In the few weeks since July 29, the ALS Association has gotten more than $13 million in donations. Over the same period last year, that figure was around $1.7 million, the New York Times reports. The big difference, of course, is the "Ice Bucket Challenge," which calls on people to donate $100 to ALS or dump a bucket of freezing cold water on their heads. Some 1.2 million people have posted videos of themselves doing so on Facebook this summer, the Times reports; many of those who pour the water also donate.
The challenge was tied to other causes before 29-year-old ALS patient Peter Frates, who has lost the ability to speak, nodded along to Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby" in an online video and called on friends to take the challenge. "Did we ever imagine the level of awareness or the money that is coming in? In our dreams we did," says Frates' mother. But some have questioned the fundraising method, Salon notes. It "seems to be suggesting that being cold, wet, and uncomfortable is preferable" to donating money to fight ALS, notes Jacob Davidson in Time. An economics professor tells Salon that the challenge may be effective "in the short run," but he fears fatigue: "Once you’ve gotten a hundred emails asking for money—or to pour ice on your head—you’re going to get tired of that." (Read more ice bucket challenge stories.)