October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and many national and local businesses and organizations are soliciting monetary donations, also marketing products and services to support a cure for breast cancer. To avoid being misled or even scammed, the BBB is encouraging consumers to look for companies that disclose a charity name, the amount of a sale going to the charity, the duration of marketing campaigns and, if applicable, the maximum or minimum contribution amount with the ultimate goal being that a significant portion or all of the purchase will end up in the intended charity's hands.
To ensure this will happen, potential donors need to ask the right questions when donating to any cause. BBB recommends the following:
*Research the charity with the BBB. If the product or service is in support of an unfamiliar charity, learn more about the organization by reviewing the BBB's charity report online. You can start your search of BBB Accredited Charities at bbb.org/charity.
*Identify the charity receiving the donation. If the product or service is linked to a donation percentage, contact the business or manufacturer to determine exactly where the money is going and what percentage is donated.
*Confirm the charity's corporate partners. Many national breast cancer charities list the names of corporate partners and sponsors on their websites.
*Be wary of online solicitations, especially in response to spam messages and emails that claim to link to an official organization. BBB experiences dictate that there will be scammers out to pose as legitimate organizations in order to purport a scam, especially by using Twitter or Facebook, where unknown links clicked can sometimes divert you to a fake site or floating page to lift your personal info. Give directly to an organization you have researched and know.
The National Breast Cancer Awareness Month organization says it does not solicit contributions and has not authorized the use of its name for solicitation purposes.
*Be wary of appeals that are long on emotion, but short on describing what the charity does.
*If you contribute, do not give cash. Use a credit card or check or money order made out to the name of the charitable organization, not to the individual collecting the donation.
*Watch out for excessive pressure for on-the-spot donations. Be wary of any requests to send a runner to pick up your donation.
*Be wary of charities that are reluctant to answer reasonable questions about their operations, finances and programs.
*Ask how much of your gift will be used for the activity mentioned in the appeal and how much will go toward other programs and administrative and fundraising costs.