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What Small Businesses Can Learn From The Ice Bucket Challenge

There was a time when many people saw that corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs was only for the large multinationals. But through time it is becoming apparent that more and more start-up’s and smaller companies are starting to see the opportunity, and value of a CSR program.


In 2014 if you use any form of social media or keep up-to-date with the news, without a doubt you would’ve heard about the ice bucket challenge. For several weeks and months, the ice bucket challenge took over Facebook by surprise. No one expected a health-care topic to generate the amount of buzz the ice bucket challenge did. The ALS Association was something that many had never heard of before, but through the challenge, the association reported a ten-fold increase in year-over-year donations.

So as a small business owner or entrepreneur, what can you take away from the ALS challenge that can benefit your business?

1. Think of something FUN!
Gone are the days of your Facebook friends being interested in knowing about what you’ve eaten or where you are. The Ice Bucket Challenge, showed that if something is fun and your friends see you doing something difference (crazy), the chances of them sharing, and wanting to find out more is much higher.


2. Think of something that brings the team closer together!
The first time I tried raising money for a charity, I was 9 and wanted to go and collect empty aluminium soft drink cans, and use the money from the cans to donate to charity. That was a #fail after half a day! I eventually got smarter! In year 11 I wanted to raise funds for an orphanage in South America, this time I learned that to reach my fundraising goal, I needed others to help me. So I told my friends I wanted to make sandwiches for people’s lunch, that was perfect. Within a few days to promoting my sandwich day, classmates, and friend’s of friends either offered a helping hand or some who worked at food outlets after school even convinced their bosses to donate leftover bread, and chicken for the ingredients. On the day, I had about 20+ different people all in one classroom helping me prepare sandwiches for my fundraiser… the end result, I raised $103 more than what I was hoping for.
Although being a long time ago, the sandwich day ended up being a fun day where all of use were able to do something that supported people in need, but more importantly many of us became friends after the fundraiser.

3. Look for the lean and keen!
Think of a charity that needs to be known, and where you can help them. From experience, smaller company CSR programs that work with smaller NFP’s, generally tend to work better. These NGO’s are usually less known but filled with a passionate team who are willing to go the extra mile to support your CSR initiatives. They also have a much less internal hierarchy structure, and you will find that things usually get approved a lot quicker compared to larger NFP’s.

So here’s to a successful CSR initiative for your next campaign!

Elisa Chan