WEST SACRAMENTO, CALIF., – Throughout Breast Cancer Awareness Month, people everywhere donate money, participate in walks, or purchase pink products in the name of cancer research and awareness. However, Better Business Bureau (BBB) is urging consumers to research businesses and charities before buying or donating to ensure that their contribution ends up in the right hands.
Every October, some find a way to take advantage of the kindness in others by marketing pink products to swindle innocent consumers into making purchases. Some make allegations, or implications that a portion of the proceeds will go to cancer research, or an organization, often times using the widely recognized pink ribbon.
However, it is important to know that although for many the pink symbol represents cancer awareness, it is not regulated by any agency. Consumers should not assume that the use of the pink symbol guarantees any association with breast cancer research, or any particular charitable organization. Instead, research and ask questions about the claims the business is making, and who they claim to be affiliated with.
Before making a “pink” purchase:
Before buying, always check the business out at bbb.org. Research the company at bbb.org and look for their BBB rating, customer reviews, and any possible complaints.
If you see a pink product or ribbon, ask the business if they are making donations to a cancer foundation or cause. Don’t assume that they are making donations just because you see a pink product. It may just be a marketing ploy.
If they are making donations, ask questions. If the business is claiming to give a percentage of your purchase to a cancer foundation, ask them questions like: What percentage of my purchase will be given? What organizaiton will receive the funds, and what programs will they be used for? Is there a cap on the amount of donations you will give?
Consider donating directly to the foundation itself. If something seems too good to be true, consider donating directly to the charitable organization itself.
How to vet a charity during Breast Cancer Awareness month:
Donate to charities you know and trust. BBB’s Wise Giving alliance (WGA) helps donors make wise donating decisions. Visit give.org for information on the organization's programs, governance and staff, and even their tax status and fundraising costs. Give.org will also tell you whether they meet WGA’s 20 Charity Standards.
Be sure they are registered with the Attorney General. In California, all charities are required to be registered with the state Attorney General (AG); the list of registered charities is also known as the Registry of Charitable Trusts.
Donate to the organization directly. Many charities raise money to pass along to relief organizations. Find out of there is a middleman involved, and consider donating directly to the relief organization itself. Also ask questions about how your donation will be used, and proof that your donation is tax deductible.
What to avoid. Avoid solicitors using high pressure sales tactics, and never give cash or any other untraceable method of payment. Keep a receipt for tax purposes.
If you think you may have spotted a scam, report it to your local Better Business Bureau at bbb.org/scamtracker.
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For more information, please contact Danielle Hale, email@example.com.
ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands, and charities they can trust. BBB Serving Northeast California, founded in 1937 and serving 24 counties, is one of 113 local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico. For reports on businesses and for information about BBB services, please visit our website at www.bbb.org/sacramento or call (916) 443-6843.