Can Any Challenge-Style Campaign Ever Outdo the Ice Bucket Challenge?

No, but that doesn't matter. You can organize one anyway.

Did you know that there’s an ongoing campaign to raise awareness about Lyme Disease? The bacterial illness that is known to copy the symptoms of diseases like ALS and Parkinson’s is difficult to diagnose but can cause severe medical issues including joint pain and problems with major organs.

Though common, the group Lyme Disease Challenge says, there’s much less funding for research than needed. So the group has taken matters into its own hands, launching the Lyme Disease Challenge in March and asking people to eat a lime for the camera, share it online and then donate $10.

So far, celebrities like Dr. Oz, Ad Rock from The Beastie Boys, William Shatner and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Yolanda Foster and her husband, star producer David Foster have taken the challenge. Their IG post is below with the caption:

❤️It takes a village, please pass it on……..#WeMustFindACure #LymeDiseaseChallenge#TakeABiteOutOfLyme I challenge @Lisavanderpump@kylerichards18 @lisarinna @eileendavidson@brandiglanville2 @kimrichards11 @bravoandy @dr_Oz

yolanda foster1

But a nonprofit organization executing a challenge-style campaign can’t help but be compared to last year’s Ice Bucket Challenge. We don’t have the numbers at our fingertips, but this campaign is easily one of the most successful in philanthropy history. It raised awareness about the illness, millions of dollars, and had everyone from Bill Gates to Pamela Anderson participating.

The key is to stay in your own lane. Not every campaign is going to be a juggernaut. The reason why some things stand out is because they are “the first.” Now we’ve gotten to the point that more modest results should be expected from these sorts of efforts. And that’s OK.

“We are very pleased with the level of participation thus far and the continued momentum,” said Melissa Bell, the organizer for the Lyme Disease Challenge. She offered a long list of notable names that have done the challenge and a link to some media hits to prove the point.

While she didn’t offer too many more details about the campaign (she sent over more detail about the lack of attention paid to Lyme Disease versus other illnesses, which can be found on the challenge website), her satisfaction with the campaign is warranted. When something takes off so spectacularly, there’s going to be other initiatives like it.

Getting some traction and the opportunity to talk about the issue you’re looking to address is a PR win, even if it doesn’t rise to the level of an Ice Bucket Challenge.

Bell’s group is looking to raise funds through the International Lyme & Associated Diseases Society to help with doctor training to diagnose the disease. And the campaign is ongoing. So you see Dr. Oz talked about the challenge more than a month after it officially launched, giving the campaign lots of legs.

Launching a campaign in the shadow of a highly successful one is a good use of time and resources if your goals are reasonable and your campaign well organized and marketed. Giving people the chance to snap a selfie and do a little good is never a waste of time.