How to responsibly donate to breast cancer organizations

TOPEKA (KSNT) — Millions of dollars are given to breast cancer organizations each October in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but it begs the question: “Where do those individual dollars actually go once you donate?”

“You need to ask, where is that money going and how much of it remains local?” says Dawn Robertson with Race Against Breast Cancer. “How much of it actually remains in Kansas?”

When you donate to a small, local organization your money will often stay in your area. Large, national organizations have the ability to fund bigger programs, but that means that it may not stay in Kansas. That’s why Robertson encourages all potential donors to do their research based on what is important to them.

It’s important to also remember that different breast cancer organizations do different things with the money that’s donated. For example, the Susan G. Komen foundation uses a large portion of donations to fund research grants and clinical trials. The National Breast Cancer Foundation focuses on education and early detection, while The Race Against Breast Cancer provides no-cost mammograms solely to women in northeast Kansas.

Doing your research also lets you know about the organization’s financial priorities. “There are a lot of nonprofits out there,” says Robertson. “A lot of organizations that couch themselves as nonprofits, but they’re actually for-profit companies.”

If an organization isn’t transparent about how much money goes to operating costs and salaries instead of screenings or research, you may want to spend your money somewhere else.

If you are interested in donating here is a resource that rates breast cancer organizations based on efficiency, accountability, transparency: Charity Navigator.

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