Breast cancer group rejects donation from strippers
Last Thursday, the website Huffington Post posted a story from the CBC that the Breast Cancer Society of Canada had rejected the offer of thousands of dollars from a fundraising group of exotic dancers in Vancouver.
According to the CBC, the Exotic Dancers for Cancer holds an annual charity event in memory of a former dancer who lost her life to the disease. The next day, another blog ran a story with this email text rejecting the donation:
“Unfortunately we will have to decline your kind offer as we have certain major donors that are not in favor of this connection. This decision came as a result of donor disgruntlement and together with the board of directors we have decided not to accept any donations from what donors consider controversial sources.”If this sounds familiar, it might be because you remember this story in the Nonprofit Times from March of 2006. It seems like a great marketing strategy to me. Stories like these drive big site traffic numbers - the story on Huffington Post had over 8 pages of comments. I wouldn't be surprised if the group tried to get their pledge rejected on purpose in order to generate buzz.
In fact, if I was the Development Director at the Breast Cancer Society of Canada this is what I would do. I would pick up the phone and call these "certain major donors" who object to the donation. I would ask them to increase the amount of their own personal giving to offset the rejected donation. Then I would call the Exotic Dancers for Cancer and tell them that while I could not accept money from them, I had a group of donors who doubted the strippers importance in the fight against cancer.
This would probably motivate the Exotic Dancers for Cancer to go ahead and hold their benefit anyway and explain the situation to their fans and donors... I bet the publicity could help raise an easy $20,000 in pledges. The group could still donate the money to another group, but my "certain major donors" would step up.
Is that unethical to play two groups of donors off each other?