Shortly after the end of World War II, the United Nations established the United Nations Children’s Fund as a vehicle to deal with the needs of children in war-torn countries around the world. The mission of UNICEF was established as providing long-term assistance for humanitarian and developmental needs for children and mothers. Initially, it provided emergency food and healthcare to children in countries without the ability to assist them due to damages from the war. However, the organization now serves children and mothers in developing countries around the world. Many people choose to donate to UNICEF because it funds so many programs globally, and is known for its effective work.
Currently, UNICEF has offices in more than 180 countries and is managed out of New York. The organization is funded by contributions from governments and private individuals, and has an annual budget of nearly $4 billion. It is estimated that more than 6 million people donate to the organization each year, and many of them are regular monthly donors. The agency reports that more than 92 percent of the funds received are put to work in the field for services and assistance.
One of the most popular and effective fund-raising programs for UNICEF is the Trick-or-Treat concept. Starting in 1950, children have donated funds they collect while out on Halloween. The well-known orange boxes are credited with keeping the work of UNICEF in the public’s eyes, while raising an estimated $200 million dollars over the years. Many adults who contribute today started off with the orange boxes and have continued to support the organization as a result.
A more modern way of communicating the UNICEF message utilizes individual animated spots as part of the Cartoons for Children’s Rights project. The Convention on the Rights of the Child has been the source of inspiration for this project. The goals of this Convention are a major part of today’s focus for UNICEF.
Other sources of funding include corporate sponsorships and the Corporate Social Responsibility initiative. For example, the Education and Literacy Programs of UNICEF are supported by a number of companies worldwide, and involve a range of participants. From small companies to large corporations, the organization also works on specific projects for targeted needs. In 2013 Merck & Co. helped create the Merck for Mothers campaign, which involves a commitment of $500 million for programs seeking to improve the healthcare for expectant mothers and their newborn children.