BBB: Giving during Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Milwaukee, Wis. – The Center for Disease Control in the United States estimates that each year there are 255,000 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in women and 2,300 in men. Breast Cancer Awareness Month takes place every October to help bring attention to the symptoms, screening, treatment and research to help cure this devastating illness. This heightened attention also inspires many to donate to charities addressing breast cancer issues.

Numerous Charities Address This Cause. With over 1,000 U.S. charitable organizations that include the words “breast cancer” as part of their name, 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. Are they engaged in medical research, treatment assistance and/or prevention education? While some donors only consider donating to charities that request our support, be aware there are many other potential choices.

Appeals by Celebrities. Sometimes 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.

Pink Ribbons. 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 to verify if they meet the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability.For more information or further inquiries, contact the Wisconsin BBB at, 414-847-6000 or 1-800-273-1002. Consumers also can find more information about how to protect themselves from scams by following the Wisconsin BBB on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.