(Editor’s note: Although October is almost over, the Better Business Bureau offers sound advice when it comes to giving. With the approach of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, charities increase requests for donations. Advance research can help consumers ensure their donations reach those the funds are intended to help.)
TUCSON, Ariz. — Every October, thousands of products display the pink ribbon or pink packaging in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. While many of these products have a real tie to breast cancer charities, other pink-labeled products can be described as a form of “pinkwashing” and provide very limited benefit to charities, if any at all.
“Pinkwashing” is a term used to describe unscrupulous companies that claim to support breast cancer, but never actually fulfill their claim about donating toward breast cancer charities.
“It’s far too easy for a company to market itself as a benefactor of breast cancer charities,” said Kim States, Better Business Bureau president. “This is why BBB encourages consumers to be vigilant and thoroughly research any claim a company makes about giving back to charity.”
If people want to support breast cancer or other charities by purchasing products, BBB advises consumers to look into how that purchase will benefit a charity and which charity will get the money.
Give with your head, not just your heart.
Pink packaging means very little. In fact, research from one BBB office showed that in some instances, very little money from sales actually went to breast cancer organizations.
Check the packaging for disclosures of how much goes to charity and what organizations are supported. Consumers can also look on a company’s website for disclosures.
BBB Standards require all cause-related marketing, such as pink products, disclose certain information very clearly. For more information on the BBB’s 20 Standards for Charity Accountability visit www.give.org.
Many “sound-a-like” organizations come out to take advantage of pink or other giving. Some of these organizations give pennies on the dollar when it comes to supporting breast cancer or other research with the funds they raise.
Do not give cash. Make a check payable to the organization.
If you ask questions about the organization’s finances and programs and you don’t get direct answers, don’t give to them. Legitimate organizations know that an educated donor is its best friend.
Be very wary of telemarketing appeals. Ask how much of your donation will go to programs and how much will go to administration and fundraising expenses.
Visit BBB at www.give.org to check on an organization’s status. BBB evaluates 501c3 publically soliciting charities.
For detailed Reviews of Southern Arizona charities, visit Wise Giving of Southern Arizona at www.tucson.bbb.org/charities.