Every October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and brands march out countless numbers of pink products with the stated goal of helping breast cancer awareness and supporting the search for a cure by donating a portion of the proceeds to breast cancer research. The products often have a big PR push and are covered by numerous print and online sources. They often also rarely donate the full amount of the profits to breast cancer charities with many donating as little as 10%. And there is the rub. With the amount of exposure brands get for their pink products and the potential for increased sales because of that, when very little of the profits are donated, it takes on the appearance of being a profit building scheme for the companies involved instead of for the charities. Companies may also note that the plethora of pink products build “awareness,” but I think the world is already quite aware of breast cancer and supportive of research. What really is needed is more money going directly to research charities instead of into corporate coffers.
Because of these concerns, I am not covering many pink products this year and will only cover items that send 100% of the profits to charity. In fact, that will generally apply throughout the year to other charity efforts as well. I believe that if a company truly wishes to be philanthropic, it will not take a profit from a product developed for a charitable campaign.
Frankly, if you wish to support breast cancer research, your best option is to choose a charity and send them money directly. Only then can you assure that your money is going to the place you think will use it best. Want some guidance on who to donate too? See this Chicago Tribune Article: How Much Pink turns Into Green?
I will admit that certainly, if you really wanted a pink purse, running socks, T-shirts, toaster, branded lipstick, etc, and were going to buy such an item anyway, then buying one that sends a portion of profits to charity can be a nice thought, and any little bit helps. However, I suspect that many pink product purchases are not items that people were planning to buy anyway. Instead, most are designed to be limited edition impulse purchase types of products. At that point, ask yourself why you are buying and, if it is solely because a portion of the profits benefit a charity, consider sending a donation directly instead.
As for the brands that send 100% of profits to charity, going through my PR emails, they are few and far between. But I came across a few and will cover them in a separate upcoming post or posts. Also, the pin pictured in this post is from the Simply Vera Wang Committed To The Cause Collection at Kohl’s which gives 100% of the profit to charity.