How the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Could Change Fundraising Forever

TIME

Never mind the ice bath; you could have just written the check.

Americans give more than $300 billion annually to charities. We’re a generous lot. Then again, there are a lot of hands out. More than a million charitable organizations are asking for those dollars, and a lot of these organizations are inefficient, or unsuccessful or both, even if they are well-meaning.

That’s what made the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge all the more eye-opening. The ALS Association was able to raise nearly $16 million from July 29 through August 18—an incredible figure, given that for all of 2012, the organization pulled in about $19 million. And it has to compete with fundraising walks, rides, swims and marathons for causes ranging from any number of diseases to fighting poverty to protecting the environment. The Ice Bucket Challenge became a virtual, and virtually frictionless, cost-free way to raise funds. Keep in mind…

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