ALS Ice Water Challenge, Part 2 – The Celebrity Push Back

by admin on September 1, 2014

To continue the discussion regarding this summer’s fundraising fad of the Ice Water Challenge for ALS research…

Approximately 500 fans of actor Mike Rowe could not take his silent “No” as an acceptable response to their repeated challenges to do the Ice Water Challenge for ALS research.   The posted comments throughout his Facebook page are riddled with guilt manipulative demands that he either donate money or dump ice water over himself so Mike Rowe responded with a very clear,  cogent, logical explanation for why he will not be doing the Ice Water Challenge.

This is a clear example of the power of peer pressure via social media to do something one may not agree with and why it takes someone with a spine of tungsten to resist caving to the pack guilt manipulation.  Despite the declarations by many readers in the previous post on this subject that a polite and quiet refusal would be honored, Rowe felt compelled to explain his personal choice to not accept the challenges.  Had he not done so, the challenges would have continued with a substantial number of fans being utterly obtuse to the obvious clue that Rowe wasn’t interested in doing it.     That Rowe felt the need to cautiously respond to these clueless fans lest he look like a “douche bag” speaks to the level of coercion involved in the issuance of this challenge.

Mike Rowe says it better than I did or could so I’ll leave you to read it for yourself.

 

{ 88 comments… read them below or add one }

Harry September 1, 2014 at 1:12 am

These ice water challenges are ridiculous.

The sooner they go away, the better.

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crella September 1, 2014 at 4:21 am

What really irked me about their demands was the attitude (which I see often) that celebrities are expected do their fans’ bidding. They do a job, and then have lives like the rest of us. You see awful comments made about celebrities who declined to have their photos taken, or to provide an autograph here and there on the net. ‘You’d think they could at least….’ even if they people in question were interrupting someone’s meal.

Some of Mike’s fans went what seemed to be one step further, professing personal sadness and offense at his refusal to do the Challenge,more than one stating that as a loved one had ALS, they had counted on Mike to do it, they were hurt, disappointed, and they were thinking of un-following his FB page. While people like Mike Rowe may seem close to us and like friends due to all the TV appearances and social media presence, he is a stranger. He does a job, and doesn’t owe anyone anything, and neither he nor other actors/celebrities exist to be ordered around by their fans.

‘speaks to the level of coercion involved in the issuance of this challenge’

Have people’s relatives pressured them this much to do it? I thought the insistence in this case was the fact that Mike Rowe is such a visible individual. If people are pressuring each other to do it this much, then yes, it’s very wrong. In my case, my uncle (wonderful man!!) passed from it, and my sister challenged me. I don’t think my sister would have castigated me had I refused. There are too many people in the world who do not take ‘No’ for an answer, be it asking for rides, asking to have their kids looked after, help at work, church volunteering, and yes, charity events. That doesn’t make the events themselves bad…it’s poor manners on the part of those doing the hectoring.

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Vicki Cole September 1, 2014 at 5:48 pm

Crella – yes, it is happening with ordinary individuals as well. A friend of mine challenged several friends on Facebook and then got very huffy when none of them had responded within 24 hours. One of the friends had to remind him that not everyone checks Facebook every day, and that it didn’t make people evil if they declined the challenge.

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Ange September 1, 2014 at 11:15 pm

I got called some pretty horrible names for declining my challenge too. A ‘hater’, ‘lazy’, ‘uncaring’ among other things. It really made the last E-hell post about this stupid charity drive hit home.

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crella September 2, 2014 at 8:21 pm

That’s horrible! I had no idea!

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Ange September 3, 2014 at 1:18 am

I was surprised myself. It wasn’t any of my actual friends doing it, just people who watched the video where I was nominated and the subsequent comment thread. Thankfully the ‘block’ button sorted the issue.

kingsrings September 1, 2014 at 7:45 pm

I’ve got a friend whose father died from ALS last year. You wouldn’t believe the extreme guilt trip she’s shoving down the throat of all of us who don’t support the challenge. We’re all a bunch of insensitive, cold-hearted jerks who have no compassion in her eyes. Ugh.

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just4kicks September 2, 2014 at 7:14 am

Yeah, that’s not cool. As mentioned up thread, my dad has MS, but I would never guilt trip anyone into donating to research.

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Lexie September 1, 2014 at 4:25 am

Sadly, good things – in this case, wider awareness and fundraising for ALS – always have people who take it too far. And there are always fans who think actors ‘owe’ them something.

I do not think this diminishes the good the challenge has done – to the tune of 100 million, so far.

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JO September 1, 2014 at 4:46 pm

Like button!

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Mia September 1, 2014 at 5:02 am

A Dose of Buckley said it first..

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Justme September 1, 2014 at 5:22 am

I think most do it just to jump on the band wagon. I won’t let anyone try to shame me into donating to a charity that I know nothing about, I choose what is near and dear to me and I give with a happy heart. Before you give, do your research. How much of your donation is going to administrative fees, fundraising, and to the program its self?
I choose to give to St.Judes because I like what they stand for and what they do. I also choose to give and do for my area’s meals on wheels and my local women and children shelter.
Find something you are passionate about, don’t just give because someone called you out on facebook.

