Is Alabama the Viral Video Capital?

It’s the week leading up to the Third Saturday of October—the day in which the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Tennessee Volunteers duke it out on the football field for yearly bragging rights.  While this tradition has been enjoyable, it has been made even more enjoyable in recent years because of a viral video featuring a University of Alabama student called “I Hate Tennessee.”

The success of this video makes one wonder if there are more viral videos that feature Alabama residents.  It turns out there are quite a few—some even becoming internet royalty. Here a handful of those videos:

Hide Yo Kids, Hide Yo Wife

Huntsville resident, Antoine Dodson, became an internet sensation after he warned fellow residents to beware of would-be rapists.

I Hate Tennessee

What makes this video great is the cyclical nature of the popularity.  The video has its fans throughout the year, but it gets its biggest number of spins during the month of October.  It’s been ten years now, and the video brings joy to so many hearts.

The Mobile Leprechaun

Talk about another seasonal joy.  This one has huge national acclaim, but it also has huge statewide support during the month of the March.  St. Patrick’s Day isn’t the same with this legendary gem.

Honorable Mentions

What are some others that didn’t make this article? Dancing teachers of Tuscaloosa? A particularly witty sound bite of Coach Nick Saban? Violent city councilmen in Dothan? If you know of some more Alabama viral videos, list them below in the comments.

Follow me on Twitter @Ben_Baxter or on here.

The Truth About Your Ice Bucket Challenge Donations

If you are reading this, you have probably heard of the ice bucket challenge.  In short, you get nominated to take the ice bucket challenge.  Once nominated you have two options that you are supposed to choose: either donate $100 to the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association (ALSA) or pour a bucket of ice water over your head, donate $10 to the ALSA, and nominate three more people to take the ice bucket challenge.  “Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.”  It is a terrible disease that ultimately results in death. Donating money to this charity sounds like a good cause.

There are some critics. There are articles and videos that claim ALSA does not spend the money correctly.  After coming across this dissent, I became curious and decided to investigate.  How does the ALSA spend their money and is that spending appropriated correctly? Let us find out.

In this video the author says that less than 8% of the 2012 ALSA expenses went to research.  The 2012 ALSA annual report (see page 12) confirms this claim.  In the table below we can see that 7.71% of ALSA expenses went towards research.  I found it interesting that the consolidated financial summary is accompanied by this comment “The consolidated summary has not been audited or reviewed by the auditors and is not part of their financial reports.” and decided to investigate.  After investigating, I found a discrepancy.  The consolidated financial summary reports a “total combined revenue” of $55,446,772 but the total expenses for 2012 is reported as $15,435,227.  I could not reconcile the numbers in this report.  Feel free to comment if you reconcile the numbers.

Using the expenses for 2012, we see an entirely different situation.  ALSA spent $3,904,240, or 25.3% of their 2012 expenses on research.  In addition, ALSA spent $4,629,111 or 30.0% on patient and community services, $1,859,100 or 12% on public and professional education and $3,269,624 or on fundraising.  In 2012, ALSA spent a total of $13,662,075 or 88.5% of their expenses on research, fundraising, or ALS awareness leaving 11.5% for overhead. Put another way, in 2012 88 cents out of every dollar spent by ALSA went to better understanding ALS.

We find a similar trend for the 2013 year.  In 2013 the ALSA had an expense total of $25,737,701, 66.7% more than in 2012.  Of the $25,737,701, ALSA spent $6,616,367, 25.7%, on research.  While ALSA proportionally spent similar amounts of research, the total dollar amount spent on research increased in 2013.  Additionally, 91.5% of ALSA spending in 2013 went towards research, fundraising or ALS awareness leaving only 8.5% for overhead.

The trend continues for the year ending in 2014.  In 2014 the ALSA had an expense total of $26,204,122.  Of this, ALSA spent $7,170,481, 27.4%, on research.  The ALSA spent 1.7% more in 2014 on research.  Additionally, 92.7% of ALSA spending in 2014 went towards research, fundraising or ALS awareness leaving only 7.3% for overhead.

Of course this doesn’t even begin to address money and awareness raised by the ice bucket challenge.  The ALSA has raised $79.7 million  as of August 25th.  You can rest assured knowing that, for the most part, your donations are being put to good use.  But don’t just take my word for it.  The ALSA meets all the Better Business Bureau’s 20 standards for charity accountability.  In addition Charity Navigator gives them a 4 star rating.