It was late, almost midnight – years ago. My friend Michael called me after a long bike ride where he was praying for what was next in his life. He had recently lost his father. He had some major life changes happening and I knew he was ready for change himself. But, when he told me he was walking into work to quit the next morning – I knew he was serious and he knew he was on the right path. I’m so thankful for a friend who listens when God is telling him to do something crazy, because Mike has been changing the world ever since.
Mike’s story is amazing and inspiring. Check out this video on the release of his new book, The Ability To Endure.
Michael Chitwood heads up Team World Vision for the World Vision organization. Here is what Richard Stearns, president of World Vision US and author of Unfinished and The Hole in Our Gospel , had to say about Mike’s new book:
“Heartbreaking. Encouraging. Passionate. Look out. This book may bring you to tears. It may inspire you to run a marathon or change the world. Michael Chitwood has that effect on people, and this book will show you why.”
I didn’t want the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to come my way. But it did. Then I found this story. The story of the person with ALS who started it all. Warning, this video will wreck you.
I love this story of former Boston College captain Pete Frates, who has inspired the Ice Bucket Challenge. I did accept the ALS challenge and passed it on to a few close friends. But, I added a critical element I believe strongly in. I have a few friends who devote their lives to making sure people around the world have safe drinking water, so wasting a bucket of good water, even for a good cause, didn’t sit well with me. So, in addition to giving to ALSA.org I’ll be giving to TeamWorldVision and challenge you to do the same.
Not to devalue the cause, but the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is a marketing phenomenon and all marketing teams can pick up a few great points from the campaign that has brought in millions of dollars to the ALS organization for research to cure the disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”.
If you’re putting a viral marketing campaign together for fundraising or product awareness, take note of these elements that make the ALS campaign great. 1. Be Authentic. This campaign started from a heartfelt story for change. Give participants in your campaign a relevant and real connection to your cause. 2. Give a tangible challenge. Simply challenging someone to donate to ALSA.org isn’t enough for a killer campaign. Challenging someone to do something tangible, has a strong effect, and putting an 24 hour time limit on it drives it forward. 3. Empower people. Give permission for people to own your campaign. The ALS #IceBucketChallenge is a sensational success because not only does it asks for me to do something short and fun, but it also asks that I grow the event 3 fold by challenging 3 of my close friends. The peer pressure is incredible but it’s healthy here.
You won’t duplicate this campaign. Find your own voice and your own story to share. Authentic campaigns need to revolve around your story.
As a dad, sometimes you get it right and sometimes you don’t. The important part is that when your son is on a kids bouncy house that doubles as a water slide and he tells you to come and play with him… you do it. Here’s my son using me as a human sled.