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just4kicks September 1, 2014 at 5:52 am

I read through the Facebook comments as well. A Ms. Kristen Dunston, whose father died from ALS, is quite perturbed with Mike Rowe’ s explanation. My own dear Dad was diagnosed with MS years ago. It’s very hard to watch a once vital loved one deteriorating right in front of your eyes, especially for my two teenaged son’s, who are very close to their Grandpa. As much as I would love to raise millions upon millions of dollars for the sake of finding a cure for all MS patients, I don’t condemn those who have other charities near and dear to their hearts and personal situations. I once royally pissed off a United Way rep who used to come into our office once a year to ask all employees to have a percentage of their paycheck donated directly to the United Way every week. Before she started her speech, she handed out NFL schedules to all as a little thank you. When she asked if there were any questions, I asked her if the NFL waived their copyright fee in order to print up cute little schedules. After a deer in headlights look, she asked me what that had to do with anything??? I replied that I was not allowing anyone to take a portion of my hard earned, meager paycheck every week to fund little cheesy thank you gifts, not those who needed it most. Yes, I was in my early twenties, and probably sounded like a jackass, but I stand by my statement. My office mate and friend who was sitting next to me slunk down in her chair and whispered to me “Oh. My. God! You’re SO embarrassing…..shut up!” :)

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Sarah September 1, 2014 at 5:40 pm

Just a quick note- motor neurone disease (ALS) and multiple sclerosis are two different conditions. (Still both awful but just wanted to clarify as I think there’s been a lot of confusion with this ice bucket challenge over what people are actually donating too!)

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Kimstu September 1, 2014 at 8:08 pm

@Sarah, I could be wrong but I don’t think @just4kicks was getting MS mixed up with ALS. She was just mentioning her father’s MS diagnosis as another example of how, when you have a loved one suffering from a particular illness, you understandably tend to regard that particular illness as The Single Most Important Cause in the Whole World.

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just4kicks September 2, 2014 at 7:04 am

Yes, Kimstu, you are correct, given a choice of many wonderful fund raising outfits, MS is my families charity of choice due to my Dad’s diagnosis. ALS and MS are very similar in nature. My dad went through an exhausting two year elimination process to determine what illness he had, and ALS was the first one they tested him for. They ruled that out after awhile and a few other things and finally diagnosed him with MS. ALS and MS are very similar, but in my understanding, ALS is almost always fatal, while MS is not necessarily so. Watching a loved suffer is heartbreaking, and my dad cannot do many of the things he used to.
Much love and many prayers to all who are suffering with any disease.

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Andre September 3, 2014 at 2:08 pm

Ahh yes, the United Way. Back when I was in college, I worked part time at a department store. They encouraged us to donate to the United Way, and gave everybody forms to fill out, and saying their goal was 100% participation by the employees. I looked at it as panhandling, basically, and threw my form away.

Well, not too long after that, they actually called my name over the loudspeaker, asking me to come to the human resources office. And then they proceeded to give me the third degree and try to strong-arm me into donating, and I simply told them that I’m not going to spend my hard-earned money just so a bunch of rich big-wigs can fly around in expensive corporate jets. IIRC, the United Way was under scrutiny at the time, for squandering their resources.

The human resources manager was not amused. But, in the end, I think I did donate a dollar, just to get her to shut up. Not a dollar per paycheck, but just a dollar, period.

I’m all for donating to a good cause here and there, but try and strong-arming me into it, and I tend to resist.

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just4kicks September 4, 2014 at 2:48 am

Amen.

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Mary September 1, 2014 at 7:01 am

His response was excellent!

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annies September 1, 2014 at 7:25 am

I totally agree. How did this stupid idea take off in the first place and why are people so gullible?

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The Elf September 2, 2014 at 10:56 am

Actually, I think the core idea is cute and fun. Seeing friends – and celebs – douse themselves is funny and makes me want to join in the insanity. It would be a great thing to do with friends. Or at least my friends, all of whom are crazy like me!

My problem is twofold:
1) the coercion with it has shot through the roof and is and unacceptable (the challenge aspect).
2) It’s ALS specific. I don’t oppose ALS research – not at all! – but my donation dollars typically go to a few select charities that I have researched thoroughly. The only time I donate outside those charities is when someone dies and it’s a donation in their honor.

If it were more general – post a video of yourself dumping a bucket of water on your head in the name of your favorite charity AND writing a check to your favorite charity, encouraging (but not calling out) others to do the same – then I think it would be a much better idea.

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Enna September 6, 2014 at 11:28 am

I agree. I think some people are donating to other charities, one diabetes one is saying thanks on fb to everyone who has donate money via the icebucket challenge. One FB firend said she was going to donate her money to another charity as she didn’t agree with some of the testing te charity did: she is entittled to that opinion.

Now I don’t like the pressure put on people – I hinted to my closet firends that people should ask a person privately first so giving them a choice to do it then nominating them publically. My firends took this hint and did ask me so I said I would do it. Then my sister nominates me on facebook. I tell her to nominate someone else. She said she didn’t see any proof on fb – stood my ground and said she should nominate someone else.

