Consumers urged to be informed before buying pink

McDONOUGH — Consumers this month will find many items with pink labels, pink boxes and pink ribbons claiming to donate proceeds to a breast cancer charity.

It is after all, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

But Dottie Callina, communications manager with the Better Business Bureau, cautions buyers to be knowledgeable about where the money is going and how much of it will be donated.

“Pink is everywhere this month,” Callina said. “Don’t get taken just because something is pink and assume your money is going to charity.”

Callina explained for many people buying something that claims to support a breast cancer charity is often the only way they donate. She urges people to do some research about the charity and know where money is going.

“People want to support breast cancer, but there are times when the money isn’t being donated,” she said

The BBB has guidelines for determining if a charity is donating enough of money given.

“We look into the charity accountability,” Callina said. “We look to see if they’re donating at least 65 percent of money collected.”

There are also some companies or individuals who only collect money and never donate the funds. The term ‘pinkwashing’ is “used to describe unscrupulous companies that claim to support breast cancer, but never actually fulfill their claim about donating toward breast cancer charities,” according to the BBB.

This is why people need to be informed, Callina explained.

“It’s very easy to pick something up at a grocery store, but there are times when that money may not be going to charity,” she continued.

Callina recommends buyers consider the following before purchasing a pink product:

• Inspect the product for information. Many companies clearly report on labels how much of their sales go to charity and specifically where the money goes.

• Check the company’s website. If the information isn’t on the product itself, it often can be found at the website address printed on the product packaging. If the information can not be found call the company and ask for it.

• Contact a charity and ask about the donations.

The BBB also offers charity information at www.bbb.org/charity. Consumers can also visit the BBB website to see their 20 standards of accountability.