You might think you’re seeing the world through rose-coloured glasses when the lineup of pink products supposedly supporting the fight against breast cancer dominates store shelves. And you might have a point. It’s easy to wrap a product in pink, or create pink advertising for an event. But how do you know when your money is really going to a good cause?
Nicole Turenne of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation says transparency is key. It should be clear which non-profit is affiliated with the product or event. And the amount of money that goes towards that organization should be easily found on the packaging or advertising material. If the organization isn’t transparent, it’s suspicious, Turenne says. The pink ribbon can’t be trademarked, so if you see it on packaging, it doesn’t necessarily mean money from the sale of the product will go towards an organization that supports the fight against breast cancer. You need to dig deeper, and check if the ribbon is a part of a logo, like the one for the Breast Cancer Foundation’s marketing campaign.
Once you determine there’s a legitimate organization behind the product, your work isn’t done. Turenne says that the majority of the calls she receives from consumers are from those who are confused as to which charity is which. The breast cancer fight has spurred on countless organizations, and the flood is far more overwhelming once you open that up to cancer causes in general.
Whether you support one organization over another is really a matter of personal values. Would you rather see money go towards cancer research or helping cancer patients by providing treatment, access to accommodations and support? Would you like the organization to address potential causes of cancer or to generate awareness for the disease?
Ask these questions before spending money on breast-cancer related products:
1. Is there any money from the sale of the product going towards the fight against breast cancer? Is there a cap on the amount the company plans to donate?
2. Is the non-profit credible and how much of the money that gets to it actually goes into its operations?
3. Is there transparency both on the product’s labelling and in how the organization operates? If it’s legitimate, you’ll be able to find that information easily.
4. Will the money be used for something that actually aligns with your values? Do you prefer a local or national organization?
Here are just a few organizations that support those with breast cancer:
Young Adult Cancer Canada: Aims to create a community of young adults with cancer who have access to information, support and skills.
Cross Cancer Institute: It provides treatment, research and prevention for all cancer; the Alberta Cancer Foundation raises charitable donations in support of the institute.
Wellspring Edmonton: Provides programs aimed to improve the quality of life of those suffering from cancer (art classes, nutritional cooking classes; healthcare professionals who can improve day-to-day functioning, etc.).
CancerBridges: Provides supportive care and education to cancer survivors.