Ice bucket challenge and the no make selfie maybe daft things to do but they aren’t dangerous- like some of the drinking games that have appeared on social media where people have died or ended up seriously injured.

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Cat September 1, 2014 at 7:29 am

He said it very well. I have a good friend with MS. I have never met anyone with ALS.
If this was not a marketing campaign, the challenge would be to donate to any charity, not just a specific charity. There are so many horrible diseases out there that giving to only one does cost the others money they could use and now will not be receiving.

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danielle September 1, 2014 at 7:35 am

Mike Rowe has always been one of my favorites, even more so now.

Facebook is more and more turning into “shamebook”. “If you don’t post this on your page, everyone will know you don’t care about sick children, puppies, kitties,…..” ad infinitum.

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Phoenix September 2, 2014 at 2:24 am

Tumblr was kinda the same way too.

“Reblog if you support gay marriage/women’s rights/not being a jerk/not being an animal abuser/etc.”

First off, how did you know if the rebloggers were doing it to save face? That they’re really all these terrible people but they don’t want to get called out on it?

Second, actions speak louder than words. Actually taking a stance for gay marriage speaks volumes than just reblogging some picture that says, “Yeah, I support it.”

Luckily, a good portion of tumblr smarten up and stopped that stupid guilt-trip fad. If only facebook could do the same.

Back on the subject, how many of these people who do the ALS are ACTUALLY donating to the foundation? I mean, getting it out there is all well and good . . . but they actually need MONEY to help these people with their treatments, care, living arrangements, etc.

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The Elf September 2, 2014 at 10:59 am

Theoretically, it’s dump a bucket of water on your head OR donate $100. Granted, many are doing both. When you see that bucket splash down, it isn’t necessarily resulting in checks.

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crella September 3, 2014 at 11:30 am

I hate those ‘blackmail’ or ‘emotional heartstrings’ posts….’I know 99% of you won’t post this’, ‘Please post this important message (cancer, autism week), I bet most of you won’t’. They’re cloying and many have a nasty tone . ‘I bet you won’t’ is one of the poorest motivations I can think of for posting something, it doesn’t make me want to post…

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eeek September 1, 2014 at 7:39 am

Well said, Mike.

I’ve been challenged multiple times on FB (where I work, the folks regard it as something of a coup to force people in certain jobs – like mine – to do ridiculous things). I’ve ignored the challenges – my charity dollars and charity efforts go elsewhere, and at the moment, this small ALS research foundation doesn’t need my money as much as other organizations do. But, I’m a jerk because I’m not playing along.

Yesterday, DH and I arrived home to blinking lights on the answering machine (remember those?) It was a message from an elderly friend, from whom we have not heard in more than a year, who is befuddled by FB but who had an urgent message for us. She was calling to inform us that she had been challenged and that as she understands it she is supposed to challenge others, and was choosing us. This is, in part, because she wanted us to set her up with a FB account, record her doing the challenge, and post the video of doing it. And then we would do it, too. Her appeal ended with a demand that we respond to her phone call within 24 hours, or it all falls apart. She called twice since the first call (we were out for all of these calls) and in each call, sounds increasingly agitated, telling us that she can’t do her challenge without our help.

This is “charity”?

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hakayama September 1, 2014 at 10:54 am

If the elderly friend still has all her proverbial marbles about her, then perhaps you owe her an EXPLANATION as to why you don’t play, and why she should not either.
If she’s so far gone that she won’t buy it, then she’s a total loss. Pity.

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eeek September 3, 2014 at 6:54 am

I do not believe I owe a person an explanation when I decline to fulfill an unreasonable demand. This case called only for polite spines and the phrase “sorry; we cannot accommodate your request”. I believe that answer should suffice, and in my opinion it is more polite than offering a criticism of her choice via an unsolicited explanation of my choice.

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NostalgicGal September 1, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Let her find someone else to help her.

If it’ll ‘all fall apart’ if you don’t help then there isn’t enough there to step in and help. There’s a big difference in a facebook video doing this stunt versus ‘we are in the middle of a blizzard, there’s 300 poles down between our town and our electrical supply, and the water tower is dry and the pump is under a foot of ice’ and going to donate a portable generator and a few hours of chip ice to get water going again. The latter truly happened, and was a direct impact on many lives; the former, is… social media that few are really going to see. The world will barely note you did a bucket of ice; save your energy for the bigger things! ALS is truly something that needs a cure; but so do a lot of other things. Stand firm, if it is that important someone else can set up her FB account….

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crella September 2, 2014 at 12:48 am

The people who challenged her should set up her FB account!

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psyche September 1, 2014 at 8:08 am

I’m reminded of an episode of Frazier where the titular character and his brother go to a charity event that they’re too proud to admit they don’t know what it’s for, even after their father points this out to them. It isn’t until the end of the episode they find out, and they become embarrassed because it isn’t something they’d donate money to normally. Plus the two brothers had been competing with each other over how much they’d give to the charity throughout the entire episode.

