Not all Charities Created Equal - Things to know before you donate

If October could have an official color it would have to be "pink." You can't go anywhere this time of year without seeing the color somewhere. That's because October is Breast Cancer Awarness Month and many businesses and organizations are join in the fight against it by selling an array of products and then donating part of the funds back to research.

But unfortunately, not all pink products and charities are created equal. If you're looking for a safe bet, try Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Jennifer Smith - who's the Secretary for Susan G. Komen for a Cure Central Wisconsin - says If you donate directly through our local chapter 75% of those proceeds stay here in our 7 county district (Lincoln, Langlade, Taylor, Wood, Portage, Marathon, and western Shawano County).

Susan G. Komen is one of the most well known and it's distinguished with it's logo. Smith says it's an italized pink ribbon with a dot over it.

Smith also touts another way to donate to breast cancer research and keep the money here in our area. By mailing in "pink" lids from Yoplait Yogurt they will return 10 cents to area. They know where to send it by the zipcode from where you mail them.

But before you donate any of your hard earned money, Smith recommends doing some research on the particular charity that your pink purchase is supporting. One of the most important things to look for - making sure 75% of the the charities proceeds are actually going to breast cancer research. Some pink products are sold just to bring awarness to the issue and really do not fund any research. Another red flag to look for is if the charity is spending a lot of money on administrative expenses.

New York's Attorney General is working to make sure charities tell donors where their money is going. He says two of the nation's largest breast cancer charities (Susan G. Komen for the Cure & Breast Cancer Research Foundation) are adopting his new guidelines. Those guidelines include having companies disclose the specific amount that will be donated from each purchase. Companies using pink ribbons and similar symbols on products also will state if a purchase triggers a donation or merely calls attention to the cause.

To check particular charities - research them through the Better Business Bureau -

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