See, I was initially approached to participate in the challenge. I declined. I elected not to participate because while asking around about what the challenge was for, who chose dumping a bucket of ice water over one's head as the way to meet the challenge, why ice water, what does ice water symbolize, and other questions that I hope people are asking themselves before they donate, I received zero response. I only got grief for questioning my participation.
A few weeks ago, I attended a conference for work: the CASE District I Conference in Boston (CASE stands for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education). Nancy Frates was one of the keynote speakers during the conference. She is the mother of Pete Frates, the gentleman whose story initially sparked the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Titled "Team Frate Train and Why the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Went Viral", Mrs. Frates' speech touched upon her son's story, the start of fundraising efforts, and the campaign that became Team Frate Train. Listening to the "conductor" directly, I felt ashamed that I didn't jump onboard the first time the call was announced.
I'd like to think of myself as an informed consumer and someone who wants to be actively involved in social change. To effectively do this, I absolutely have to know what I'm attaching my name to.
I approach philanthropy similar to that of the funders on the ABC show, Shark Tank. They're not necessarily participating in philanthropy yet the concept of the show mirrors the essence of it. They hear a story, see a demonstration (in most cases) and get to know the product and its creators prior to offering funding. I don't have the type of money that these sponsors have but I strive to offer my time, talent, and treasure (whether it's through the form of a monetary contribution, volunteering or serving on a board of directors for a nonprofit organization).