Ice Bucket Challenge Goes Viral
Nonprofit fundraising and awareness campaigns rarely go viral, but the Ice Bucket Challenge shattered our expectations when it broke through the frozen ceiling.
According to an ALS Association press release , the Ice Bucket Challenge raised over $100 million from about 3 million new donors ! Also of note, politicians, celebrities, sports teams, and even companies accepted the Ice Bucket Challenge and made contributions to the ALS Association. Having raised less than $3 million from the same period in 2013, this viral campaign represented a tremendous fundraising and public awareness campaign.
To the surprise of many, the ALS Association did not actively plan and implement this campaign. Instead, the campaign started accidentally when a man in Florida accepted an early Ice Bucket Challenge and designated his charitable gift to ALS. Within days someone with a strong social media network accepted the challenge, and he was the catalyst for the viral nature of the campaign.
In 2015, nonprofit organizations will better understand that creative, passionate supporters with large social media networks can raise awareness and money for them. Some of the best campaigns will be launched by supporters with social media savvy.
Police Brutality Against People of Color
Learning about the tragic deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice shocked the nation, but the shock turned to anger when police officers did not have to stand trial.
The senseless deaths and lack of justice led to a national conversation about police brutality, racism, and unequal treatment under the law. The conversation will continue into 2015 and beyond, and nonprofit organizations will play an important role.
Community-based organizations and nonprofit media will be pivotal in facilitating civil discourse and holding our society and law enforcement accountable for its actions. For example, the nonprofit newsroom ProPublica analyzed federal data to determine that police are 21 times more likely to shoot young African American men then young white men, and the mainstream media has often quoted their study. Another example is the ACLU of Missouri defending the civil rights of protesters and the media in Ferguson and publicly updating their work via the web. In addition to contributing to the dialogue in a meaningful way in 2015, these organizations will benefit from additional volunteer and financial support from those who care deeply about equal treatment for all.
Additionally, many foundations of all sizes will respond by shifting priorities and dollars to nonprofits successfully tackling this important issue.
Republicans Ride Landslide Into U.S. Senate
Republicans won 23 Senate races in 2014, giving the conservative party a strong majority in the U.S. Senate. Since the Republican party maintained control of the House of Representatives, the legislative branch will undoubtedly pass many conservative bills for the President to sign or veto.
Since winning the election, the Senate’s Republic Caucus has published seven “Our View” posts at its website, and each one attacks the Affordable Care Act. While the Republican controlled Congress will do its best to gut the Affordable Care Act, the party lacks sufficient votes to override a Presidential veto.The Republican agenda for 2015 does include some priorities that may actually impact nonprofit organizations, such as
Nonprofit charter schools will likely have greater access to funding and fewer regulatory barriers to starting, while greater state control of Federal grants will require that nonprofits be actively involved with state and local officials.
When lower taxes result in less revenue, legislators typically reduce spending on social programs. As a result, social service nonprofits will have less government funding to meet a growing need.
The repeal of EPA regulations will require progressive environmental groups to engage in community organizing on a state-by-state basis. While this will be much more costly for the organizations, a public repeal of regulations will also provide a battle-cry for fundraising and public awareness campaigns.
Supreme Court Agrees to Hear the Case of King v. Burwell
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case of King v. Burwell in 2015, and it may have far reaching consequences for clients of many nonprofit organizations.
The case challenges the legality of providing tax credits to those who enroll through the Federal health insurance exchanges. Since 36 states have opted to not implement their own exchanges, nearly 5 million people could become ineligible for assistance paying their health insurance premiums.
If the court rules that the subsidies are not legal, healthcare organizations will once again have patients who cannot afford necessary medical care. Additionally, the nonprofit organizations that have retooled to compete for insured patients will not receive additional government dollars to care for the newly uninsured.