A UN-blue colored flag with the logo of UNICEF centered in the middle in white
Flag of the parent organization the United Nations Children's Fund or UNICEF

A UNICEF club is a student-led grassroots club present at high school and college levels of education, formed for the purpose of promoting the values of the parent organization the United Nations Children's Fund or UNICEF. The stated goal of the club is to "to empower youth [...] with the resources and skills to be effective global citizens" and "to support the world's most vulnerable children" through advocacy, education, community building, and fundraising.[P 1]: 3 

These can be created as their own independent club or as a group within a larger club, as long as separate leaders are appointed for it. Once created, board members are expected to host activities which help advocate or fundraise for UNICEF-related causes, such as "Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF", the "UNICEF Tap Project", or other humanitarian work.

Since the clubs first began to be made in 1952, they have received mostly positive reception from the press for their work, with some exceptions. Clubs today can be found at major universities in the United States, including Yale and Duke University, but are also present internationally in other countries such as Canada and Hong Kong.


The first UNICEF club was created in 1952,[a] shortly after the founding of the United Nations in 1946. Little guidelines were implemented for clubs in the beginning: allowing for their creation in middle schools among other things.[1] Early causes, such as funding UNICEF-assisted feeding programs,[1] were accomplished through more modest fundraising methods: including running errands, raking leaves, selling comic books, etc.[1] More effective advocacy and fundraising methods were developed later through time.[b]

As more clubs began to be established, multiple events have garnered both positive and negative coverage from the press. In 2015, Illinois senator Mark Kirk helped create the UNICEF club at New Trier High School, in which he was an alma mater, to increase awareness of current social issues and to "help and give back", according to Kirk.[2]

Two representatives bumping elbows as a sign of appreciation in front of donated boxes of vaccines
UNICEF clubs during the COVID-19 lockdowns fundraised online to support UNICEF COVID-19 relief efforts, depicted above

During the COVID-19 pandemic, UNICEF clubs either worked virtually[3] or were forced to suspended their operations during the pandemic lockdowns.[4] For the clubs that decided to work virtually, online fundraising events were used to help support UNICEF COVID-19 relief efforts.[5]

In response to the 2023 Israel–Hamas War, some UNICEF clubs in the Scottsdale Unified School District in Arizona were accused by the state superintendent Tom Horne of being overly pro-Palestinian, to the point of promoting "one-sided propaganda in favor of Hamas terrorists", according the parents of some students.[6]

Club creation and management

To create a UNICEF club, four leaders and one advisor are required as minimum leadership.[P 1]: 5  Advisors must be adults aged 25 years or older, and not a staff member for UNICEF.[P 1]: 5  Advisors must also perform a background check if not a teacher or high-school employee.[P 1]: 7  Once gathered, the club's registration application must be approved by UNICEF to become official.[P 1]: 5  Official clubs are expected to hold registered and approved events by UNICEF focused on advocacy, education, community building, and fundraising for children's rights.[P 1]: 5  Clubs are required to re-register and submit yearly funds at the start of each consecutive school year.[P 1]: 6  UNICEF clubs can also be made as a sub-group within a larger, like-minded club, as long as additional leaders are chosen specifically to work on UNICEF-related tasks.[P 2]


There are six board member or leadership positions within the club, listed in the table below. Leaders of the club are required to commit to at least five hours per week, host board meetings at least once a week, and host member meetings at most biweekly.[P 3]: 2  Leadership terms are one school-year long before being reassigned.[P 3]: 2 

Leadership positions/board members
Position By whom Responsibility Ref.
President Student Organize and execute events, coordinate leadership transitions [P 3]: 1 
Vice President Student Assists President, assumes control over their roles when absent
Secretary Student Records minutes and agenda
Treasurer Student Manages club budget and oversees transactions, submits donations to UNICEF
Communication Officer(s) Student Manages club social media accounts
Advisor Adult Serves as a mentor offering advice, but does not run the club [P 1]: 7 


A woman handing a UN-blue colored box with a UNICEF label to a Ukrainian man
UNICEF clubs have fundraised to provide aid for refugees of the Russian invasion of Ukraine

In recent history, two annually-held activities present in many UNICEF clubs are the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF and UNICEF Tap Project donation collections. Serving as the largest fundraising event for some clubs, Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF takes place on Halloween on 31 October, and is often executed by trick-or-treating for donations instead of candy.[3][7][8][9] The UNICEF Tap Project takes place during World Water Day on 22 March, and has been executed recently via UNICEF's Tap Project app: where 'for every 10 minutes you don't use your phone, a child is provided 1 day of clean water'.[10]

