Have you seen a pink ribbon recently? Perhaps on the shirt or backpack of someone in the street? Or maybe on a can of soup or a yogurt cup? Though, honestly, if it were me, I would stick to bumper stickers (ha ha). Who would want to eat yogurt and soup with cancer on it? Does anyone else see how unappetizing and trivializing this is?
One of my favorite authors, Barbara Ehrenreich, a breast cancer survivor and author of “Nickeled and Dimed, and most recently, “Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America,” calls this phenomenon “Welcome to Cancerland.”
Before putting your pink yogurt in your mouth, have you ever asked yourself, “How much of this actually goes to stopping breast cancer?”
Well, perhaps you should “Think Before You Pink.” They’ve compiled a list of questions to ask yourself when buying a “cause-related” product. A $4.95 yogurt might only give 50 cents to your cause of breast cancer. Is that really an effective way to support a cause?
Cause marketing. It’s why corporations give to your cause. You think that maybe they really believe that you’re making a difference and want to help?
Think again. It’s good business for them to support you. Check out this marketing report. It directly affects their bottom line when people see them doing good. It can be known as white-washing, green-washing, or pink-washing. Their brand is washed with your brand, making them more attractive to consumers. So you’ll buy toilet paper that is “green.” or yogurt that is “pink.” This knowledge can arm you in how to make the ask for corporate sponsorships and donations.
Dust off your donation policy. Who do you accept donations from? Who is anathema to your cause and why? If you’re an organization that has vowed to stop cancer, you’re not touching big tobacco companies. If you’re a humane society, you’re running fast from Proctor and Gamble (they’re big on kitten vivisections).
Every donation is a political decision. Every purchase is a political decision. Now more than ever.
What are you going to stand for?