The Power of the Crowd: Using Crowdfunding to Raise Research Dollars

A little over a week ago, the Washington Post in its “Day in photos” featured a local blogger in Siberia dumping a bucket of liquid nitrogen over his head. Inspired by the Ice Bucket Challenge, he was promoting the natural sciences with the experiment.

This summer, in just six weeks, the ALS Association (ALSA) raised $112 million in donations through its “Ice Bucket Challenge” to raise awareness and research funding for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a progressive neurodegenerative disease otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. A reported 28 percent of these raised funds are committed to research. The immense success of this “crowdfunding” campaign, carried out on online social media sites such as Facebook, is evident in the fact that last year the organization raised $2.5 million over the course of the entire year. In a recent conversation I had about this campaign with a colleague who teaches Media & Medicine to Yale undergraduates, she reported that, remarkably, almost every one of the more than 275 students in that class had participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge.

The considerable reductions in federal funds for medical research have been felt across many areas and with them, we have seen —> Read More Here


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