After the Ice Bucket: How the ALS Association Is Engaging Its New Supporters

Stay out of the spotlight.

That’s the mantra that the ALS Association must keep repeating if it is going to successfully build on last year’s Ice Bucket Challenge, according to Lance Slaughter, the organization’s chief chapter relations and development officer

Slaughter, a central player in crafting the ALS Association’s engagement efforts, attributes the group’s success so far to its ability to put the focus on its mission, rather than itself.

Instead of trying to claim ownership of the Ice Bucket Challenge last summer, the ALS Association saw itself instead as a vehicle for helping to tell the story about ALS and the effort to find effective treatments. It championed the efforts of the people who started the campaign and provided potential supporters with tools that helped them understand its work. But it was careful not to put itself ahead of the people it helps.

As a result of the Ice Bucket Challenge, more than 2.5 million new donors contributed roughly $115-million to the ALS Association — more than half of the $220-million raised worldwide through the challenge.

While that money is significant, Slaughter said in an interview with the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum that his organization’s work is just beginning. It now has an opportunity to engage directly with those new donors to help them continue to work on behalf of fighting the disease.

But it can only do so if it continues to put its mission front and center in all of its communications and outreach.

“The Ice Bucket Challenge started not because the ALS Association engaged in a conversation with the general public. People living with ALS engaged in a conversation with the general public and asked them to pay attention and become concerned with the disease they are living with,” Slaughter said in the interview. “What we need to do is continue to enable that conversation, ensuring that people with ALS are front and center in this dialogue and give them a platform to speak to the general public to elicit concern and engagement.”

— Peter Panepento

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