Dollars for a cause or for profits?

I was at the Grocery store last night. A big chain. So, I was at the counter, quietly watching the cashier total my bill up. She handed it to me while I was just about to swipe my credit card, and then it happened. “Would you like to donate for our Children *insert generic disease* awareness program?” I looked down at my fingernails and mumbled a ‘No’ and swiped my card. The Cashier’s smile faltered a bit when she wished me good night. I face this guilt all the time. If I start donating a $ every time I go into a store that has such charities, I am going to be out of literally a 100 bucks a month because almost every store has something or the other.

These stores are very profitable businesses. They play up their being involved in charities with huge marketing strategies and aplomb. What is the point in taking money from customers and donating? If you want to do it, pay from your profits! I do not understand how and when did they turn their involvement with charities into such a big marketing and business ploy. I have read plenty of reports saying how they are earning big profits in the name of donations. This is not OK! Mind you, I do charities. But I prefer putting money directly into research centers where diseases are involved, or blind schools or animal shelters. Somewhere, where the money directly reaches where it should, and not through the big capitalist organizations. I do not want to give them their non-profit tax cuts and extra profits.

Last year, I got very involved with one of the 5k runs that supports Bre*st Cancer awareness. I organized a company fundraiser where we grilled burgers in the premises and raised about a $1000. Yet, I wasn’t particularly happy with what I was doing. The xBF’s cousin works with Elle magazine where she is the Bre*st Cancer month’s program manager. They organize shopping events and such things in October and advertise wearing pink to work. The more I looked at it, the more I wonder. How is wearing pink and shopping going to raise awareness for bre*st cancer. This is strictly my opinion, but funds are needed for research at college level for cancer. But actual funds reaching after all this hoopla is very very less. Most of it ends up going into campaigns, flyers, promotions, and into the manpower. Last year I asked some of the people involved with the Elle pink campaign or who bought exclusively pink products in October or wore the color on the designated date about how they have translated these campaigns to benefit their lives. 1 out of 8 girls has ever gotten a gynaec exam, and none of them have gotten a mammogram done. That 1 girl was 34 and had a baby. Just saying.

What sins have lungs, thyroid, prostrate(insanely common) committed that their cancers are not marketed as well? Skin Cancer is a huge, big deal! Tell me honestly, how many of you wear sunscreens religiously? Also, tell me how many of you have never scoffed at a person rubbing sunscreen on themselves, saying something like, “please, tanning is not that bad…”? Tell honestly! Why don’t we see yellow(skin colored?) ribbons popping up everywhere? Skin Cancer is highly preventable! Yet, we are lacking major awareness and seriousness here. It is as serious as breast cancer by the way, and I have seen my neighbor’s ageing father die from it. He was a farmer in his younger days, and his end was very painful. It was unbearable to even see him in his last few days. My grandfather passed away because of prostate cancer. He was slipping in and out of coma in his last three days, was in extreme pain and getting amnesia. It was extremely sad. I read that they used to market bre*st cancer awareness as making it a ‘preventable disease’. Now they have changed it to ‘early detection’.

Is this because bre*sts are more attractive? Is this because it gives a feminist side to marketing? Does the whole pink vibe give it a chic edge and gets elites and corporates to look good? I have done some research on the whole pink-ness of big corporations and here is what I have come up with. Many cosmetic giants sell special pink products, which are known to have hormone altering products and known carcinogens. They say it is ‘just a little bit’. But, seriously?

A company sells pink paper clips to raise awareness. But does not donate. How are paper clips involved with b**bies? Please enlighten me. An alcohol company decided to sell pink margherita for awareness. Alcohol. Cancer. Liver can go eat shit. A fast food chain is serving a 2000 calorie appetizer in a pink bucket. How cute. Ooh, buy a $125 compact powder in a pink case and the company will donate 20% of it to a 100,000 dollar cap. Even if it sells pink products worth a million dollar profit. You guys do the math.

