It’s no secret that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Just look around and you’ll see pink everything everywhere. There are a number of breast cancer charities that work hard for donations not only during the month of October, but also throughout the rest of the year as well.
However, with so many different charities out there, it can be hard to figure out which ones actually contribute a good amount of the funds they raise to actual breast cancer research, as opposed to administrative expenses. We break down five of the good ones to help make your decision a little easier.
Seas of Pink: The NFL & More
Every October, the pinkwashing begins. Perhaps one of the most-recognized examples occurs in the NFL. Throughout the month, players, coaches, and staff wear pink hats, shoes, gloves, or pressure bands to show support for breast cancer awareness. Even fans get in on the action a bit more in October.
Awesome, right? Sure, the pink looks great and let’s people know that you’re supporting research, but how much of the money you spend or donate actually goes to fund cancer research?
According to an article from Business Insider:
The NFL takes a 25% royalty from the wholesale price (1/2 retail), and donates 90% of royalty to the American Cancer Society. In other words, for every $100 in pink merchandise sold, $12.50 goes to the NFL. Of that, $11.25 goes to the ACS and the NFL keeps the rest. The remaining money is then divided up by the company that makes the merchandise (37.5%) and the company that sells it (50.0%). Then consider that only 71.2% of the money ACS receives goes toward research and cancer programs. In the end, only 8.01% of money spent on pink NFL merchandise is actually going toward cancer research (Source).
That’s a little upsetting, don’t you think? While the NFL’s campaign does a great job of actually raising awareness of breast cancer and the importance of early detection, the money it actually gives toward research feels like it’s next to nothing.
So, how can this be avoided? Many people choose to donate directly to charities that support and fund breast cancer research. Great, right? Yes and no.
The Susan G. Komen Foundation & Research Funding
It’s no secret that the Susan G. Komen Foundation—now known as Susan G. Komen for the Cure—is one of, if not the most widely recognized breast cancer charity in existence. The foundation name seems to be on everything from clothing and coffee mugs to things like cell phone cases and even pens. They host walks, runs, and other highly popular fundraising events, and all in the name of breast cancer research.
In recent years, the foundation has come under fire for a decision to withdraw funding for Planned Parenthood (which was quickly reversed after wide-spread public backlash). It was also outed that the foundation CEO and founder, Nancy Brinker, was receiving a salary of $684,000 a year, while the foundation as a whole was only actually giving approximately 20% of the funds it raised to breast cancer research.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure doesn’t seem to have been hurt too badly by these revelations, as their financial report from 2012-2013 claims they still funded $49.5 million in new research (Source).
Messy statistics and talented marketing departments make the difference between trustworthy charities and not-so-trustworthy ones. If you’re still on the fence about who to donate to, there are things that can help make that decision easier.
Understand Better with Charity Navigator
When it comes to donating to breast cancer research, the options can be pretty overwhelming. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of charities that claim to raise funds for breast cancer research and education every year. However, it’s important to do your homework on these charities and learn how they raise funds and how much they actually donate to research and education from year to year.
Charity Navigator is a website devoted to helping you learn about and understand the inner workings of your favorite charities, or charities you’ve been thinking about donating to. You can search by charity name or by keyword to find charities that support a specific cause.
Charity Navigator rates each charity for each cause with a star system and offers explanations of current ratings and statistics, programs, the charity history, and much more. According to the page for breast cancer charities:
We’ve reviewed the financial health of over two dozen of the largest charities working to fight and prevent breast cancer in America. Although these charities have been very successful at generating support, together raising more than $1.68 billion annually in contributions, the disparity in their financial health is enormous. The good news is that several of these charities efficiently utilize donations to pursue their mission of curing and preventing breast cancer. However, others will astound donors with their inefficient operations and low marks for Accountability & Transparency (Source).
You’ll have less to worry and wonder about when you let Charity Navigator help. You’ll be able to choose a charity in confidence, but the big question remains: Which charity will you choose?
5 Charities You Can Trust
Here at NHC, we support breast cancer research, just as much as we support learning and education. Below, we’ve listed five of our favorite breast cancer charities, and we hope that you’ll consider donating to such a great cause.
1. Breast Cancer Research Foundation
The Breast Cancer Research Foundation earns the top spot on Charity Navigator’s list, and for very good reason. According to the metrics, BCRF spends an astounding 91.9% of their budget on program expenses, meaning they’re actually spending money on the programs and services they deliver to the public. How great is that? The rest is spent on administrative and fundraising goals and functions.
2. The Rose
The group of hardworking people behind The Rose believe that “every woman deserves quality breast health care.” Charity Navigator rates them as devoting 87.5% of their budget to program expenses, while just 6.7% goes to administrative needs and 5.6% to fundraising. Another good choice for donations, The Rose makes an effort to offer mobile mammography throughout the month of October (but remember, the foundation is based in Houston, Texas).
3. National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.
“Helping Women Now.” What a great motto, and one that NBCF strives to live up to each and every day of the year. They devote 80.9% of their program expenses to early detection, education, and support services year-round, with 9.3% going to fundraising expenses and 9.7% to administrative. NBCF gives you the chance to donate, provide mammograms for women in need, start your own fundraiser and become a sponsor.
4. Living Beyond Breast Cancer
Committed to providing information, community, and support that can be trusted, LBBC is another great choice for your donation. With 82% of program expenses going toward ensuring informative, supportive and helpful resources year-round, only 10.7% goes to administrative and 7.1% to fundraising. LBBC provides resources for everyone whose lives have been impacted by breast cancer, and they work with the country’s leading healthcare experts to ensure correctness.
According to the website, BreastCancer.org is “dedicated to providing the most reliable, complete and up-to-date information about breast cancer and breast health as well as an active and supportive online community.” Each year, 79.7% of program expenses are devoted to program expenses that support public education and much more.
- Check out Charity Navigator’s full summary of BreastCancer.org here
- Learn more and donate to BreastCancer.org here
How are you showing your support for breast cancer awareness? Are there other charities you’re donating to? We’d love to hear from you. Please leave us a comment below!
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