Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Trick or Treat

One of the ways I put my overpriced liberal arts education to use is by opening and screening my boss's mail. Sometimes I pass charitable solicitations on to him and sometimes I don't, depending on what kind of mood I'm in. Today he received a letter from UNICEF asking for a donation. Instead of throwing this one away, I opened it up because a shiny nickel inside caught my eye. "Hey," I thought, "a nickel."

I opened the UNICEF letter to get at the nickel (clever, clever), but then I remembered that one of my goals this year is to give a greater percentage of my income to charity so I decided to look over the materials. I was reading about how UNICEF could use my contribution when I saw "$27 can buy 92 sachets of Plumpy 'nut, a ready-to-eat therapeutic spread to nourish children with severe acute malnutrition." Once I got past the wince-inducing "severe acute", I was very touched by this, possibly because my nickname in Middle School was Plumpy 'nut.

After checking out the UNICEF website where I learned about all of the programs they support, I was hooked because as we all know I am a sucker for children. I get upset when I encounter an ambivalent parent on the subway ignoring their child or a baby out on a cold day without a hat and mittens. Also, I figured it was finally time for me to do my part for UNICEF, since as a child I totally snubbed the "Trick or Treat for UNICEF" program. I trick-or-treated for one thing and one thing only: LSD laced Fun Size Three Musketeers bars.

Before I parted with my hard earned dollars (which I earn by opening my Boss's mail), I wanted to research the charity to make sure there wasn't any Kofi Annan "Arms for Bread" deal going on here. I used Charity Navagator, a database that vets and ranks 5,000 major charities and tells you who's naughty (Youth Development Fund of Tenessee, I'm looking at you) and who's nice. UNICEF has an overall rating of four stars. 87% of their budget goes to the programs they support, 4% goes to administrative costs and 9% goes to fundraising (guys, you could probably bring that figure down if you stopped mailing nickels to people willy nilly). The CEO has a total compensation package of $378,058 which seems like a lot to me, but it is only 0.15% of total costs.

So, I will be making a donation to UNICEF. On the mail-in form it says "As a sign of your support, please return this nickel with your contribution- it might be enough to save a child's life!" Compelling! But tell me, what kind of person writes a check to UNICEF then peels off the nickel for their own pocket? Not this Cupcake, that's for sure. Now if it were a quarter, that would be another story. Hey, a girl has got to do laundry...

No comments: