With thousands of charities competing for donations, it can be difficult to know where a financial gift to a good cause will make the biggest impact.

This article outlines the top breast cancer charities in the United States and their specific contributions to the cause, plus other factors to keep in mind before donating.

The history of the pink ribbon

Doctor wearing pink ribbon of breast cancer.
The pink ribbon is a symbol of breast cancer, and is often sold to raise money for breast cancer charities.

Breast cancer activist and survivor Charlotte Hayley inspired the design of the pink ribbon, which is still in use today.

Hayley initially handed out peach-colored looped ribbons that she made herself with a card stating: “The National Cancer Institute’s annual budget is $1.8 billion, only 5 percent goes for cancer prevention. Help us wake up our legislators and America by wearing this ribbon.”

In 1991, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation first gave out pink ribbons to participants in its annual Race For the Cure in New York City. The ribbon did not become famous until 1992 when Estee Lauder cosmetic counters nationwide gave out pink ribbons for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which takes place in October every year.

In 1993, Avon released a $2 enamel and gold-cast pink ribbon broach. In the first 2 years alone, the Avon pin raised $10 million dollars, encouraging many other companies and charities to create pink ribbon products.

Questions to ask

The easiest way to know that 100 percent of donated funds go to charity is to give directly to the organization. Donating to organizations in person, by mail, or online is also the only way to receive a tax credit for the donation.

When it comes to pink ribbon products, the portion of proceeds that goes directly toward breast cancer charities varies. Some companies have faced criticism for using the pink ribbon as a marketing tool while they donate very little to the cause itself.

Breast Cancer Action’s Think Before You Pink campaign recommends asking a few important questions before purchasing pink ribbon products.

Questions to ask before buying pink include:

  • How much, if any, of the product’s proceeds, go toward charity?
  • Which organization gets the money?
  • Does the organization receiving the proceeds run programs or sponsor research that will help stop the breast cancer epidemic?
  • Does the company selling the pink ribbon product also support, sell, or manufacture products tied to breast cancer, such as cosmetics containing chemicals that have been linked to cancer?
  • Is there a cap, or maximum amount, set by the company on their donations to breast cancer charities? Will they notify customers once the cap has been met?

Top breast cancer charities in the U.S.

Here is a helpful list of some of the best breast cancer charities in the U.S., organized by how they contribute to the cause.

Breast cancer research

Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation

Fundraising for breast cancer charity with a marathon.
Knowing how donations…