Frequently Asked Questions

How did the Fund get started?

The first United Nations Staff 1% Fund for Development was created in Geneva in 1977 by staff members who contributed a percentage of their salaries towards community-based micro-projects in the developing world.  In October 1984, the good results achieved in Geneva inspired staff in New York to set up a similar fund.  Funds were also established in Paris, Brussels, Helsinki, Rome, and Vienna.

Why 1%?

1% represents a contribution corresponding with the target for development aid set for developed countries by the General Assembly in the International Development Strategy adopted in October 1977.

Does 1% still apply today?

The Fund has kept the 1% as a reminder of the target set in 1977, but staff choose the level at which they are comfortable to contribute.  Most contributions range from $10 to $60 per month. Contributions may be deducted by UN payroll or paid automatically through UNFCU.

Why is it called a staff fund?

UN staff contribute to and manage the fund.  Currently about 100 staff members from various departments and agencies at Headquarters, including UNICEF, UNDP, and staff in the field contribute to the Fund.  There are about 600 Fund members system-wide.  All staff members in New York are eligible to join the Fund.  Accredited press and mission staff are also invited  to join.

What do donations achieve?

Staff members donations supply small-scale capital investments to communities in the developing world in order to:

  • Create employment opportunities for families and  communities;
  • Foster women’s cooperatives;
  • Train adolescents in life and work skills;
  • Provide safe and well-equipped classrooms for children.

Is there any overhead?

100% of contributions goes towards projects. There are no deductions for operating expenses.

Who submits projects?

  • Community groups directly to the Fund;
  • An NGO or aid agency;
  • Any Fund;
  • Any staff member at Headquarters or in the field.

How are projects chosen?

An established set of criteria  is used to select or reject proposals for financing.  For details, please visit the How to Apply page.  The guiding spirit of the Fund is to empower communities by supporting small self-sustaining grass root development projects that have no other sources of capital funding.

Who chooses projects?

The full membership of the Fund votes twice a year on the projects recommended by the Management.  The Management Committee handles communications with local organizers and manages relevant financial arrangements. All staff are invited to join the Management Committee.

Why was my project rejected?

Projects may be rejected for one or more of the following reasons:

  1. The project is private or commercial in nature and benefits only a very limited number of people.
  2. The project is submitted by an organization that doesn’t seem very reliable.
  3. The project has a strong religious influence.
  4. The project involves assistance (relief) more than development.
  5. The project doesn’t really involve the beneficiaries and/or is not submitted by them.
  6. The project doesn’t really aim at long-term development but involves rather short-term (urgent), humanitarian needs or seeks to cover current expenses.
  7. The project doesn’t seem to offer sufficient assurances of successful implementation.
  8. The project submission lacks important information.
  9. The project exceeds the Fund’s financial limits.
  10. The project budget includes salaries and recurring expenses exceeding 25% of the total.
  11. The project comes from a politically unstable area.
  12. The project seems valid but the Fund has allocated all of its funds.
  13. The project comes from an organization or region that has already received funding for earlier projects.
  14. The project only represents a small part of a large project whose funding seems uncertain.

Besides donating, how else can I help?

Fund members or any staff at Headquarters or in the field staff may visit projects while traveling or on mission.  All staff are invited to assist the Management Committee to review and assess projects.  Staff are also encouraged to tell colleagues about the Fund!