Steal this right now

I was a lot happier for The ALS Association’s Ice Bucket Challenge success before I actually felt that ice water hit my own head.

Holeee crap! That was reaaaaaalllllly cold.

No more afternoon energy slump over here.

The Ice Bucket Challenge is no longer “bucket size.”

It’s a bona fide “glacier size” campaign.


It’s raised $42 million as of this writing, with $8.6 million of that coming in last Tuesday alone. Facebook reports 28 million people have posted, commented, or Liked a post related to the ice bucket challenge.


All kidding aside, I am overjoyed and thrilled that patients and families suffering from ALS are feeling the love and support of millions of people.

About 30,000 people are currently diagnosed with ALS, and it will kill every one them in three to five years. ALS doesn’t get the investment in research and treatment that cancer, heart disease, and other health challenges get because the number of people affected are so much lower than those other diseases. Who knows, perhaps we will see a breakthrough in ALS treatment funded with this financial windfall.

I love that this campaign has shown the power of social media to raise awareness and especially raise money.

Steal this right now

You may or may not be able to capture this kind of lightning in a bottle yourself.

You can steal the same brilliant psychological triggers for your next email appeal, or your next campaign, and watch your response rates jump.

No, your next campaign isn’t going to bring in $41 million, but if you bump your results by even 5%, it’s worth trying these proven tips:

  • Tell an authentic story of ONE person with feelings and emotions that we can relate to 30,000 people have ALS in America, but this challenge ignited with the story of one athlete, Boston College baseball captain Pete Frates– and we listened
  • Give your donors a choiceice or donation–it turns out that most people choose to do both ice *and* a donation
  • Create urgency24 hours to act
  • Most important, use the same psychological triggers that the #IceBucketChallenge leverages: give your donors a clear opportunity to reinforce their own self-identities as altruistic, adventurous, part of the “in” crowd, or whatever your donors want to feel

Here’s a secret: this email and campaign checklist doesn’t just apply to fundraising emails.

It works for sales campaigns too.

Try it.

I challenge *you* to steal these tips.

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