Breast Cancer Awareness Month which takes place each October brings the public’s attention to this important cause. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that there are about 250,000 new cases of breast cancer reported each year. This Awareness Month also helps raise significant contributions for many charities that are addressing this issue in a variety of ways such as medical research, treatment assistance and prevention education. As such, it is helpful to keep in mind that the name of the charity addressing breast cancer might not always reveal the activities that it conducts.

Many Charities Address This Cause. There are over 1,000 U.S. charitable organizations that include the words “breast cancer” as part of their name. This is all the more reason to look carefully to make sure the charity you are considering is the one you have in mind.  Review the appeal and website of the organization carefully to gain a better understanding of what they do. While many of us only consider donating to charities that request our support, be aware there are numerous other potential choices for those willing to look further.

Celebrity Appeal. In some instances, famous celebrities help bring attention to specific breast cancer organizations. While well known-personalities can reach and teach us about the importance of this issue, it is still up to donors to ensure that their contributions will be used wisely. While the generous time celebrities provide helps demonstrate their good intent, it is the charity itself that needs to gain your trust.

Seeing Pink. While the pink ribbon is the symbol for breast cancer awareness, its appearance on a product does not necessarily mean that buying it will help a charity, unless it specifies that is the case. So look at the label carefully. Certain stylized versions of the pink ribbon are trademarked by specific breast cancer charities, but a generic pink ribbon image does not guarantee that you are helping the cause through the purchase.

Cause Marketing Promotions. To meet BBB Charity Standard 19, promotions that claim a purchase will help a charity should include a specific disclosure that identifies the actual or anticipated amount of the purchase that will benefit the charity. For example, 5 cents for every can of soup up to $100,000. If applicable the disclosure should also indicate the duration of the campaign and any maximum or guaranteed minimum donation amount. A complete disclosure might say, “8 cents for every sweater sold in the month of October will help XYZ Breast Cancer Charity up to a maximum of $25,000.” Watch out for vague language that state “a portion of proceeds” will help breast cancer charities.

BBB Wise Giving Alliance encourages donors to support these groups but also remember to visit Give.org to verify if they meet the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability. If you don’t see a report on a group that interests you, complete our inquiry form so we can identify charities that can be the subject of an evaluation.

Video of the Week

As part of our Building Trust Video series, we are pleased to provide a video that features Lynda Houk, Executive Director, Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer (a BBB Accredited Charity evaluated by the Better Business Bureau serving Northern Indiana.)  This organization raises funds for the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer Research Laboratories at the Indiana University Bren Simon Cancer Center in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Recent Reports

We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit Give.org or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:

Finally, remember to let us know by going to www.give.org/charity-inquiry if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.