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Miss-E September 1, 2014 at 9:11 am

He makes an excellent point and I agree wholeheartedly that attacking people who refuse the challenge is beyond rude.

I will only say this in response to his point that more money for ALS means less money elsewhere: once this ice bucket challenge dies down donations to ALS will drop drastically. This is probably the best year that they will ever have and this money will have to cover research for years and years.

I’m not really disagreeing with the point, I’m only saying that if anyone is thinking “well, they have plenty now”, keep in mind that this is probably the most they will ever get…and the challenge has already become old news. By the end of the month it won’t even be a thing anymore.

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Ashley Rush September 1, 2014 at 9:28 am

I think this is awesome. As someone who watched my Mother waste away for 4 years and then die from ALS, people have given me a world of shit for not participating in this ice bucket challenge. I have lost a “friend” over my refusal to accept her challenge. I am at a loss on why it seems to be a requirement that I participate in dumping ice water on myself, or donate money that I do not currently have. Is it because I am well-acquainted with this disease; does that prompt some sort of twisted obligation? I will not bend to the masses simply because they say that I need to. I do not understand why it takes a gimmick and the end result of being publicly recognized as a supposed activist for people to donate to charities. That aside, I recognize that this ice bucket challenge has done great things for ALS, and I can appreciate it in that regard.

Since this ice bucket challenge has taken off, I have also been called out to take pictures of my stomach and post them on social media, in support of Gastroschisis. Additionally, I have been challenged to film myself doing the chicken dance (or donate) to support Mitochondrial disease. I have remained silent to each challenge and will continue to do so.

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Phoebe161 September 1, 2014 at 9:33 am

Well said Mike Rowe.
Well said Crella.
True charity comes from the heart.

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Shoebox September 1, 2014 at 9:33 am

I would argue that Admin’s premise is flawed;Mike Rowe is hardly representative of the average person being asked to participate in anything. This isn’t someone coping with a few pushy friends, this is about a celebrity interacting with his many, many fans, who have great expectations that he must manage carefully lest his livelihood suffer. Celebrities vs. social media is a complex topic that’s worth a discussion, but not in the context of normal social interaction.

By contrast, the original post on this subject quoted a friend of Admin’s as simply saying no, in an inoffensive but firm way, and that was (at least implied to be) the end of it. Just another example of the irritating but common or garden-variety presumption routinely discussed on this site, by consensus not requiring any personal information be divulged, no specially-reinforced polite spine required. :)

All that said, yes, Rowe makes some very good points. Refusing to dump ice water over your head isn’t automatically a sign of moral failure, and to treat it as such is incredibly rude no matter who you’re accusing.

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JO September 1, 2014 at 4:52 pm

Perfectly stated! I agree 100%!

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Steve September 2, 2014 at 10:46 am

Look at the comments on his post. They are full of average people complaining about being bullied into doing the challenge. Along with a smattering of people who are still trying to do the bullying.

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Filiagape September 1, 2014 at 9:52 am

Miss-E: Will they recognize this and manage the money appropriately or will they blow their wad on one possibility in one year that does not pan out? I’m ambivalent about the whole thing and am able to argue persuasively in favor of both positions (except for the intimidation and criticisms lobbied at those for their choice TO DONATE AND TO NOT), but Mike Rowe’s point regarding lottery winners is a good one. And I know I have a set amount can I give for charity per year, and if $100 goes to ALS, that will definitely mean less will go to cancer, children’s charities, animal charities, mental health organizations, increasingly frequent, one-time weather disaster reliefs, etc. When guilt or shaming becomes THE marketing tools, no matter how good the cause, my heels dig in, my resistance rises, and I feel anger against the cause, and that certainly can’t be the goal, can it?

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Calli Arcale September 2, 2014 at 11:54 am

Yeah, that point gave me pause as well. The charity is built to handle a million a year; suddenly getting a hundred times that cannot happen without consequence. I am reminded of the appeals to send a postcard to a sick child which went viral before “going viral” was a word, and how that sick child is a) no longer sick b) no longer a child and c) absolutely still getting the damn postcards. The post office had to set up an office exclusively for his mail; it got that bad. I do get the impression the ALS ice bucket challenge has become a monster, completely out of control, and I wonder when, or even if, it will end.

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BarensMom September 1, 2014 at 9:57 am

Mike Rowe may have researched this particular ALS charity and found that the majority of the funds raised does not go to research, but to salaries and administration costs.

That being said, there’s also a drought in my state, so watching people dump big orange containers of much-needed water on their heads while my toilet goes unflushed and my plants die makes me go “huh?”

