October means an annual array of pink products, do your part to support

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1. $1 from the sale of every Gaiam pink-ribbon yoga mat designed by Colleen Saidman (the wife of yoga guru Rodney Yee) will go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. $22, www.shopgaiam.com


2. Bialetti’s Aeternum, already huge in Italy, is available stateside in pink to support the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Ten percent will go to the foundation. $50, Bed, Bath and Beyond


3. All proceeds from this sterling silver necklace by Jennifer Meyer (Tobey Maguire’s wife) benefit Stand up to Cancer. $250, www.standup2cancer.org/shop


4. Fifty percent of proceeds from Rebecca Taylor’s bright pink blouse will be donated to the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation, which raises funds and awareness for this type of breast cancer, which often strikes young women and African-Americans. $225, www.rebeccataylor.com


5. The Sonia Kashuk Proudly Pink 5-Piece Purse Set is available year-round, and 15 percent of the purchase price goes to the Breast Cancer Research Fund. $15, www.target.com


6. Bid on this David Rockwell chair, and 80 percent of the total money raised will benefit the Breast Cancer Research Fund. The auction closes Oct. 31. www.charitybuzz.com


7. All proceeds from OnGossamer’s soft and cozy Cabana Cotton Target collection will go to Fashion Targets Breast Cancer. $16-$32, www.ongossamer.com 


8. Whether you live in NYC or are just visiting, hop aboard Gray Line’s Big Pink Sightseeing Tour, and $1 of each adult ticket will go to the Breast Cancer Research Fund. $44, www.newyorksightseeing.com


9. Send your favorite patient flowers from OrganicBouquet.com — 15 percent of the price of select
florals and gifts go to breast cancer charities, including BreastCancer.org and Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation.


10. Coastal.com will donate $25 to the Linda Creed Breast Cancer Foundation for each purchase of its Pink Frame collection. $98 (single vision lens included), www.coastal.com

Advice

Donate smart

If you want to make a donation to a breast cancer charity, follow these tips from Sandra Miniutti, vice president of marketing and CFO at Charity Navigator, which evaluates nonprofits:

Know what the charity really does. “I think there’s a general misunderstanding among donors. They think that Charity X does research when maybe all it really does is awareness, or maybe it funds mammograms for women that can’t afford it. You really need to dig down into the charity’s programs and services and make sure that that’s something you want to support.”

Check its finances. “That’s something we do at Charity Navigator, and if it’s not a charity we rate, we offer lots of tools to help donors do that themselves. You want to make sure the bulk of the charity’s spending is going into programs and services.”

Look for accountability and transparency. “Does it have an independent board of directors to provide proper oversight? Does it post information on its website about its finances? Even at a very basic level, does it answer your questions if you give them a call?”

Do your homework

“Being proactive is better than just giving to the first person outside of the big-box store,” says Lindsay Nichols, communications director for Guidestar.com, another charity evaluator. Guidestar offers the following five-step plan for giving:
   
Clarify your values and preferences.
Consider the type of charity with which you’d have the best connection.
   
Focus on the mission. Dig into the organization’s GuideStar profile, visit the nonprofit’s website, or look into recent press articles and media mentions of the organization to learn more about its mission and programs.
   
Verify a charity’s legitimacy. On GuideStar, you can find out if a nonprofit is a legitimate tax-exempt organization. If the charity is not on GuideStar, ask to see its letter of determination. If it’s faith-based, ask to see its official listing in a directory for its denomination.
   
Get the facts. A reputable organization will define its mission and programs clearly; have measurable goals; describe its achievements; discuss its programs and finances; not use pressure tactics; be willing to get you more information; and take “no” for an answer.
   
Trust your instincts.
If you still have doubts about a charity, don’t contribute to it.


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