When you buy a wristband for charity, is it going where it should?

You may have observed many of your friends and family members wearing one of the many vibrant colored wrist bands that have sprung up for “charity” over the last decade or so.  The trend started with Lance Armstrong’s “Live Strong” bracelets and has only gained more traction.  These little rubber wristbands have become very popular and might even be considered a fashion trend.  The question that we are asking today is…. Do the profits from these wristbands actually go to help charity or is this a marketing ploy that companies have decided to ride with the popularity.

Before we get into that though we should go into a bit of background about these bands.  These formed rubber wristbands are one of the biggest trends to hit after the turn of the century.  People wear them they are making a statement that they support a charity or a cause.  When you donate to the cause the charity will often give you one of these as a token of appreciation.  Similar to those little toothpick flags that I have seen some homeless people hand out on the streets.

As I mentioned, this was all started or at least made popular by the Live Strong campaign but now there are literally hundreds if not thousands of these types of bracelets.  They vary in shape and size but they are usually made of a cheap rubber but some charities/companies have incorporated different materials such as wood, steel or rope. Sometimes the color will correspond with the emotion that the creator is trying to portray.

Detractors say that there are much better ways to help a charity and argue that by the time the product has been made, packaged, shipped, displayed and sold that there is not much room left to help a charity.  Obviously, even charities have employees that need to pay their bills so they will need to be compensated for their time as well.

The sad fact of the matter is that once you pay for that band, very little of the money that you paid will end up going to the charity in question.  If you truly want to help a charity, the best way to do so would be to donate directly to the charity.  Too many people are only wearing and purchasing these things simply as a fashion statement or as a way to look good in front of other people. My personal opinion is that is pretty sad.

Unfortunately there is another problem with these charity bands.  There are several people out there that sell these bands under false pretenses.  The tell a story about how a percentage of the sales will go to whatever group they are pitching when in actuality they are keeping all of the profits for themselves.  The market has been flooded with these things so it has become very easy for just about anyone to take advantage of this trend.  Some schools have actually tried to ban these bracelets because of the high amount of fraud that is happening with the sale of them.

In conclusion, when purchasing a charity band be sure to make your purchase from a reputable source because not all of the vendors selling these are offering the profits to charity.  They may not be telling you otherwise but I think that just selling the bands makes it implied that part of the profits would go to charity but in actuality they are not.  Even if you do purchase one from a reputable company, why not go online and make a direct donation to one of the many charities that are helping fund the research for the area of your choice?  I hope this has cleared up some of the confusion about these bracelets.

Speaking of charity, We would like to thank one of our most recent philanthropists, Waterford Sealcoat has made a generous donation to help us continue on with this blog.  You can visit their site at www.waterfordsealcoat.com


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