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crella September 2, 2014 at 12:53 am

That doesn’t seem to be the case. ‘Program costs’ was evidently confused as ‘overhead’ in the mail/message that’s going around now saying that the ALS Foundation doesn’t use their money well. ‘Program costs’ refers to giving people wheelchairs, community programs, etc, not salaries.

http://www.snopes.com/politics/business/als.asp

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JJ September 1, 2014 at 10:45 am

Very well said by Mike. People should be able to choose the charity they prefer and make the donations they want to the groups they personally choose. I don’t agree with this bullying so called “nomination” campaign where people lambaste those who don’t partake in the challenge and don’t donate for whatever reasons. Its no ones business what someone does with their money. If you get asked in the grocery store to donate or pass a donation booth in the street and decline to give no one judges you or rushes at you demanding to know why aren’t you supporting cancer treatment/aids/diabetes etc… Yet its okay to do this to people apparently especially celebrities because they won’t dump a stupid bucket of water on their heads and make a donation. I don’t agree with that lets attack them attitude of some of these aggressive ALS ice bucket challengers.

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Lady Anne September 1, 2014 at 10:46 am

My sister died of ALS and the rate of the condition among returning service personnel is twice that of the general population. The reason many neurologists believe causes this? A severe injury to the head. My sister tripped and hit her head on a curb.) While I certainly applaud donations to ALS, dumping ice water on your head seems counter-productive, at best.

Yes, this may be the best year for donations to from the public – many of whom have never heard of it – it is now considered a combat-related injury and the Government has put some shoulder to the wheel over this thing.

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just4kicks September 2, 2014 at 7:11 am

My husband saw something in the news last week about two fireman doing the challenge high up on the fire ladder. On the way down, they hit a power line and were electrocuted. In my opinion, although it’s a worthy cause, it’s getting out of hand with people trying to “one up” each other to make a splashy (pun intended) video.

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Crochet Addict September 1, 2014 at 11:13 am

My uncle has a disease similar to ALS (he has primary lateral sclerosis, which effects voluntary muscles). It’s not fatal; but it is very debilitating. He is no longer able to sit for more than a few minutes, walk more than a few feet, stand for more than a few minutes, etc. I love that people are donating and raising awareness for an orphan disease, but I dread being called out for this challenge. I believe that donating to a charity should be a personal decision, and I tend not to make my decisions public. I detest bragging. I also think, that if pressured, I would say some not nice things, perhaps a gentle reminder that my family has faced more serious challenges in the face of this illness than cold water.

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Amanda H. September 2, 2014 at 1:14 pm

I don’t dread being called out, partly because I believe my friends and family would be understanding if I were to explain why I won’t be donating to ALS research, and partly because I have good reasons not to.

My husband and I have limited funds to give to charity each year, and we have groups and organizations we want to give that to first. Should we short them this year because someone else challenged us to donate to ALS research? Not to mention that we have various extended family members with conditions that have associated charities. Do we forego those charities because someone else challenged us for this one?

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Comradde PhysioProffe September 1, 2014 at 11:58 am

I agree 100% with Rowe’s response. A number of years back, one of my fellow faculty members stood up in our department faculty to exhort us to give this year to the United Way as part of our institutional drive. He proceeded to state that only X number of our faculty had given last year, and that he considered this lack of charity to be shameful. I then stood up and said (paraphrasing here): “I resent your implication that any of us who didn’t donate to United Way are uncharitable. You have no idea what I or anyone else in this department donates in money and/or time to charities other than the United Way, and it is none of your damn business.”

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just4kicks September 2, 2014 at 7:20 am

What is it with the United Way?!? Most of the people I’ve met who work for/endorse them are rude and pushy, and as you mentioned, shaming to those who choose not to donate. Pissing me off and insulting my charitable habits is NOT the way to make me reach for my checkbook!

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rings90 September 2, 2014 at 2:47 pm

I feel that the United Way is a version of the Mafia for Non-Profit groups.

There are very few other organizations that allowed to come in to privately & publicly owned businesses & beg for money & get the accounting department of said businesses to set it up for them.

I refuse to give to them as it is a guilt trip. I’ve read were executives have been demoted because they didn’t give enough to get a UW pin.

I’ll give directly to the charities of my choosing & at the times I choose.

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Mary September 2, 2014 at 9:42 pm

I’m dreading this year’s campaign. I worked for a United Way funded agency over ten years ago and the pressure was on big time to donate. I just took another job with a different non profit after ten years of being a SAHM. Once again a UW funded agency. I’m hoping they aren’t as pushy as the last place.

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whatsanenigma September 4, 2014 at 8:03 am

The United Way is big at my workplace also. But there are two things that make me feel lucky about it, as compared to others in other workplaces such as yours.

The first thing is that the overall culture here is such that, while most people support the United Way as a whole, there is a noted minority of people who don’t support politically some of the causes UW supports, and so those who feel that way donate but to a specific cause within the group that that the UW money goes to. (I don’t want to get into a political discussion about what those disagreements are, of course, but I did want to point out that they exist here and are acknowledged and that’s how we deal with them, by just specifying which charity the donation goes to, with one or two people sometimes actively protesting to giving to UW at all but with most anti-UW people just quietly directing their donations.)

The other thing is that yes, we get a lot of solicitations for donations and various ways of encouraging this (any increase in how much you donate from last year will be matched by the company, for example) but the biggest push is for 100% return of the donation request cards. Everybody gets a card and a return envelope, and on the card you can request deduction from your paycheck of the donation, either weekly or one time, or you can enclose a check or credit card number, or just make a pledge to be honored later in a way of your choice-or you can check the box to say you aren’t donating anything. Various departments compete to see who can get closest to that 100% mark, and while we all get information about things such as how much more our department would have to donate to reach a certain milestone or whatever, the big focus is on envelope return, which I think is more than fair.

