BCA Wednesday - Think Before You Pink

I probably should have posted this as my first BCA post, but some pink products are available year round, so better late than never.

And disclaimer...this post is meant to inform, not to be too judgey or point fingers.  I'm just giving you a heads up!

As we all know, as with anything charitable, there are those who would take advantage of the goodness of others. Buying a pink item may give you a warm feeling about contributing to a worthy cause, but paying for pink-ribbon products doesn’t necessarily mean you’re donating to breast cancer research or awareness.

Think Before You Pink is a project of Breast Cancer Action, " 'launched in 2002 in response to the growing concern about the overwhelming number of pink ribbon products and promotions on the market. The campaign calls for more transparency and accountability by companies that take part in breast cancer fundraising, and encourages consumers to ask critical questions about pink ribbon promotions.' "

Their biggest concerns are 'pinkwashers': " 'a company or organization that claims to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink ribbon product, but at the same time produces, manufactures and/or sells products that are linked to the disease.'" Check out their site for more details and great ways to make sure your dollars go pink!

Here are some tips for choosing the right pink merchandise this month and throughout the year...

Know the rules 
Just because an item is pink or has a pink ribbon on it doesn't always mean a portion of the sales goes to a breast cancer organization.  The generic pink ribbon symbol isn’t trademarked and can be used on nearly anything. Pink ribbons, pink packages and other marketing gimmicks do not mandate that companies give money from that product to any charity.

Identify the charity that gets the proceeds
Some products vaguely say they donate a portion of their profit to charity. Watch out for nonspecific language on packaging that says money will go to “cancer charities” or “cancer research”.

Understand how much gets donated
Is it worth it? Clarisonic's Limited Edition Almond Blossom Plus Cleansing System is $235, but the donation to their charity, Look Good, Fell Better, is only $15. That's only about 6 percent of the purchase price.

Many purchases have guidelines and restrictions. For example, White House|Black Market's Give Hope Jeans donated “net proceeds” from the sale to the organization Living Beyond Breast Cancer. But they’ve capped their contributions at $200,000. This means that once they had reached the $200,000 limit they stopped contributing, no matter how many pairs of jeans were purchased. So if maximum has been reached, your product purchase doesn't count, and guess who pockets that?

Procter & Gamble products may sport pink ribbons, but if they aren't purchased with a P&G Brandsaver coupon, no donation is made to breast cancer philanthropies at all. Even with the manufacturer's coupon, only 2 cents per coupon is donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Some have minimum amounts that need to be reached first, so what happens to the donations if the minimum has not been met?

Research the charity
Responsible charities are well-established; file tax forms that give detailed information about their officers, revenues and expenses; and don’t spend an unreasonable portion of their contributions on solicitation or administrative costs.

Confirm your favorite charity’s corporate sponsors. Most charities list their corporate sponsors on their websites so you can shop for items you know will benefit a good cause.

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