A warning from the Connecticut Better Business Bureau about making a donation to charity or buying a pink ribbon during Breast Cancer Awareness Month:
“The widely recognized pink ribbon symbol is not regulated by an agency and does not necessarily mean it promotes breast cancer research and/or charities. Some products have a pink ribbon in order to indicate that the business supports breast cancer programs, even if the company’s contributions are not tied to the purchase of the specific product bearing the ribbon.
While other companies give a portion of an item’s cost to a breast cancer organization, donors should research the claims in order to know how their donation will benefit the cause.
In some cases, companies will indicate that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of a pink ribbon product will go to support breast cancer programs, but put a “cap” on their donation. Once the maximum amount has been met, the company may continue to sell the product with the pink ribbon, without alerting customers that no additional funds will be donated to breast cancer organizations.
While the majority of these efforts are trustworthy, consumers should take the following steps to double check their efforts will go where they are needed:
Ask questions – Find out what percentage of the sale price will be donated, to which charity and how the funds will be used.
Consumers can check out charities online with BBB here.
The National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) organization also has a website. This group is a collaboration of national public service organizations, professional medical associations, and government agencies working together to promote breast cancer awareness, share information on the disease, and provide greater access to services.
>> Research the business – Learn more about the business you’re purchasing from by checking their BBB Business Review and beware of “sound-alike” charity names that are used to deceive donors.
>> Identify the charity receiving the donation – If the product or service is linked to a donation percentage, contact the business or manufacturer to determine exactly where the money is going and what percentage is donated.
>> Confirm the charity’s corporate partners – Many national breast cancer charities list corporate partners and sponsors on their website. Check to make sure the business you’re purchasing from is associated with the charity.
>> Consider a direct donation – Find a charity you trust here
and make a donation directly.
>> If you contribute, do not give cash – Use a credit card or check or money order made out to the name of the charitable organization, not to the individual collecting the donation.
>> Keep records of your donations – This includes receipts, canceled checks, and bank statement. Keeping these documents will allow you to document your charitable giving at tax time. If you donate online, be sure to print the confirmation page for your records. Many donations are tax-deductible.
>> Be wary of telemarketing appeals – Ask how much of your donation will go to programs and how much will go to administration and fundraising expenses. Also, be careful of appeals that are long on emotion, but short on describing what the charity actually does.