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HorseFreak September 1, 2014 at 1:32 pm

I think that something similar happens to regular people when it spreads into the workplace. My office was challenged by a non-profit we work with. When I refused to participate the peer pressure got pretty hard, and if I was in a lower position I would feel forced to join in or risk my future. Thankfully everyone forgot about it since only a couple people were actually enthusiastic.

I also got some blowback from my boss at another job when I declined to donate part of my meager salary to United Way.

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Steve September 1, 2014 at 5:47 pm

In many workplaces, the United Way is no better than the mafia.

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Calli Arcale September 2, 2014 at 11:58 am

I don’t think we should blame United Way for that. Blame instead the people in the office who decide to funnel all their competitive spirit into a United Way campaign, and who take it very personally. I’ve worked fora couple of companies that supported United Way, and seen campaigns run by different folks around the office, and the difference is pretty stark. My current office strives to make the whole thing fun, but keeps donations strictly confidential precisely to avoid any unpleasantness. And our single best fundraiser is candy boxes that sell treats for twenty-five cents less than the vending machines. ;-) That’s the way to do it, IMHO.

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NostalgicGal September 2, 2014 at 1:27 pm

Or the blood drives.

I have a massive and well deserved needle phobia. You have to catch me and sit on me just to get a blood sample. I have worked at places where I was literally rounded up by 3-4 ‘well meaning people’ to be herded to the blood drive. And almost physically drug. I am sorry but I can NOT do this and I will lose a major widget if you think you’re going to get me there. It will get ugly and physical. Yes I have had therapy and I am much better about it but. I admire and respect and salute that you can and do give blood, they always need donors. My blood type isn’t rare either. Please leave me alone.

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just4kicks September 3, 2014 at 4:48 am

Same with me. I am on a variety of prescription medications that make me ineligible to donate blood. I am also anemic, which makes donating difficult. I have encountered some very rude people at blood drives who say things like “Well! I hope your children never need a transfusion!”
Yeah, me too….

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NostalgicGal September 3, 2014 at 11:36 am

yes I’ve been typed three times for medical purposes; but I didn’t need it. If I did I’d be grateful to the one that did give so I could have. It still wouldn’t make me able to march up there and donate for another. Thank you to all those that can and do donate.

Lanes September 1, 2014 at 3:08 pm

My bosses have decided that the whole office (there’s only 7 of us) will do the Ice Bucket Challenge this Friday.

Thing is, I can’t do it for personal medical reasons which I’m not willing to share with my workmates.
So far I’ve gotten away with a flat-out “no”, and I’m sure I won’t have to do it, but how many other people are in my situation? The pressure to do this is ridiculous.

The concept is genius, until it reaches the “nomination” point. That’s where it loses it’s kudos.

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psyche September 1, 2014 at 3:14 pm

Re: Insane fans of celebrities, I am reminded of a concert video I once saw of a favorite band, which included interviews of the band members. In one, the lead singer admitted that while he was grateful for the fans, he complained that the fans could be quite insane, and he hated that, citing examples of people literally demanding the shirt off his back or one of the frontman’s trademark lip rings, and how people feel the need to treat him in over-the-top ways, simply because he was famous. “I haven’t changed, the people around me have! What the (expletive) is wrong with you people?!” was how he finished his rant.

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Vicki Cole September 1, 2014 at 5:45 pm

One of the most important things Mr. Rowe says – in a posting that is excellent throughout – is that for most people, there is only a finite amount they can donate to charity. All of us need to decide what causes we believe in, and where our money would be best spent. I know that I have several causes that I donate to on a monthly basis, because they’re ones that, as Mr. Rowe said, resonate with me. But I would never ask anyone else to donate to them, unless I truly felt they were interested. Yes, I participate in walk-a-thons and other fundraisers – but if someone says “No” when I ask him/her to sponsor me, I simply say “OK, no problem” and don’t harbor any bad feelings towards them. That’s what I see as the negative side of the Ice Bucket Challenge – that people are made to feel like “douchebags” or worse if they DON’T accept the challenge. You should NEVER be made to feel humiliated, or guilty, for saying “no” to something. This is where a polite spine comes in very handy.

(And as a side note: I did donate money to ALS as part of the challenge, but I have donated in the past as well, since I lost a dear friend to ALS many years ago.)

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Marozia September 1, 2014 at 6:30 pm

Here we are in Perth, Western Australia with water restrictions in Spring and nearing Summer and there’s these idiots wasting good water!!
Need I say more?

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A different Tracy September 2, 2014 at 8:50 am

Perhaps everyone who chooses to dump water over their heads should be encouraged to do it in the middle of a field that needs watering, or an animal’s water trough. ;-)

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Shawn September 2, 2014 at 9:06 am

I haven’t had anyone do the challenge on me, but if they did, I would let them know that my charity dollars go to prostate cancer research.

