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Better Business Bureau ®
Start With Trust®
Louisville, Southern Indiana and Western Kentucky
BBB Advice on Pink Ribbon Products and Donations
October 08, 2009

This month, you see the pink ribbon every where you go. As National Breast Cancer Awareness month celebrates 25 years of education, many national and local businesses are marketing pink ribbon products and services to support the cure. In doing so, BBB advises consumers to research pink donation claims before making a purchase.

Your BBB encourages consumers to look for companies that disclose the charity name, the amount of sale benefiting the charity, the duration of the marketing campaign and if applicable, the maximum or minimum contribution amount.

“The ultimate goal is for a portion of the purchase to end up in the intended charity’s hands,” says Reanna Smith-Hamblin, Communications Director of the BBB. “Consumers can be sure this will happen by asking the right questions.”

While most pink ribbon marketing campaigns are trustworthy, consumers can eliminate the possibility of supporting a company marketing false donation claims by doing the following:

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.

Research the charity through BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance. If the product or service is in support of an unfamiliar charity, learn more about the organization by reviewing BBB’s charity report online at www.bbb.org/charity.

Confirm the charity’s corporate partners. Many national breast cancer charities list the names of corporate partners and sponsors on their website.

In addition to purchasing products and services, consumers may receive solicitations for general donations over the phone. BBB advises potential donors to be cautious of individuals claiming to represent national breast cancer charities. According to the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month organization (NBCAM), the group does not solicit contributions and has not authorized the use of its name for solicitation purposes. BBB advises contacting charities directly to confirm any telephone solicitations.

Additional charitable giving advice tips from the BBB includes:

  • Be wary of appeals that are long on emotion, but short on describing what the charity will do.
  • If you contribute, do not give cash. Make a check or money order 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 fund raising costs.

For more information on how to ensure your donation gets into the right hands, visit BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance at www.bbb.org/charity.