In 2014, the global success of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge brought the concept of slacktivism to the centre of our attention. As millions poured water over their heads in the name of charity, opinion was divided on whether this was an empty gesture, with critics suggesting the campaign was all talk and no action. At the heart of the cynicism surrounding the Ice
Bucket Challenge was this question: do campaigns like this, where people are asked to take a small social action on behalf of a cause, reduce their propensity to donate?
Weeks later, as it emerged the Ice Bucket Challenge had raised over $100 million for a variety of causes, it was clear that this time, a social meme had had an enormous impact.
In this paper, we’ll explore whether the Ice Bucket Challenge was a one off,or if online awareness campaigns can translate to big giving. We’ve brought together the latest research into the impact of social media on giving, with fresh insight gleaned from 15 years’ worth of giving data from JustGiving,
the world’s fastest-growing social fundraising platform. Ultimately, we’ll address the major questions faced by non-profits worldwide: is slacktivism cannibalising giving? Is it a monster, or a myth?
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