How to Do the Ice Bucket Challenge Right

Be skillful beyond the viral hype.

Aug 26, 2014 at 5:15PM

Ice Bucket

Yahoo! staff take part in the ice bucket challenge. Credit: Flickr user tenz1225.

During these dog days of summer, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has created a sensation on social media, attracting celebrities, politicians, sports figures, and even detractors bent on generating their own buzz. I'm not a spoilsport: I've enjoyed the comic video bloopers and the delight of seeing glamorous people drenched alongside your average Josephine. Even the "challenge" part makes for an amusing game of digital tag.

And it has been an enormous success for the ALS Association. On Friday, the Association reported $53.3 million in donations resulting from the ice bucket challenge. Who could deny the sense of hope this great windfall brings for the sufferers of ALS and their families? And public consciousness of the disease has certainly skyrocketed this summer. Still, that is serious money, and as a donor, you should be thoughtful in your charitable giving and go beyond getting swept up in a social-media trend.

As a donor, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you concerned about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis? Do you know a family that has been affected by ALS? Have you been moved by stories of ALS patients?
  • How much do you know about the ALS Association? You might research it in order to understand how it combats ALS, who leads and manages the organization, and how it measures its own effectiveness.
  • The ALS Association fights the disease primarily through scientific research. Do you know enough about ALS to understand the group's research initiatives? You don't have to be a science wonk: The organization should provide you with enough information in layperson's language to know what you're supporting.
  • How will the ALS Association use this enormous influx of resources? The organization's IRS 990 form, which you can find on its website, shows that in 2013 the organization had income of nearly $25 million. Imagine seeing your organizational budget triple in a number of months. Would you be ready for that? Is the ALS Association ready?
  • What will the ALS Association do in the future, once this media sensation has faded? If it expands its infrastructure and programs, how does it plan to sustain its giving levels?
  • Is a gift to the ALS Association part of your plan for charitable giving? Does it fall into one of your priority categories? Do you have a category for giving to opportunities that come up during the year?

I don't want to pour ice water on anyone's fun, especially when it supports a worthy cause, but it's important that you consider these sorts of questions before you make a donation. As a donor, you're investing in that organization and its mission. You can best support your cause of choice if you give in a thoughtful and skillful way. By all means, participate in the ice bucket challenge. Just be informed about your philanthropy before you go drenching yourself.

How to get even more income during retirement
Social Security plays a key role in your financial security, but it’s not the only way to boost your retirement income. In our brand-new free report, our retirement experts give their insight on a simple strategy to take advantage of a little-known IRS rule that can help ensure a more comfortable retirement for you and your family. Click here to get your copy today.

Fool contributor Mark Ewert is as serious about charitable giving as you are about investing, so he wants to help Fool readers to be skillful givers. You can purchase his new book, The Generosity Path: Finding the Richness in Giving, through his website or at your local bookstore.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

©1995-2014 The Motley Fool. All rights reserved. | Privacy/Legal Information