Breast Cancer Fundraising: Where Does All That Money Go?

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Every year, the month of October is filled with pink ribbons, walks and marathons—even pink cleats in the NFL—all in the name of breast cancer awareness. Grocery store aisles are lined with familiar products in special-edition pink packages. In the 2009-2010 fiscal year, the breast cancer organization giant Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation reported approximately US $400 million in earnings.

With so many different fundraising events and products bearing the symbolic pink ribbon, it’s hard for consumers to know just how much of their money is being donated to help find a cure for breast cancer and what is simply being pocketed by companies.

Do you know the best ways to make sure your money is really being used for breast cancer research?

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Sandra Miniutti, vice president of marketing and CFO of Charity Navigator, says breast cancer is one cause that tends to not only unify, but also pulls at donors’ heartstrings, leading many to give blindly without doing due diligence on charities and products. In addition, watchdog groups, activists, and even survivors are calling for more research funding and less pink saturation in the market. And man

“The ultimate reason to support a charity is its results,” Miniutti says. “Review their website to assess recent accomplishments and goals; this is an area where many donors run into trouble with breast cancer. They think they are supporting research, but it’s really advocacy or awareness.”