Over 145 charities receive donations from #icebucketchallenge through JustGiving

01 Sep 2014 News

Over 145 individual charities have benefited from donations made as a result of the ice bucket challenge, while American charity the ALS Association has tried to trademark the term.

Over 145 individual charities have benefited from donations made as a result of the ice bucket challenge, while American charity the ALS Association has tried to trademark the term.

A blog by JustGiving’s head of insight, Elizabeth Kessick, has revealed that 540,000 donations have been made on the online giving platform through the ice bucket challenge hashtag to over 145 different charities, which amounted to £2.8m of donations as of Friday.

This figure has continued to rise over the weekend, with the Motor Neurone Disease Association having raised £3.76m through 728,650 donations, according to its JustGiving page.

Kessick also revealed that most people make donations of around £5 to their choice of charity for the challenge, and that people from over 35 countries have made donations as a result of the social media craze.

These figures reveal that the ice bucket challenge has led to many smaller charities benefitting, as well as the larger organisations such as Macmillan who last week revealed that it had reached £3m through the challenge. MND Scotland has received over £380,000 through donations on its ice bucket challenge JustGiving page.

These figures do not include donations to charities as a result of the challenge that are made directly.

ALS Association tries to trademark #icebucketchallenge

However, American charity the ALS Association, which has profited most through the ice bucket challenge, seems to not want to share the challenge’s spoils with other charities. Last week it submitted applications to trademark the phrases ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ and ‘ALS Ice Bucket Challenge’ to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. But after fierce criticism, the ALS Association has since withdrawn these requests.

The ALS Association, which in the past month has received over $100m worth of donations, posted a message on its Facebook page explaining why it chose to file, and then withdraw, the applications to trademark the two phrases.

It said: “We’ve received several messages regarding the trademark applications we filed. We filed for these trademarks in good faith as a measure to protect the Ice Bucket Challenge from misuse after consulting with the families who initiated the challenge this summer.

“However, we understand the public’s concern and are withdrawing the trademark applications. We appreciate the generosity and enthusiasm of everyone who has taken the challenge and donated to ALS charities.”

American trademark attorney Erik Pelton first spotted the applications on Wednesday, and has argued on his website that, had the applications not been withdrawn, it is unlikely they would have been granted anyway

He went on to say: “Even if it were permissible under the law to register the phrase (again that is not clear here), it is in poor taste. If others want to use the phrase to raise money for their causes, why would ALS Association want to stop them?”

However, the ALS Association told the Washington Post that the decision to apply to trademark the phrases was down to “preventing for-profit companies from capitalizing on this amazing, almost wholly grassroots, and charitable campaign to raise money and awareness for the fight against ALS”.

This debate links to a similar argument that saw Macmillan criticised for “hijacking” the ice bucket challenge hashtag, a claim it has strongly denied. It stated that the craze began in New Zealand on behalf of cancer charities as early as June.

The ALS Assocation has also hit back after a satirical news story that claimed the donations to the charity would not go to ALS-related research and services, went viral. The charity responded claiming that the article is “filled with half-truths and misinformation”.

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