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JD September 2, 2014 at 10:15 am

I don’t have a problem with people who choose to do silly or difficult things to raise money for charity, but I have a big problem with people pushing others to do the same. For several years I was pushed to donate to the American Cancer Society and participate in their relay for life — almost bullied into it, really — and since my mom was a cancer survivor, I did the relay a few times, but this relay started to consume MONTHS of time with numerous fundraisers, and I finally said no more relays for me. I was almost hounded to death (by friends!) to join the relay again, but then a friend confided to me that the local March of Dimes walk had suffered a great loss of donations because it overlapped with the many ACS fundraisers… and I had a sudden ah-ha moment. My husband has Type I (juvenile) diabetes, as does a niece, and Type I had already killed my husband’s sister. I already have a cause that is important to me, and my efforts should be going there — diabetes research, which is totally ignored in this community. ALL diseases are terrible, and all deserve research and funding, but I refuse to be pushed into funding one simply because others say I should. My funds are limited, and I give to about six charitable organizations already. I’ll continue to give where I can, when I can, after thoughtful research and hard decision-making, but no person should be vilified for saying no sometimes.

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Lisa S. September 2, 2014 at 10:56 am

I live in California, and like other posters who live in a drought area, I am incensed at the waste of water during such a critical period. My 11 year-old niece has uploaded a video showing a HUGE bucket of water being poured over her and has challenged her friends and me. These little girls have no intention of donating money to charity; they just enjoy the thrill of challenging each other and enduring an icy shower.

I had to explain to her that a) I will NOT waste water so callously and b) she, her mother and her sister are my charity, because her mother (my little sis) made the mistake of marrying and divorcing a bum who does not pay any child support. I never allow anyone to demand that I support that cause or give money to this charity because they don’t know my financial responsibilities, not even an 11 year-old.

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Eve_Eire September 3, 2014 at 4:01 am

While I agree with your sentiment on the water (nobody has nominated me but I have bought the gift of a water filtration system for those who don’t have access to clean/safe water and if I’m nominated I will show them that as my charitable contribution) but I sincerely hope you didn’t actually tell your niece that she’s a charity because her dad is a bum.

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just4kicks September 3, 2014 at 5:20 am

You told an 11 year old girl she, her sister and her mom are your “charity”?

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Lisa S. September 3, 2014 at 10:08 am

Actually no, I didn’t tell her she’s my “charity,” I just wrote it like that thinking it would be more succinct for this site. What she does know is that her grandparents and I help with their bills because my sister really doesn’t make enough to live comfortably. And I explained to her that it was more important to me to be able to do things like help pay for her braces than give money to a charity I don’t know anything about.

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just4kicks September 4, 2014 at 2:51 am

My apologies for being quick to judge. Your family is lucky to have to you and your support. We are on our second set of braces, with the other two kids probably needing them soon, very expensive, but necessary.

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Kara September 2, 2014 at 11:01 am

I have a fixed amount of money that I donate to charities each year… and I also have a list of favorite charities (e.g. my local Humane Society, Disabled American Veterans, The Wounded Warrior Project, and Heifer International) that I donate to regularly. ALS is not one of them.

I have gotten a few ALS ice bucket challenges, and in each case I have responded that I would be happy to accept the challenge… but only if the challenger would match my donation to ALS with a donation to one of my favorite charities. So far I have had no takers, and I have not dumped any water over my head either.

Etiquette approved? I don’t know, but so far it has worked better for me then a flat out “no”.

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NostalgicGal September 3, 2014 at 11:46 am

[LIKE]<<<<< made my own button

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Harley Granny September 2, 2014 at 11:17 am

I guess I’m the only person on earth that has level headed good natured friends.

As this challege went around our social circle….some chose to do it and some chose not to. Nobody was called childish names or had to declare the challage “stupid”….which in turn, in my book, just as childish.

So 500 of his 10’s of thousands fans didn’t like that he said “no”. Big woop. He then bowed to peer pressure by answering to them.

Some might be tired of hearing or watching these challenges….I’m tired of listening to people whine about them. Its like the oposite of those thinking you’re only cool if you do…only in this case you’re only cool if you think it’s stupid.

Do it or don’t do it….watch or don’t watch. It shouldn’t matter. If it matters to your friends then you need new friends.

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crella September 3, 2014 at 11:40 am

Well, I think eventually he had to say *something* before the nastiness got totally out of hand. Answering them made his position very clear, it’s final and so now he has no need to continue answering negative comments about the issue. He had to do the same thing when he did a commercial for Walmart. Suddenly he had thousands of wacky/nasty posts, and more piling up by the hour. Sometimes you have to draw a line in the sand.

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Laura September 2, 2014 at 11:48 am

I have yet to be challenged. If I were, I would decline. My niece was challenged and posted a well worded response on Facebook explaining that she would not be doing the challenge, and would also be giving her donation to a Pancreatic Cancer charity instead.

At first, I thought the challenge was cute, but I’m kind of over it now. It’s taking the focus off of other deserving organizations.

