OMG it’s the Pink-Ness Monster…

I can start to feel the presence of the Pink-Ness Monster all around me.  A bit like the seeping fog in an old horror film and swirling her way around, well, everything.  One of the things that the PNM does so well is to distract the attention of those she comes across, and feed them some well worn propaganda about early detection, mammograms and Pink being the solution to everyone’s ills.

She has persuaded big companies, and small companies for that matter, that it is ok to Pinkwash.  The charity begins, and ends, in the boardroom.  Since when has it been ok to sell things under what are virtually false pretences?  Buy our Pink and all will be well because you know what that Pink represents.  It represents Breast Cancer and Survivorship and Every Thing Will Be Ok If We Catch It Early, and if it is Pink it is assumed that it must be sold for charity, not profit.  But what exactly is it when it is being sold under this guise and nothing, or only a small amount, will go to charity?  It is all very well a big company saying that they will donate up to £100,000 to breast cancer when the extra sales that the Pink will cause makes the company £300,000 in extra profit?  They are still far ahead on this deal.  In fact it has cost them nothing and they have actually profitted substantially from their pledge of up to £100,000.

Does the PNM really try to do anything about this exploitation?  No!  In fact some become complicit in the whole thing and have found it to be such a good money spinner they have gone into partnership with some of the Pinkwashers without, it would seem, question why there has to be a limit on the ‘donation’.  Now if a company doesn’t sell enough of the product to be able to genuinely afford the ‘donation’ then I can understand if they cannot give the full amount.  But is they are making a lot of extra profit from the products they are using the PNM and her ribbon as at best a PR and marketing tool, and at worst as a dupe in their game (other terms are available, but you get my drift).

I always used to believe that charities, non-profits, whatever you want to call them, were actually set up to do what they say on the tin.  In other words, and just incase you don’t know the advert that is derived from and are wondering what a tin has to do with this, if they say the are searching for a cure then that is what they should be doing, and at minimal cost.  Charities are now Big Business, and a good career move for some.  After all you can do some PR that is about a real cause, get paid well, it’ll look good on your CV, and is not about the ego of the latest ‘celebrity’ before they disappear into oblivion again.

It is also about that sacred cow of profit – Branding.  Cancer Research UK have just unveiled their latest Brand upgrade.  After all, who wants to be seen in a Brand that is 10 years old.  We have to be hip, we have to be young, we have to be vibrant, we have to be relevant – or do we?  What is wrong with a Logo which everyone recognises?  How much have they spent on this image renewal, when cancer patients are dying?  Who are the people who donate to charity?  The hip young things who claim they have no money on them when you ask for just 1 penny for, say, the Haiti Earthquake emergency appeal?  Or those who are a bit older, and who were quite happy with the Logo that you had.  How much headed note paper can now not be used, except for scrap paper,  what about all the stuff with the old Logo on?  What about the expense of changing the Logo on the printing of all of these things, let along the cost of the design itself.?

All of these institutions still rely on a hoard of volunteers to fundraise for them, or is it fundraising for the new office furniture that the money is going to?  Working for charity is no longer about bad pay and vocation and believing in the cause you are working for; it seems to be about a career move and creating profit for administration etc, and what is left over can be used for the cause.  There are some organisations that still seem to be able to do what they publicise that they do.  METAvivor, for instance, raises money for metastatic breast cancer research and every penny they raise goes to that.  The people you see on the web site are the people who do the work, as far as I know without remmuneration, and they actually use sponsors to pay their expenses if they put on a conference etc. so that the donations still go to the cause because someone else is paying the running expenses.  As far as I know the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network is run on similar lines.  How about the Cancer Research UK and Komen’s of this world?

In fact wouldn’t that we a better way to use corporate sponsorship?  Get them to fund the staff salaries, the office furniture, the Branding, so that every penny that little people like me give to these charities goes to do what they say they do on the tin?

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