In search of a cure and awareness for a disease that is predicted to develop over 200,000 new American cases in 2010, Breast Cancer Awareness Month evokes consumer empathy and generosity. Better Business Bureau warns that it can also lead to insincere companies and charities borrowing the iconic "pink ribbon" logo to enhance their image, boost sales or solicit donations.
Most assume those flaunting the ribbon are publicly pledging to donate part of their proceeds to the cause. While there are many doing so, some are contributing very little or nothing at all.
"Our concern is with businesses and charities falsely using the pink ribbon logo or implying a connection with a breast cancer cause in order to manipulate the public into buying products or making a donation," said Robert W.G. Andrew, CEO of BBB serving Alaska, Oregon, and Western Washington. â€œIf you can't verify the affiliation, donâ€™t expect your money to go to the cause."
Check out soliciting charities.
BBB's Charity Review Program offers 20 Standards for Charity Accountability
for potential donors to evaluate how an organization allocates its funds. These standards suggest that the organization should spend at least 65 percent of its total expenses on program activities and no more than 35 percent of related contributions on fundraising. View Charity Review Reports at www.bbb.org/charity
Ask questions before purchasing.
Breast Cancer Action's Think Before You Pink
campaign proposes questions to consider before buying pink ribbon items:
- How much money from your purchase actually goes toward breast cancer? Is the amount clearly stated on the package?
- To what breast cancer organization does the money go, and what types of programs does it support? What is the maximum amount that will be donated? How are the funds being raised?
- What is the company doing to assure that its products are not actually contributing to the breast cancer epidemic?
BBB recommends avoiding offers that are deliberately vague about where the money goes or how much is donated to breast cancer prevention.