This year I will ask anyone that wants to get me something for the holiday to make a contribution to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital instead. If they were going to spend $1 on me, or $100, I will ask that it go to someone who can use it. I am the most fortunate man in the world and there is nothing I want other than knowing that maybe, because of me, someone has it a little easier. I chose St. Judes because I am familiar with their work and I have checked them out to make sure that more money goes to research and treatment than to ads and administration. That being said, we all need to check our holiday charities to be sure that they are really using what we give the way we intended.
Some organizations use their “charities” as a marketing tool and they have little interest in actually being charitable. We see ads that tell us if we buy their product, they will donate to “Save the Planet, or fight Breast Cancer, or several others. They plan whole campaigns around appearing charitable, so we can feel good about buying their junk. Which organizations are actually contributing to a cause and which organizations are turning a profit?
If you follow the money, it’s pretty eye-opening. A great example is the “Think Before You Pink” campaign that urges people to “do something besides shop.” When actually many “pink” sponsors are industrial giants that are harmful to the environment and spend more money on breast cancer-themed advertisements than they actually donate towards research or treatment, The Breast Cancer Association asks consumers to reflect thoughtfully on questions like, “How much money was spent marketing the product?” or “What is the company doing to assure that its products are not contributing to the breast cancer epidemic?” BCA has pointed their fingers in the direction of major cosmetic companies such as Avon, Revlon, and Estée Lauder, which have claimed to promote women’s health while simultaneously using known and/or suspected cancer-causing chemicals, such as parabens and phthalates in their products.
Click HERE for a news broadcast (New York) that states the case well and even offers insight from the Better Business Bureau.
If your thing is the environment, sponsor it. If it’s breast cancer, fight it . Whatever it is, get involved. Maybe you could tell friends and family that they will get small gifts because the lion share of your holiday spending will be to an organization. Just be careful and do your due diligence before signing over the check.