Surviving the next Ice Bucket Challenge

Jennifer Newberg Ice Bucket PostYes, I accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Within 24 hours of being nominated by the spouse of a college roommate my two boys drenched me with ice water using all of the ice cubes in the house and I posted the humbling photos online.

During the Ice Bucket Challenge I learned so much about ALS and was really touched by the stories posted online, but I admit that as a fundraiser I was really wondering what was going on at the ALS offices. If this was going on at my organization how would we deal with the unexpected attention and gift volume? How would we manage the media and social media? And how would we follow it up? Thankfully, Jennifer Hjelle, Executive Director of The ALS Association MN/ND/SD Chapter provided answers to my unasked questions by sharing her experience “Surviving the Ice Bucket Challenge” with our AFP MN chapter.

Jennifer generously shared the behind the scenes details that as a fundraiser I wanted to know and I’ll be able to take her lessons with me in the hopes that someday my organization will receive a viral gift like the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Be on the same page – Early on in the Ice Bucket Challenge the ALS Association national and local offices established regular and frequent communication. Every day fundraising totals were shared so that all areas of the organization could communicate the same information.

Grow and nurture relationships with the media – Funnel all media requests through one person and take advantage of the positive attention by developing relationships with local media personalities. The ALS Association continues to have a larger media presence after the Challenge due to these relationships.

Bring extra help on board early – This rings extra true for me as I’ve always had development operations in my wheelhouse. It is tough for operations teams to catch up once they are behind so take the time to bring on extra help early.

Kuddos to Jennifer and her team for surviving! Like many others I’ll be watching The ALS Association closely to see how they follow this success and I’ll be ready with my bucket.

Submitted by: Jennifer W. Newberg Director of Philanthropy Services, Office of Philanthropy at Allina Health AFPMN Member Since 2013

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