October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to increase awareness about the disease. Many businesses and consumers see it as an opportunity to donate or support a cause. To make sure donations go to the right place, Better Business Bureau advises consumers to research breast cancer product claims, before making a purchase or getting caught up in the hype.
So, whether you are donating, shopping for “pink ribbon” merchandise or signing up to volunteer or participate in a walk or run, Better Business Bureau advises you to think before you go pink this month.
Before you get involved, BBB recommends the following tips:
- Shop smart. When you’re shopping online or in stores for “pink ribbon” products that state their purchase will benefit a specified breast cancer charity, see if the promotion is transparent about how the purchase will help. BBB Charity Standards call for such campaigns to disclose the actual or anticipated portion of the purchase price that will benefit the charity (and if applicable the term of the campaign and any maximum or guaranteed minimum donation.) Watch out for vague announcements that claim “proceeds” or “profits” will support a breast cancer charity.
- Check out the charity.See if the promotion specifies the specific breast cancer charity that will benefit from the sale. If you are unfamiliar with the charity, check out the charity with BBB to verify if they meet the BBB Charity Standards. Be cautious of sale campaigns that claim to help the breast cancer cause but don’t identify any charity by name.
- Participate carefully.In addition to cause-related marketing promotions, some breast cancer charities will also hold events such as walks or races. If you are considering this, see if there is a fee to participate, find out if you are required to sign up a minimum number of sponsors, and research the breast cancer charity to make sure this is a group you want to support.
Consumers can find reports on charities at Give.org. BBB Wise Giving Alliance and BBBs evaluate charities based on 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability which address charity governance, finances, results reporting, appeal accuracy among other issues. Charities that meet all 20 BBB Charity Standards are referred to as BBB Accredited Charities.