Do you rememebr the ALS bucket challenge? It had reached a crazy level where shrieking people were dunking buckets on themselves. California is going through a huge 3 year drought. I have not seen rains in a looooong time. The water situation in India, well, is at a point that the more we save, the lesser it will be. How much sense does it make to waste buckets of water over that? People were putting videos up without donations. I would rather take my daily shower with the tap turned to the coldest level and donate some bucks.

I feel sort of pessimistic and a party pooper here. My beef is not with charities and donations. My problem is that the money is going into campaigns and marketings and flyers and pretty pink stuff instead of going to schools, labs, research institutes. Another area that the money must go is to support the low income groups with diseases. Please do your research well. It is extremely important to raise funds for health research, but it is equally important to understand as consumers and donors to draw a line between clever marketing and genuine campaigns. Don’t just go on a pink product buying spree. Think and act. But well, do act. Earlier this year I did a cycling session in a very famous gym event and raised a couple of 1000s. We had some good sponsors as well. The money went to the hospital’s ‘rare children’s disease’ research program directly and also to help kids admitted there. I will like to participate in that again. All the girls who have heard, read or in anyways come across pink campaigns, please do get yourself checked once in a year with a routine mammogram and pelvic exam. Let us use the awareness campaigns to our fullest extent. Guys, make sure you take care as well.

Janhit mein jaari! 😀 (Issued in public interest)

P.S. I succumbed to pressure this morning because of an overly smiling cashier. I am such a hypocrite.

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21 thoughts on “Dollars for a cause or for profits?

  1. Totally agree ! It is good that for-profit Corporations to contribute to society, but do it out your own money ! Donations are for non-profits who are engaged in causes. And you nailed the unfortunate cost of raising funds !

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  2. I am so proud of you ❤ and I have eventually stopped 'donating' to these big corporate giants' 'initiatives'. I did a few times, it wasn't due to pressure though. I just felt like – donation why not! If my 10 Rs. can help, then why not? I know, sounds very ignorant. It's just a waste, I would rather use those to actually help someone. With you on the ALS thing, like stop wasting water already people!!
    Regarding the Breast Cancer awareness, yes, even I think it's because Breast Cancer is easier to market on or to grab attention. Women, breasts, pink, shopping – that is attention grabbing enough for both genders. 🙂
    PS: I do wear sunscreens religiously (umm, ok I don't but I am sure I'll get there 😛 )

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  3. I need to read and dig in more to fully understand if funds for charities really don’t flow to the cause. I like you don’t add money to the grocery cause being supported. I do make an exception for premies for some reason…march of dimes. That said, I have friends who donate to every cause related to kids and I often think I should too and feel fairly guilty.Regarding breast cancer awareness,, I think there is still a lot of hesitancy in bringing this up with doctors, self exams and all that. I agree skin cancer is a huge deal and so is prostate cancer in men.But I don’t think it is the sheer attractiveness and marketing hoopla possibilities that get breast cancer the awareness it needs. Has it got its fair share of publlicity recently and its time to move on to other diseases? I don’t know honestly. Interesting perspective as I have looked at it this way before.

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    • Na na. Dont feel guilty. You support premies na. Bas toh phir. I support animal causes and I am told things like I dont care for people. But everyone has their own inclination.
      I have done fndraising for causes where money goes directly into cancer research and into labs. Ypu know, i have stopped donating to goodwill. I found out how a very small percent goes for actual cause and how most money from selling clothes goes to manpower. The CEO of goodwill gets a nice fat paycheck. I have found a Rescue Mission for homeless near my office where they physically give the clothes to homeless.

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  4. Well put! I honestly had no idea that skin cancer is this serious and scoff at my mother and sister when they try to get me to put on sunscreen. In fact I used the logic of farmers in India on them and it is truly saddening to know about your neighbor’s father. I hate sunscreen and make it a point to cover up with a dupatta when I drive to work thinking that is going to be enough 😦

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    • Skin Cancer is extremely common. I saw this video where they showed skin spots in UV light which are practically unseen otherwise. OMG. It was enough to drive the point home for me. I have also seen reports on drivers and all who have a completely sun damaged one arm and one side of the face with developing cancer spots. You just need to go one of the Govt. hospitals to see the number of daily wage people gathered with sun exposure related almost fatal diseases. It is very real now.

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