October is about more than just wearing pink– find out how you can get involved.
By Melissa Brock | Published: September 26, 2018
Every October, the world busts out the hot pink in honor of Breast
Cancer Awareness Month, an annual international health campaign organized by
major breast cancer charities in the United Statees with a mission of raising funds for research into the causes, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure of the disease. Professional athletes trade in their team colors
for pink gear, and retail stores flood their racks with purchase-able pink
items: pink apparel, pink jewelry, pink decor and more. You can even buy pink
ribbon pasta on Amazon.
According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, a woman
is diagnosed with breast cancer every two minutes and one woman dies due to
breast cancer every 13 minutes. Susan G. Komen, the largest breast cancer
organization in the United States, estimates that there will be 268,670 new
cases of invasive breast cancer in 2018 alone.
While these statistics are sobering, breast cancer mortality rates
have declined 39 percent due to the continued dedication to researching the
Breast Cancer Awareness is a cause we can all rally behind, but
many people have questioned whether or not whipping out your credit card to buy all
of that pink gear is the best way to join the fight.
How you can get involved (beyond wearing pink)
Wearing pink is a great way to raise awareness of breast cancer
and show your support of a loved one with the disease. However, simply wearing
a pink sweatshirt won’t help eradicate breast cancer as much as actually
donating money for research.
Here are a few ways you can get involved throughout October:
- Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks: The American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast
Cancer three- to five-mile walks raise awareness
and money to fund research, offer support services and promote early
detection. The American Cancer Society has teamed up with Avon, which is
now the national presenting sponsor.
- The National Race for the Cure: The Susan G.
Komen Race for the Cure® Series, a series of 5K runs and fitness walks,
celebrates breast cancer survivors and honors those who have lost their
battle with the disease. The Komen Race Series encourages people of all
ages and fitness levels, from walkers to elite runners. Learn more about how to participate.
- Susan G. Komen 3-Day: This 60-mile walk
over the course of three days raises $2,300 per participant to help end breast cancer. The Susan G. Komen 3-Day supports a goal to
reduce the current number of breast cancer deaths in the U.S. by 50
percent by 2026.
- You can also host an
event, help fundraise, make a non-cash gift, utilize Amazon Smile, give
through your workplace or include a breast cancer charity in your estate
through planned giving. If you wish to honor someone whose life has been
impacted by cancer, you can also do so through memorial giving.
How to maximize charitable donations to breast cancer
There are a variety of ways to donate to Komen, according to Lisa
Giuroiu, vice president for corporate partnerships at Komen. “The easiest way
is to go to our website, ww5.komen.org. If they go to that website page,
there’s a donate button at the top, and if you click on that, you can very
easily donate,” she said.
You can also donate using cash back rewards.
Americans fail to redeem billions of dollars in credit card rewards every year,
so it’s possible to turn those unused dollars over to a breast cancer charity.
Certain airline and hotel companies have created
special programs to donate miles and points and have made it easy to allocate
those dollars to the breast cancer charity of your choice. Some loyalty
programs will even match your donation.
- Log in to your airline,
hotel or issuer loyalty account.
- Choose a breast cancer
charity. Most programs let you donate to big-name nonprofits,
such as the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
the points, miles or cash back you’d like to donate.
Rewards are usually deducted from your balance, and your donation
will be reflected (usually through your loyalty program or the charity to
which you’ve donated).
Charities can use
miles and points in a variety of ways. The Breast Cancer Research Foundation,
for example, uses donated miles to connect researchers around the world.
Charity Charge MasterCard
The Charity Charge MasterCard is another way to give directly to breast cancer charities. Charity
Charge is a public benefit corporation based in Austin, Texas. If you’re a
cardholder, you can earn 1 percent cash back and donate it to the charity of your
choice. It doesn’t deduct a processing fee, which means the breast cancer
charity you choose gets all the money you’re donating. It’s a snap to donate to
any breast cancer charity; Charity Charge’s system pulls from the GuideStar
database that contains all 501(c)(3) organizations in the U.S.
Bank of America Susan G. Komen® Cash Rewards Visa®
Giuroiu, there’s a way to donate to Komen regularly through
the Bank of America Susan G. Komen® Cash Rewards Visa®.
“People can make a difference by
using this credit card and using it on a regular basis. They’re able to make an
impact without thinking about it,” Giuroiu says.
More than $8
million has been donated to Susan G. Komen through the card since 2009.
