2. Can commercial interests be good for breast cancer awareness and ending the epidemic?

Nonprofits that provide public services need resources, financial and otherwise. When corporations that are seeking to gain political and economic favor forge ties with nonprofits, it may or may not be win-win.

Corporations in the breast cancer industry spend billions each year to promote the cause while marketing their own revenue-producing solutions to the epidemic. The range of promotional materials industry leaders use to sway public opinion about breast cancer and promote specific behaviours is far-ranging, from Web sites to press releases, to participation or sponsorship of pink ribbon events, to direct-to-consumer advertising, to logos on pink merchandise. Sometimes this results in conflicts of interest, misinformation, influence peddling, the production of toxic products that may actually contribute to cancer and other health problems, and other consequences that undermine the cause.

Is it possible for a nonprofit to maintain its integrity and critical stance about an industry that profits from the social problem it is trying to solve? Perhaps. But only if there are no strings attached and the corporations do not undermine the ultimate missions of the organizations. A strong policy on corporate contributions is a step in that direction.

Be Sociable, Share!