Peer Pressure For a Good Cause? Ed Button Has an Ice to Pick With the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

While the goal is commendable, Ed Button thinks the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is a form of online peer pressure.

While the goal is commendable, Ed Button thinks the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is a form of online peer pressure.

by Ed Button

For those of you who haven’t somehow been on the internet in the past two weeks or so, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is a campaign that seeks to raise funding to fight amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. It’s a condition that affects voluntary muscle movement, and eventually leads to death. The “Challenge”, as it were, is to either dump a bucket of ice water on your head, or donate money to the ALS Association. Then, you nominate other people to take the challenge.

It’s been amazingly effective: between July 29 and Aug. 23, the ALS Association received $62.5 million in donations, compared to just $2.4 million during the same time period last year.

However, I will not be participating in said challenge.

Now, before you grab your pitchforks and torches, let me state my case. I’m not trying to be a curmudgeon or anything. I just find it a bit…disingenuous (not the perfect word, but it’s the word I’m going with) that people are being peer pressured into donating to a cause they may not understand, or may not have known existed, or may not have the funding to donate to. It’s not giving from the heart.

Some people are also missing the point of this fundraiser: to raise funds. You are given the choice to either donate to the ALSA, or “pass the buck” by nominating others before you take an ice cold shower. Now, I’m sure more people have donated than not. The numbers obviously reflect that. But I have other charities that I love to support, and I don’t want to take funding away from them simply because someone on Facebook or Twitter tagged me.

If you donate to ALSA on a regular basis, this is not to sway you from donating. They’re a wonderful organization doing wonderful work. Keep supporting them, by all means. But they’re not my charity of choice.

So, if I’m nominated (which I find extremely odd that I haven’t been yet), I won’t be participating. Instead, I’ll be donating to my Extra Life campaign, which is a video game marathon I participated in last year, and will be doing again this year. I will be gaming and raising money to once again support the Children’s Miracle Network, and more specifically, St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Last year my goal was $500, and I raised over $800 to help kids in need. If you would like to donate to help me hit my $1000 goal this year, I’d be most appreciative.

But I’m not going to pressure you.


Ed Button is an award-winning broadcaster based out of West Plains, MO. You can find him on Twitter @edb87.

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