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Cami September 2, 2014 at 12:41 pm

I want to note that Mr. Rowe’s point that charitable contributions are a zero sum game is true. I work for a non-profit dependent on donations. Our income in August was down 50% over the last 5 previous years. June and July were on track. It was after this ALS challenge came out that we saw a precipitous decline in donations.

So while it’s great that ALS is getting the money, it means that other charities that do good work will go without, which means their clients will go without.

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j. September 3, 2014 at 7:36 am

Also, as Mr. Rowe pointed out, the ALS foundation has just won the lottery – which, if you look at the lives of past lottery winners, isn’t always a good thing. It will be interesting to see, a few years on, if they have been able to deal wisely and appropriately with a sudden influx of money, followed by a return to the normal level of donations whenever everyone moves on to the next charity fad.

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ArtK September 2, 2014 at 2:51 pm

Mike Rowe just gained another fan.

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EchoGirl September 2, 2014 at 9:56 pm

I think a good way to look at this is that there are some people who are obnoxious/self-righteous/believe they or their way is better than everyone else, and those people will latch onto anything they can to behave this way about. It doesn’t make the bucket challenge necessarily bad, it means that some people have taken the bucket challenge and made it a situation where their way is right and anyone who doesn’t share their POV is wrong. I’ve seen people do this about everything from eating organic to their chosen religion to how other people feed their pets. That kind of person will always find something to be outraged about.

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Kimbubbley September 3, 2014 at 5:03 am

I was one of those wildly defending the challenge in the previous post and still like the concept, to be honest. But, since that first post, I’ve had more than a handful of people on my page re-post their videos along with comments like, “Come on, Ted, Bob, and Alice!! It’s been 36 hours and I’ve heard nothing from you. Do the challenge or show us the money!” Terrible!

While I agree with Harley Grandma that this speaks more to the people who would do such a thing than to the challenge, itself, the challenge has certainly opened up a new avenue for boorish behavior.

On the other hand, I know more today about both ALS and stem cell research than I did a month, ago so, that’s something.

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Elizabeth September 3, 2014 at 10:40 am

These ‘challenges’ have turned into online bullying.

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Ashley September 3, 2014 at 11:43 am

This ice bucket thing continues to both amuse and annoy me. It amuses me because lets face it, some of the videos are hilarious. The celebrity videos of it inevitably end up EVERYWHERE on sites that have auto play so even if I don’t plan on watching them originally, auto play kicks in and yada yada, there goes Benedict Cumberbatch getting doused and being his usual adorable British self. But then they annoy me because of situations like Mike Rowe feeling the need to defend himself for opting out. I can only imagine that there are other not famous people getting grief about not participating as well.

My husband and I have chosen not to participate. We’ve both been called out and flat out ignored it. We haven’t mentioned the challenge anywhere, we haven’t liked anyone’s videos, we’ve pretty much been pretending we live under a rock and that the challenge is not going on. Neither of us have any desire to dump ice water over our heads or feel forced into charity. Even if this was for a cause we felt very passionately about, we’d still avoid the challenge aspect of it simply because no one should ever feel forced into giving to charity. We’re both hoping it goes away soon.

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Moonlight September 3, 2014 at 1:38 pm

A few years back a celebrity declined on offer from a charity that grants requests from sick children. The celebrity said no. Next thing you know, one of the parents publizes the invitation and the response and the celebrity had to deal with substantial criticism for failing to respond “approriately”.

If you are not free to decline a donation, then it isn’t a donation. It’s extortion. But it’s not the person who demands the donation that enforces the extortion. It’s the rest of us who refuse to accept a polite “No” for an answer.

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Natgrl September 4, 2014 at 10:39 pm

I loved Mike’s response! The Ice bucket challenge was a brilliant marketing ploy for this charity. I think its great and I hope they do great things with the money. What i don’t like is people pressuring other people or publicly calling them when they don’t participate. Do that and…. we wont stay friends.

My husband was challenged, he chose not to dump water and instead posing a video stating that he chose to donate $100. (He did by the way). I then had a friend tell me she was going to challenge me. I said “why? We’ve already donated all we are going to as a family?” I told her i would not post a video. She should know better…that’s so not me. After 24 hours, she asked if i had done my video. I said “no” and she dropped it. Good decision.

The problem is not the challenge…its the boorish, pushy, downright rude people that wont take no for an answer. Those are the people that have spoiled what should be a fun, and awareness raising charity drive.

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Stacey Frith-Smith September 7, 2014 at 8:10 pm

This link might prove of some interest by way of follow-up on the Ice Bucket Challenge: talk about an idea gone terribly awry- http://www.wpxi.com/news/news/local/ohio-rally-planned-support-pranked-student/nhGct/. (Additional links are easily available with the original story).

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admin September 8, 2014 at 6:31 am

As a parent I would be horrified if my kid had been a perpetrator of this heinous prank. It would be a ringing indictment of my lack of having instilled values in my children that would have enabled them to resist peer pressure to do wrong against someone else.

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Wild Irish Rose September 9, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Excellent. This is precisely how I feel about charitable donations. I make them to the charities of MY choice, in the amounts I am comfortable giving, and I do it PRIVATELY.

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