Breast Cancer Awareness Month has just passed, but there is still a plethora of “pink” products in the marketplace. There has been some recent media coverage on the prevalence of pink ribbon scams, such as organizations that donate a very small percentage of their total budget to the cause (see this Huffington Post article or this Marie Claire article). I'm often dismayed by cause-related products I see that don't make it clear what organization they're benefiting or what, exactly, their donation supports (Research? Advocacy? Patient services?). Here in New York, the State Attorney General is taking a very close look both at products and charities that claim to benefit cancer causes. Here are some tips to keep in mind when buying products that claim to benefit cancer charities:
- Can you tell how much money from each purchase goes to the organization? We at CAC ask all our partners to sign a formal agreement that spells out all the details – is it a percentage of profits or a specific dollar amount? What is the duration of the partnership? Is there a minimum donation that will be made regardless of profits?
- Does the product require the buyer to take any action other than simply buying the product (for example, entering a code on the company’s website)?
- Be wary of organizations that promise to “increase awareness” of a cause. This is a slippery concept and outcomes are very difficult to measure.
- How unique is the recipient organization and is it “best-in-class”? CAC, for example, is the only resource solely dedicated to the challenges of combining work and treatment. It is the go-to resource for working people with cancer and is a respected partner in the cancer community.
We have cause marketing initiatives throughout the year. Be sure to check out our Shop for a Cause page regularly when shopping for gifts or for yourself.