Shop for the Cure
Run for the Cure
Drink for the Cure
Bowl for the Cure
Bake for the Cure
Sell for the Cure
Cook for the Cure
Crop for the Cure
In the interest of full disclosure, I have walked and I have donated, even as I have questioned. I still do. I do so because there is a community formed as we walk. I do so because I want to support friends in their effort to find a path to making a difference. I do so because some truly good work is done in the process. And yet I hesitate to jump on the “for a Cure” bandwagon, and I believe a healthy dose of skepticism is in order. There are all kinds of benefits to the “Event-a-thon for the Cure,” including awareness and the ability to demonstrate that diseases touch the lives of so many, even beyond those who are diagnosed (and this is not just breast cancer, as a reader who bikes for the MS Cure points out). But the heart of the matter is that these events are supported based on a cause. So how do they impact the cause?
Balance in all things….
On one hand, if less than 50% of the funds raised go to the “cause” this is clearly not the most efficient fundraising methodology.
On the other hand, donors will support their friends more readily than they will the “cause” and so access to a broad donor base expands dramatically.
On one hand, many of the larger events require significant minimum donations, whether you give it or raise it. Many would-be participants complain, and I do understand that.
On the other hand, the cost of supporting a walker for three days of meals, showers, accommodations, medical support, street closures, security and more is expensive. In order to even approach the 50% donation mark and cover the actual costs of the event, they must require a minimum or we’d be screaming that the event costs, hypothetically, $800 for the walker even for the walker who brings in only $25.
On one hand, these events generate a meaningful amount of money, and there is no question that that’s a good thing.
On the other hand, we need greater transparency; the ability to follow the money trail. It is fair that “…for the cause” doesn’t always mean “research” funding. There is funding of support services, screenings, and the like. But we also need to know how much goes for event production, fundraising and administrative costs, and staff salaries.
Ultimately, these events raise significant funds. In the world of breast cancer the two largest event organizers are also the second and third largest research funders, behind only to the Federal government. I have a hunch that these events are here to stay; they resonate and they make money, regardless of how efficiently. “If walking could cure breast cancer,” says Kim Irish of Breast Cancer Action, “it would be cured by now.” Those of us who walk, run, bike, bake, cook, clean and shop for THE CURE, must demand both transparency and accountability on the part of these groups, and to work together to demand a cure….