Charitable Gift Giving

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2009

September 30th, 2009 · No Comments · Breast Cancer

pink ribbonIn June 1990, the Susan G. Komen foundation started to do something which would change the face of charitable gift giving. They started to hand out pink ribbons at their annual race in Washington, DC to promote awareness for the scourge of breast cancer. The next year, they handed out pink ribbons to all participants of their Race for the Cure in New York. After that, Estee Lauder started to distribute pink ribbons in their stores.

The rest, as they say, is history. Retailers around the country started to jump on the pink bandwagon. In the past few years on this site, when October comes around, we’ll feature products from some of these retailers ranging from pink pool balls to pink bowls to pink fishing poles to pink hammers to my personal favorite, the Pink KitchenAid mixer.  

You may notice on this blog that we don’t really feature a lot of pink products throughout the year. This is because there are so many thousands of pink products out there, we could literally spend all year talking about nothing but pink products, and we want to give all worthy causes some exposure. However, because pink ribbon products are the “granddaddy” of charitable gift giving, for the month of October we’ll focus specifically on breast cancer products in commemoration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Pink ribbon products have their detractors, and some of the arguments do have merit. It’s true that in many cases, the percentage of the proceeds donated to Breast Cancer awareness and research is a tiny amount. In some cases, the self-interest of the manufacturer or retailer clearly outweighs the concern they truly have for the cause–they’ll issue press release after press release touting how much they care, but in reality they’re just after some free publicity.

Despite all this, I’m still of the mindset that pink ribbon products are a good thing. Why? Because they bring awareness to the cause. Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women, affecting 1 in 8 women. And yet if detected and treated early, the survival rate is over 90%. What these products do is serve as a conversation piece for women to talk about the subject; discuss getting early mammograms, discuss which breast cancer charities to plan for giving generous donations, etc. The cost of buying an ad campaign to reach millions and millions of women is astronomical, but if every household had a kitchy pink product that got people talking about the subject, it could serve the same purpose.

That said, the one piece of advice I would make is, enjoy the products we’ll be featuring here for the next month, but after you’ve bought your cute pink product or have run in your local breast cancer race, consider a very generous donation to an organization that supports breast cancer awareness and research. Charity Navigator provides a good list of the best breast cancer charities that are run efficiently and effectively and need your help.


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