Hosting bingo[4] and open mic nights,[11] elementary and middle school assemblies,[9] "Advocacy Day" events,[12] and golf tournaments, as well as selling support T-shirts[10] bracelets,[8] and buttons,[9] making tie blankets,[4] and other means of advocacy and fundraising have been performed by UNICEF clubs for causes such as supporting Syrian[7] and Ukrainian refugees from war,[P 4] affected families of the War in Darfur[8] and the 2023 Turkey–Syria earthquakes,[4] and bringing awareness to malnutrition,[4] the Zika virus, and child trafficking.[12]

Notable locations

UNICEF clubs are present, or have been present, at a number of US high schools and universities: including Case Western Reserve University,[13] Duke University[14] Georgia State University,[15] Lehigh University,[12] North Carolina State University,[16] the University of California, San Diego.[17] the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire,[8] and Yale University.[18]

Clubs are also present internationally, including in Canada[9][P 5] and Hong Kong since 2007.[P 6]



  1. ^ While no official start date is available, clubs began to appear in the US starting later in this year[1]
  2. ^ See the "Activities" section below


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "UNICEF Clubs | Starter Guide" (PDF). UNICEF USA. Retrieved 9 December 2023.
  2. ^ "Partner with UNICEF Clubs" (PDF). MUN Impact. Retrieved 9 December 2023.
  3. ^ a b c "UNICEF Clubs: Leading Your Club" (PDF). UNICEF USA. Retrieved 11 December 2023.
  4. ^ Ann, Asha (14 March 2022). "UNICEF Club Ukraine Fundraiser". UNICEF USA. Retrieved 15 December 2023.
  5. ^ "UNICEF Canada Campus Clubs". UNICEF Canada. Retrieved 9 December 2023.
  6. ^ "UNICEF Club". UNICEF HK. Retrieved 9 December 2023.


  1. ^ a b c d Ruppert, Leonard (2 October 1952). "Boy, 11, Forms Club to Collect Money for U.N.". National Education Association. Marshfield, Wisconsin: The Marshfield News-Herald. p. 14. Retrieved 15 December 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
  2. ^ O'Shea, Bridget (28 May 2015). "Sen. Kirk helps launch UNICEF club at alma mater". Pioneer Press. Chicago, Illinois: Chicago Tribune. p. 14. Retrieved 15 December 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
  3. ^ a b Hallabeck, Eliza (6 December 2020). "NHS UNICEF Club Working To Help Others". The Newtown Bee. Retrieved 11 December 2023.
  4. ^ a b c d e Razman, Amirah (15 February 2023). "UNICEF chapter returns to UMN after 3-year hiatus". Minnesota Daily. Retrieved 11 December 2023.
  5. ^ Nollen, Diana (1 February 2021). "'United in the Cloud' | Student groups join forces for fundraising virtual concerts for UNICEF". The Gazette. Cedar Rapids, Iowa. p. 6. Retrieved 15 December 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
  6. ^ Grossman, Hannah (16 November 2023). "Arizona students allegedly bombarded with Hamas 'propaganda' in lesson claiming 'terrorist' is offensive term". Fox News. Retrieved 8 December 2023.
  7. ^ a b Tendall, Makayla (22 October 2018). "'Kids helping kids': Indianola students to trick or treat for donations to UNICEF". The Des Moines Register. Retrieved 11 December 2023.
  8. ^ a b c d Stegmeir, Mary (2 November 2006). "UW-EC students want to help kids". Eau Claire Leader-Telegram. Eau Claire, Wisconsin. p. 9. Retrieved 15 December 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ a b c d Bradbeer, Janice (29 October 1998). "Everyone 'does their bit' to help the world's children". The Toronto Star. Toronto, Canada. p. 100. Retrieved 15 December 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
  10. ^ a b Cress, Joseph (13 April 2015). "Boiling Springs club raises funds for UNICEF". The Sentinel. Carlisle, Pennsylvania. p. 3. Retrieved 15 December 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
  11. ^ Zimmerman, Jason (24 May 2019). "Appleton North High School UNICEF club hosts open mic fundraiser". WBAY-TV. Retrieved 11 December 2023.
  12. ^ a b c Amber, Cardona (3 March 2016). "Students win national awards at UNICEF summit". The Brown and White. Retrieved 11 December 2023.
  13. ^ "UNICEF CWRU". Case Western Reserve University. Retrieved 9 December 2023.
  14. ^ "The UNICEF Club at Duke University". Duke University. Retrieved 9 December 2023.
  15. ^ "UNICEF at Georgia State University". Georgia State University. Retrieved 9 December 2023.
  16. ^ "UNICEF at NC State". North Carolina State University. Retrieved 9 December 2023.
  17. ^ "UNICEF Club @ UC San Diego". University of California, San Diego. Retrieved 9 December 2023.
  18. ^ Hanshaw, Annelise (16 December 2020). "Realizing the American dream". Santa Barbara News-Press. Santa Barbara, California. p. 4. Retrieved 15 December 2023 – via NewspaperArchive. she looks forward to joining the UNICEF club at Yale as well.