Giuroiu says that using the card can net you 3 percent cash back on gas, 2 percent at grocery
stores and wholesale clubs and 1 percent on everything else for the first $2,500 each quarter. In addition, once approved for the card, you’ll get a
$200 cash back bonus after spending $500 in the first 90 days of opening the
account. The card features low fees, tiered
rewards that do not expire and an online cash bonus.
“The beauty of the card is that a donation is made to Komen while at the
same time, the consumer is getting their own cash back rewards,” Giuroiu said.
“If you’re interested in saving lives and helping with research, this card is
the way to do it.”
You can also open
a Pink Ribbon checking account offered by Bank of America, and a contribution will be made to Susan G. Komen. You’ll
also get checks, statements and debit
cards with the Susan G. Komen logo printed on them.
Set up your own fundraiser
It’s also possible to set up your own fundraiser using a credit
card connected to PayPal. PayPal offers discounted transaction rates for
donations to 501(c)(3) organizations. There are no extra fees for setup,
statements or withdrawals. PayPal charges 2.2 percent and $0.30 per transaction and no
monthly fee for charities.
You can get sponsors for any activity under the sun:
a yoga event
bike, hike, walk, etc.
The American Cancer Society has taken crowdfunding by storm. You
can visit the website at crowdrise.com/americancancersociety and go to “Start a Fundraiser”. One great example is the “Corvettes Racing for the Cure” breast cancer fundraiser, which has
raised over $15,000 by gathering Corvette and car enthusiasts on a racetrack to
raise money and awareness.
You can also consider throwing an old-fashioned party and asking
friends and family to donate to the cause. You can then turn around and donate
using your personal credit card after all monetary contributions have been
Also consider using your birthday to raise awareness and funds. In
lieu of gifts, donate or pledge your birthday instead, and tell everyone you
to avoid donating to a scam
be tough to discern whether you’re donating to a reputable organization. Breast
cancer charities are no exception. Inspector/protectors
like the American Institute of
Philanthropy and Charity
Navigator are great resources if you’re not sure if the
charity you’re contemplating is the best one.
Charity Navigator, it’s best to research how much of a charity’s total expenses
are spent on programs or services before you donate online. A reputable breast
cancer charity should spend about 75 percent on programs and services. Also, ideally,
a minimum of 15 percent should go toward administrative expenses for overhead costs,
including hiring and paying employees.
Here are some of
the most reputable breast cancer charities, according to both Charity Navigator
and the American Institute of Philanthropy:
Beware of “pinkwashing”
Just because an item for purchase
features a pink ribbon, it doesn’t necessarily mean the purchase actually benefits
breast cancer research and finding a cure. The term “pinkwashing” refers to a
company’s claims that it supports breast cancer programs when the company’s
contributions to a breast cancer charity aren’t directly tied to the purchases
“There are a variety of businesses
that do that, and they’re not transparent in how they’re generating money for
the cause and what the consumer is actually doing to impact the cause,” Giuroiu
Ultimately, if you’re not sure a company will truly turn your donation into a benefit for a breast cancer
charity (or the company won’t tell you which breast cancer organizations will
get the money), the best way to be absolutely sure you’re benefiting a breast
cancer charity is to donate directly online to that charity.
Benefits to donation
addition to contributing to the research for a cure, you can also qualify for a
Breast cancer charities should all be 501(c)(3)
organizations, so your donations are deductible for federal or state tax
purposes as allowed by law. Planned giving, which also include bequests and
gift annuities, may also offer tax and/or financial advantages. (Note that
airline and hotel points donations are not tax-deductible.)
According to Charity Navigator, your gift to a qualified charitable
organization could allow you to obtain a charitable contribution deduction
against your income tax as long as you itemize deductions. If you itemize, your
total deductions should be greater than the standard deduction. Under the
new tax legislation, an individual’s total itemized
deductions must exceed $12,000 (that figure is up from the past amount of
$6,350). Married couples need to make sure their deductions exceed
$24,000 (which is up from the past standard deduction of $12,700).
The bottom line
There is much work to be done, according to Giuroiu, and the
workload reaches beyond just wearing pink.
“It seems there has been complacency around breast cancer and the
urgency that has existed has waned somewhat,” Giuroiu adds. “Our perspective is
that that’s not OK. Breast cancer is killing people. We find that to be
That’s why Giuroiu encourages individuals to use the Bank of America Susan G. Komen® Cash Rewards Visa® to help
advance the breast cancer cause. “From a credit card perspective, this is one
way that people can do something very, very easy to join the fight and help find
the cures that need to be found,” she says. “Everyone has the ability to impact
and save a life. Everyone can be a part of the solution.”
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