Amidst the chaos of Halloween season and the beginning of the Winter holidays, we too often forget that October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This month, and the larger movement to raise awareness, has been symbolized by the breast cancer pink ribbon since the early 1990s.

According to, Roughly 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Men also face the risk of breast cancer, but only at the rate of 1 in 1,000. Though breast cancer-related deaths have decreased since 1989, the cancer is still expected to take the lives of 40,450 women this year alone.

Advances have been made, but there is still an immense amount of work to be done. Myra Biblowit, President and CEO of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), says that “What stands between today and a cure [for breast cancer] is simply funding.”

We delved into the numbers to figure out how to make that funding possible.

To begin our research, we asked:

55% of adults have not donated to breast cancer organizations.

45% of U.S. Adults have donated to organizations that support breast cancer awareness or research, but 55% have not. Of those, 7% plan to.

What do we know about these folks? How can they be convinced to donate to this life-or-death cause?

I Have Not Donated to Fight Breast Cancer 

I was shocked to find that this group is almost evenly split between men and women, with a slightly higher percentage of men. We found several key insights that may help convince them to pitch in a dollar or two for this important cause.

First, they are price conscious in all areas of their lives. This may relate to the fact that they are less likely to make $100k+ a year, or that they’re more likely to be Millennials. The fact is, they’re on a tighter budget than those who have donated.

Therefore, we can assume if they did donate, it would be in smaller increments — $1, $5, $10 etc… These donations may be best collected in discount stores where they are more likely to shop. Next, organizations may want to consider food preferences and think about fundraising through restaurants.

People who have not donated are more likely to favor restaurants with healthy menu items, as opposed to those who have donated that prefer restaurants with diverse menu items. To meet these folks where they already are, it may be useful for breast cancer organizations to advertise and/or partner with healthy food or clean eating restaurants. Perhaps adding a message at the end of each purchase, such as “Would you like to donate $1 to fight breast cancer” may be best-suited in these restaurants, as opposed to others.

Most likely due to their young age of 18-34, we found that they are more likely to be influenced by TV ads, and are also more likely to actively use Twitter. This may be a good place to target this group.

These folks are also more likely than those who have donated, or those that intend to, to prefer informative commercials, and 58% of them prefer funny commercials. Harboring a mix of these two genres may resonate with the greatest portion of non-donors.

I Have Not Donated to Fight Breast Cancer, but I Intend To 

As anyone who has made a New Year’s Resolution knows, just because we intend to do something, does not mean that it will happen. However, the motivation is there — so how can organizations convince these potential donors to follow through?

Along with those who haven’t donated and don’t intend to, this group is more likely to be 18-34, and 50% make under $50k a year. So, right off the bat we can tell that this group is younger and less wealthy than those who have donated, which is not all too surprising.

These folks differ in restaurant preferences from those who don’t plan to donate. We found that they are more likely to favor restaurants with a pleasant atmosphere, and to eat most often as fast food restaurants. Organizations and charities may want to implement a strategy to? engage these folks in fast food restaurants, rather than healthy restaurants which people who don’t donate prefer.

Next, we found that this group is more likely to try new products before other people do. So, partnering with new products and companies may prove useful for breast cancer research and awareness organizations. Perhaps when new products launch, they can have the pink ribbon symbol on the packaging, or these folks can be provided the opportunity to donate when in line to buy new and exciting products. Though a stretch, maybe companies would reduce the cost of their new products in exchange for a donation – to get these potential donors on board. Many health and beauty companies already do this, but there seems to be greater partner potential in the consumer tech space as well. Ford, for one, has already jumped on.

A graph showing the relationship between breast cancer donations and consumer tech interest

On a related note, we found that these folks are more likely to use their mobile devices for banking. There could be a way to incorporate this into fundraising efforts as well.

Lastly, we found that 19% watch over 10 hours of music/entertainment TV a week. That is significantly higher than the other groups, so music and entertainment TV may be a useful platform to reach this group. In crafting potential commercials and PSAs through this medium and others, it may be important to consider that 64% of this group most resonates with funny commercials, and 17% most resonate with emotional commercials.

The Personal Touch 

As a last thought, there is another reason that those who haven’t donated might be younger, and that those who have donated tend to be over 55 years old. One reason, as we’ve shown earlier, is that younger people tend to have less money, but it could also be something else.

There are very few known facts about breast cancer, but one of them is that the risk and prevalence of cancer increase with age.

Maybe these younger people haven’t donated because they haven’t been affected personally by the issue. Maybe they just have not seen what breast cancer looks like, because very few of their peers are affected by it.

If that is the case, it could be useful for organizations that promote breast cancer awareness and research to introduce these younger people to survivors of breast cancer. Maybe during the month of October and beyond, organizations can bring in survivors to speak at high schools and colleges.

That way, when this group has enough money to donate, or are presented with the opportunity to donate a dollar or two, they will be more likely to. Programs like this already exist for ovarian cancer and other diseases, and a similar model may work for breast cancer as well.

If this has compelled you to donate, check out the following organizations that all work to fight breast cancer:

National Breast Cancer Foundation
Breast Cancer Alliance
National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund
Living Beyond Breast Cancer

To find more, or explore details about each charity, check out Charity Navigator’s resource for breast cancer charities.

Featured image credit

October is also National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. For all of you dog lovers, check out our latest post on who adopts and who shops.