BBB Tip: Donating wisely during Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Every October, countries worldwide observe Breast Cancer Awareness Month, focused on increasing support and awareness of one the most common cancers affecting women worldwide. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), breast cancer is the second most common cancer among U.S. women and the most common in Texas. Nearly 18,000 new breast cancer cases were diagnosed in Texas in 2018, approximately 280% more than the second-most common cancer in the state, lung and bronchus cancer (6,300).

Yet, the World Health Organization (WHO) does offer some promising data; while rates of total breast cancer cases per year are projected to continue to increase through 2040 in the U.S., premature death rates are projected to decrease. Despite the decrease, estimated to continue through 2030, there is still no cure, and funds are needed to advance research efforts.

There are countless ways to contribute, and consumers help raise millions of dollars for breast cancer research each year, often by purchasing “pink ribbon” items. However, just because a charity is advertising that proceeds benefit breast cancer research or awareness does not automatically mean that 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 or breast cancer 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?

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 a donation to a charity that is not familiar to you, go to to view its charity report or find trustworthy organizations to donate to. 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 and, if in-person, what procedures are being followed to minimize the spread of COVID-19? 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