Success of ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Flows from Donors’ Strong Influence

Kattie Kristie dumps water on headBy now, you have probably not only heard of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, but have seen some of the videos people have shot. And maybe you have even gotten drenched yourself and/or donated to the cause.

With each bucket poured on a person’s head, he or she “calls out” others by name to follow their lead.

The idea is to raise awareness and money to fight Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a motor neuron disease that attacks the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement. Relatively rare, the disease is diagnosed in between 5,000 and 6,000 people annually (with about 30,000 people living with ALS currently). By comparison, cancer results in nearly 600,000 deaths annually in the U.S.

Because ALS affects a much smaller portion of the population, there has been less research conducted as it is less profitable for pharmaceutical companies seeking profits that come with larger customer blocs. But $80 million has been raised over the last four weeks (compared to $2.5 million over the same period last year), the momentum keeps building, and there’s no telling how high the total will get in the coming days and weeks.

It has been interesting to see who gets “called out” by whom: whether it’s Celebrity ‘A’ challenging Celebrities ‘B’,’ C’ and ‘D’ or people I know tagging mutual friends on Facebook. The viral nature of the movement, which has really taken the country by storm, shows that people are choosing wisely when they make these “call-outs.”

As leadership expert and prolific author John C. Maxwell has said:

“Leadership is influence.”

So if someone has no influence in my life—if I don’t respect them, or even know them—then I am much less likely to follow any lead they make. On the other hand, if they are someone I respect—such as my pastor, whose mother died of ALS a few years ago—then I am much more likely to give to the cause, as I did recently.

For many years, Maxwell has been a featured speaker at the Spring Leadership conferences held by World Wide Group, the Amway training-and-development organization with which I have been associated for years. For even longer, his books, like Developing the Leader Within You and Developing the Leaders Around You, have been on World Wide Group’s recommended reading list.

John C. Maxwell getting dunked with water by his grandchildren.

John C. Maxwell getting dunked with water by his grandchildren.

A few days ago, Maxwell called out Amway Founders Crown and World Wide Group founder Ron Puryear to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

Although I don’t know if Ron has taken the challenge himself, knowing the kind of mutual respect and friendship between those two men, I would not be surprised if he did—or at least made a donation.

(By the way, one of the criticisms of the entire movement is that people are not being given information on where they can make a donation. Here’s one ALS Association link for you to consider.)

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