don’t know about you, but the different reactions of people, and watching friends and celebrities’ putting themselves in a deliberately undignified position has been great. Who doesn’t want to see their boss brought down a peg for a bit of fun? It’s also a great opportunity to drop friends in it, which in turn perpetuates the chain, keeping it going further.

It’s a chance to be creative

As the challenge has gone on, the new and creative ways in which people have changed their approach to keep things fresh have been great. Patrick Stewart demonstrated just what a classy gent he is with an ice bucket delicately filling his whisky glass whilst he wrote a donation instead of being poured over him and Charlie Sheen through down the gauntlet to former co-stars with a huge personal donation. The variations have been as fun as the challenge itself.

It’s a good cause with a simple, strong message

Motor Neurone Disease is a progressive disease that attacks motor neurones, or nerves, in the brain and spinal cord. It means messages cannot reach muscles properly and can affect how you walk, talk, eat and drink and even how you breathe. There currently is no cure. Providing money for research is the best way we have to fight this and give people the treatments they need to make symptoms more manageable and even find a way to prevent or cure the disease.

It’s had it’s critics- mainly over potable water wastage (especially in California, which is currently experiencing drought conditions), the fact its drawn donations away from other important causes or some of the controversial methods of study, such as stem cell research. But it’s clear that those jumping on this particular bandwagon way outnumber those that don’t.


So what can Scouting do to emulate the success of this? How can we get out there and shout far and wide about the great stuff we do every single week, for thousands upon thousands of young people? I’m genuinely interested in looking at how we can take the lessons we can learn from this and use them to bring everyday adventure to a whole new set of young people.

Think you have the answer? Tweet me- @Scoutmandan – email me – or drop a post directly on my Facebook wall or on that of 1st Facebook Scouts.

[1] source-

$2.5m in 2013 vs $79.7m so far in 2014, as of 25 Aug 2014- a rise of 3188%


Dan is a Scouter in Sheffield and the very proud leader of Norfolk District Explorers. When not running the Explorers, he also runs the group website, is the Assistant GSL, County Brand Adviser, Exec Member and Young Leader Co-Ordinator. Somewhere in the middle of all that he finds time for a full time job, wife and daughter. Dan and Becki met through Scouting together and she is more understanding than most about the adventures and mud!

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