Thursday, October 20, 2011

Donating

I'm sorry. I lied I wasn't going to blog about pinkification anymore. But I am. I think everyone agrees we all have plenty of breast cancer awareness thank-you-very-much. We all have something pink (I even have a pink handled KitchenAid chopping knife and ice cream scoops and they work really well) and we are all aware of breast cancer. I think the general consensus out there is that we are done with awareness and would like to move on to research and a cure.

One of the big problems with pinkification is so much of it is run by the same organization Komen for the Cure (I can call them for the Cure because they 'own' that term). They are everywhere. Snapfish has pinkified their products and gives a donation to Komen for every purchase. You can find them everywhere. But they are not the only organization out there providing funds for bresat cancer research and awareness.

I think Komen has done some wonderful things for breast cancer awareness and deserve a lot of the credit for what they have done over the past 20 years. However, their name may say 'for the cure' but if you look at where their money goes -  more than 2/3 goes to breast cancer awareness,  less than 1/3 goes to research for a cure. So their name may say it (and they may think they 'own' it) but they are really 'for awareness' not 'for the cure'. (If you don't believe me go look on page 13 of their financials here http://ww5.komen.org/uploadedFiles/SGKFTC_FY10AnnualReport.pdf).

A friend of mine was complaining, and I have heard this from others as well, that 4-5% of their dollars are spent on metastatic breast cancer research. And is that 4-5% of the total or of the less than 1/3 is another story - we aren't sure? In other words, their money goes to awareness and not research regardless of what their name is. And so do your dollars if you support them.

The American Cancer Society puts their money to providing wellness/being healthy activities, information and support during treatment, funding cancer research, advocacy to get laws passed to keep us healthier (anti tobacco laws, etc), and providing access to health care for uninsured or under insured. I don't have all their numbers but while their funds go to research and other good areas, not all goes to research.

This goes on and on. Their is nothing wrong with giving money to Komen or the American Cancer Society but you should know where your money is going. Maybe Komen started off being 'for the cure' and evolved into 'for awareness' - that happens. If you are interested in where your donation goes, start with the charity's website and look for the About Us or something similar section and see where they say their money goes. Then go to charitynavigator.org for a non-partisan look at how well they spend their money. Then make your decision to donate.

A note about smaller charities: there are many small local charities out there that are not listed in charitynavigator.org or other online directories because of their size. They may do many good things and you should not overlook them in making donations. If you have a question about how they spend their money, call and ask. If they can't give you an answer, then skip them. If they can answer, then send in your donation.

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