Think Before You Pink

Breast Cancer Action (BCAction) in the San Francisco Bay area was one of the first breast cancer organizations to raise concerns formally about the cancer industry and profiteering in the name of the cause.

In 2002 BCAction started the Think Before You Pink® campaign, which calls for transparency and accountability by companies that take part in breast cancer fundraising, and encourages consumers to ask critical questions about pink ribbon promotions.

If you are not yet familiar with the think before you pink campaign, think about it now!

  1. Does any money from this purchase go to support breast cancer programs? How much?
  2. What organization will get the money? What will they do with the funds, and how do these programs turn the tide of the breast cancer epidemic?
  3. Is there a “cap” on the amount the company will donate? Has this maximum donation already been met? Can you tell?
  4. Does this purchase put you or someone you love at risk for exposure to toxins linked to breast cancer? What is the company doing to ensure that its products are not contributing to the breast cancer epidemic?

The New York State Attorney General’s Office has also taken an unprecedented first step in establishing a set of best practices for transparent cause marketing.

  • Make sure the charity is named.
  • Look for specific donation amounts.
  • See if any action is required. Some companies require you to take additional action after purchase, such as registering information on-line or mailing in a product label.
  • Check if the campaign has ended. Cause marketing campaigns usually have a time limit.
  • Although transparent cause marketing should make that clear, be on the lookout for language that the company “has contributed $X” or “will contribute $Y” to a charity. This language often indicates a fixed donation.

If you still have questions about the product or service after asking these questions, consider boycotting the purchase, writing a letter to the company or organization to demand transparency, encouraging others to take action against pink profiteering, and/or giving directly to people or organizations whose work you believe in.

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