When you’re considering making a donation, make sure you think about where your money is going. Watchdogs like the American Institute of Philanthropy and Charity Navigator can help you figure out how your charity of choice measures up. In general, you should look for a group with a high level of spending on program expenses, meaning that the organization devotes a large percentage of its budget to the programs and services it claims to provide. A good rule of thumb is to look for organizations that spend at least 75% of their budgets on program expenses; anything below 33% suggests that an organization is not living up to its mission, according to Charity Navigator. You should also look for an association with as little money as possible going to administrative expenses, ideally less than 15%, which includes overhead costs (like rent and utilities) as well as money to hire and compensate employees.
Picking a breast cancer charity to donate to can mean sifting through hundreds of options. You can narrow your search by deciding where you want your money to go—whether it’s education, outreach, awareness, or treatment. Here, we look at a range of charities—from large to small, national to local—that focus on funding research, the crucial component of the search for a cure for breast cancer.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure
The woman behind the name: Just before Susan G. Komen lost her three-year battle with breast cancer, her sister Nancy G. Brinker promised to do everything she could to end the disease forever. In 1982, Brinker started this organization.
Where the money comes from: Proceeds come from a variety of fund-raising events, such as Race for the Cure, the Breast Cancer 3-Day walk, programs with companies like New Balance and BMW, and contributions from individual supporters.
Where the money goes: It's spent on education, fund-raising, treatment, and screening, as well as research, which the organization says comprised 28% of total spending for 2006–2007. Administrative costs accounted for 8% of spending. Overall, the organization says that 85% of spending in 2006–2007 went to program activities. In 2007, more than $2 million was granted to the American Association for Cancer Research to enhance public understanding of breast cancer prevention research. Funding also supports the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s research to improve the quality of breast cancer care.
Other ways to get involved: