Every October, countries worldwide observe Breast Cancer Awareness Month, focused on increasing support and awareness of the most common cancer affecting women worldwide. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women in the United States. In Texas, more than 19,000 new breast cancer cases were diagnosed in 2019.
While medical advancements have continued to increase the survivability of those suffering from breast cancer in high-income countries to a five-year survival rate of 90%, inequalities in early detection, access and quality of care have resulted in a 66% survival rate in India and a 40% rate in South Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Much work remains to advance research efforts to find a cure and increase survivability worldwide, and Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a great time to raise funds for the cause.
There are countless ways to contribute, and consumers help raise millions of dollars each year, often by purchasing “pink ribbon” items. Many donors also contribute directly to a charity focused on breast cancer. However, just because a charity is advertising that proceeds benefit breast cancer research or awareness does not automatically mean you are donating wisely. When deciding which charity to donate to, be sure to ask critical questions such as:
- How much money goes to breast cancer programs and services?
- What breast cancer programs or services are supported by the organization?
- Is the money being used for breast cancer awareness, treatment or research? If awareness, what are the efforts made to raise awareness and to what effect? If research, what aspects of breast cancer are being researched, and how are the findings contributing to ending breast cancer? What is the charity doing to assist the medical professionals treating those who have breast cancer?
BBB recommends exercising caution when choosing a charity to support and offers the following tips from BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance:
Shop smart. Some companies donate a portion of the sale of specific items designated with pink ribbons or packaging. When shopping for “pink ribbon” items, see if the promotion is transparent about which charity it will benefit and how much of the purchase will be donated. Watch out for vague claims of proceeds benefiting unspecified charities.
Check the charity. Charities accredited with BBB Wise Giving Alliance meet the 20 BBB Charity Standards. If you are considering donating to a charity that is unfamiliar to you, go to Give.org to view its charity report or find trustworthy organizations. When researching a charity, pay close attention to its name, as some questionable charities may use names similar to those of established organizations.
Participate carefully. Some charities host fundraising events in addition to marketing promotions. If this interests you, gather all the important information before signing up. Is there a participation fee or are you required to sign up a minimum number of sponsors? Is the event being hosted in person or virtual? Always research the charity or group organizing the event before you register.
Take action. If your preferred charity is not holding any events or promotions during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, contact them directly to see how you can volunteer or donate on your own time. Every type of contribution helps!
To view charity reports and find more wise giving tips, visit Give.org.