Ice Bucket Donations Pour into ALS Association
Thanks to the viral popularity of the Ice Bucket Challenge, the ALS Association (ALSA) has received $107.4 million in Ice Bucket donations as of September 3, 2014, according to its website. To put this amount in context, ALSA raised about $15.2 million in total cash contributions during all of its fiscal year 2014 (from 2/1/13-1/31/14).
CharityWatch gives ALSA (the National Office) a B+ rating for spending 73% of its cash budget on program services and $25 to raise every $100 in cash contributions during its fiscal year ended January 31, 2014. ALSA's total cash budget in fiscal 2014 was about $20.9 million, over five times less than the amount of Ice Bucket donations it has received as of September 3, 2014. With this windfall in donations, ALSA is now faced with its own challenge of spending the funds wisely.
In response to how each Ice Bucket donation dollar will be allocated, ALSA states on its website (as of September 3, 2014) that it cannot provide a breakdown at this time, but describes that it is currently engaged in discussions regarding putting the money to work and that it will be able to enhance its strategic plan, reformulating and recasting strategies with input from stakeholders. Given the unexpected, incredible amount of contributions that ALSA has received this year, CharityWatch doesn't anticipate downgrading it in the short term for large asset reserves. Although ALSA notes its absolute commitment to transparency regarding its progress in funding projects and programs, CharityWatch will be monitoring ALSA to make sure that it has a reasonable plan or budget for spending the Ice Bucket windfall and is therefore still deserving of its high grade.