How much of the proceeds from that pink product actually benefit breast cancer awareness/testing/research? Here’s a pitch that arrived in my email box this morning — with two changes, which I’ll reveal in the next paragraph.
As October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month I wanted to take a moment to share some information regarding [BigCompany] and [CancerCharity] as I thought this might be a fit for your readers…. [BigCompany] recently launched an online Design and Buy program that allows visitors to design their own T-shirts adorned with messages of hope, love and support. Additionally, [BigCompany and t-shirt partner CafePress] will keep 90 percent of the proceeds from all custom T-shirts through the Design and Buy program to [CancerCharity]. I thought this could be an interactive and engaging way to discuss the various ways your readers can get involved in spreading awareness and hope during Breast Cancer awareness month.
Okay, I’ll bite. Let’s discuss ways you can get involved in spreading awareness and hope. But let’s not all flock over to BigCompany’s web site to give them and CafePress 90% of the proceeds from an item that you weren’t looking to buy anyway (unless you are desparate for another t-shirt in your closet).
What did I change in the indented paragraph? Just the bolded words. The original pitch said “donate 10 percent;” I changed it to “keep 90 percent” (and added a strike-through to the end clause for clarity). What’s the difference? None. Now let’s talk it through:
BigCompany’s site is powered by CafePress. CafePress allows anyone to make t-shirts and make 10% commission on each shirt. BigCompany’s t-shirts sell for $18, plus tax, shipping, and handling. When I put one in my cart and went to checkout, I was also charged $5.25 for S&H, a not unreasonable amount, bringing the total for the t-shirt to $23.25. Ten percent of the proceeds is between $1.80 and $0.18, depending on whether we’re talking gross or net proceeds. But there’s no situation that I can see where the amount is more than $1.80. Is that enough? Is that what you meant to donate?
Do good. Donate. But be careful not to fall into the trap of thinking you’re making a much bigger contribution ($23.25) vs. what you actually are ($1.80, or 18 cents).
Please note: This BigCompany is just one of many companies participating in pink promotions or even worse, pinkwashing, this year. It’s by no means the worst offender… but they did *ask* me to write about their promotion today. And so I did.