State Reviewing Breast Cancer Campaigns
As businesses and consumers participate in National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced a review of cause marketing campaigns that promise to benefit breast cancer charities with the sale of certain products and services.
At the Attorney General’s direction, the Charities Bureau has sent questionnaires to companies and charities engaged in breast cancer cause marketing to solicit information about their campaigns, which merge consumer sales with charitable giving by advertising that purchases will support breast cancer organizations.
“National Breast Cancer Awareness Month continues to raise our understanding of and support for breast cancer charities, and consumers who intend to support this cause deserve to know that their purchases do the good promised,” Schneiderman said. “This review will help ensure that cause marketing campaigns provide the benefit that’s expected, and that we protect consumers, charities, and above all, the women and families affected by this devastating disease.”
Cause marketing campaigns have become an important fundraising tools for charities, particularly those focused on breast cancer, and this review is intended to promote the public’s confidence in supporting these campaigns. The information obtained will assist the Attorney General’s office in ensuring that cause marketing sufficiently protects both consumers and charities.
Schneiderman’s initiative follows other actions taken to protect the breast cancer cause, the donors who give and people it serves. In June, the Attorney General sued to shut down the Coalition Against Breast Cancer, a sham charity that fraudulently raised millions of dollars under the guise of fighting breast cancer. In August, two defendants pleaded guilty to criminal charges for misusing more than $500,000 donated to the phony Coalition For Breast Cancer Cures. The money intended to fight breast cancer was diverted to pay for personal travel, shopping and other unlawful extravagancies.
The Attorney General offered the following tips to consumers when purchasing products sold in cause marketing campaigns:
Check The Benefit Amount. Read the
packaging, contact the charity or product manufacturer to find out how
much of the purchase price will actually be donated.
See Who Will Benefit. Does the promotion clearly state which charity will
receive the donations? Are you familiar with the charity? Visit the Attorney General’s searchable charities
registry at www.charitiesnys.com for
more information about the organization that stands to benefit.
Find Out How Purchase Will Make A
Difference. In some cases, the business has agreed to donate a specific
amount, regardless of the number of
items sold. Others will limit the
amount they will donate, and may
have reached that amount by the time
of your purchase. See if such limits
Ask About Additional Action. Read the
fine print on the label before you make
the purchase – some companies
require you to take further action to
complete the donation, entering a code
on a website or mailing in a proof of
purchase. You may also be asked to
provide personal information, such as
your name and email address, to complete the process.
Check The Date. Many cause marketing campaigns have a time limit.
Check the packaging to see if one is
mentioned and, if so, whether it has
For general information on donating
to charity, see the Attorney General’s
Tips on Charitable Giving.