By: Chandler Tatgenhorst, Ozarks New Journal

Springfield, MO–Linzi Smith, a regional development director for the ALS Foundation, says thanks to the ALS ice bucket challenge and social media outlets,  awareness has spread like wildfire.

“It has just kind of gone viral all over Facebook,” said Smith.

“It was started by a guy named Pete Fraties who was a Boston college baseball player. It was his friends that started the challenge for him because he was unable to do it,” stated Smith.

ALS is just the latest organization to benefit from the immediacy of social media. Creating awareness—which used to be difficult and often expensive—can now be accomplished with just the click of a button.

“It’s great that Facebook and Twitter and all these places allow you to share this stuff for free because its awareness that we’ve never seen,” said Smith.

The ALS foundation has raised $108 million in a matter of months because of the viral challenge.

Missouri State student, Evan Underwood decided to take the extra step after he was challenged by a friend.

“I donated one hundred dollars. Donating money is really the only way you can help those with ALS. It wouldn’t have spread nearly as quick when you think about how many Facebook friends everyone has. If everyone does it, there will be hundreds of people that see it …and it spreads form there,” said Underwood.

The ALS foundation is just one of the several organizations benefiting from social media.

“Normally, we do not raise this much money and the ice bucket challenge is a huge part of it. Without Facebook and Twitter and other social media outlets, there’s no way it would have reached this many people and raised this much money. So, we are definitely grateful for social media,” said Smith.

Officials from the ALS foundation say that all of the money that has been raised so far will go toward research, care services, and administrative costs.

Each cause is a different case, however, and if you have any doubts…a little research can help you find out just where your money is going.