The Blue Key Campaign, Cynicism and Me

Before writing word one – asking you to donate a measly five bucks – I have a confession to make that will hopefully convince you of the mental journey that I have been on that has brought me to a place in which I am hitting you up for money.

  • I have social media donor fatigue.  I am probably (no, likely) a selfish jerk, but I have one or two people a week hitting me up on Facebook or Twitter asking me to help with this cause, that movement, or said anti-campaign.  I am more skeptic than philanthropist.  And I have donor fatigue.

With the preceding disclaimer, I hope to convince you that besides my overall jerk-edness, I am asking you to participate and give five bucks to the Blue Key Campaign.  Your donation gets you a blue key pin or pendant supporting the USA for UNHCR, which is a US-based 501c3 that supports UNHCR’s work.  So while you are supporting the UNHCR, you should know that they lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees.

Here’s why it’s important:

My friend, Shonali Burke brought this campaign to my attention last week, and using the words from the Blue Key Web site, you will learn that there are millions of refugees around the world without places to live, clean water, many of whom are even missing family members.  And they are assisted by UNHCR.

There are more than 6,000 UNHCR staffers on the ground, in more than 128 countries around the world. These are the people who help 26 million refugees cope with life after they’ve been through unimaginable trauma.

We’re asking Americans (since USA for UNHCR works to raise awareness of the UN Refugee Agency in the U.S.), to get their own Blue Key; for just $5, you’ll show the 6,000+ UNHCR staffers all around the world, that their work – which many of us never see – is appreciated.”)

How do I connect with this?

First, Shonali is a friend and others that I admire like Kami Watson-Huyse and Geoff Livingston are involved, that tells me a lot.  The second reason is more personal.

I have a lot of stress in my life and have dedicated myself to near-daily meditation.  One of the exercises I do is to envision sending kindness to people I like, to difficult people as well and especially to those in circumstances of poverty, war and distress.  So I hear these meditation words several times a week while I am sitting my nice recliner in an expensive house in a top 10 county in the United States.  I do this, while others wonder not even where their next meal is coming from, but if they can flee a region or country where people who want to kill them for who they are or what they are – this screams for attention.

This is a big, personal disconnect and is probably also pretty selfish.

Second, I do an annual fundraiser for a charity called St. Baldricks, one that raises millions for childhood cancer research ($24 million last year alone).  But really all I do is hit friends up for donations so I can show up at a pub in Washington, DC in March, get my head shaved and get drunk.  I raise money for a wonderful little girl named Lauren, but I feel a little guilty compared to what others do to raise money.

People like Doug Haslam, who has been raising money for the Pan Mass Challenge by going on a very, very long bike ride to raise money for pediatric cancer research for years, people who really put their bodies where their causes are.  And this year, it has to be more personal for Doug, who lost his dad to pancreatic cancer on May 14.  You can also help sponsor Doug’s ride here.

So I, the cynical, donor-fatigued UN skeptic am asking you to help by donating five dollars to the Blue Key campaign – show some love to the USA for UNHCR, which is a US-based 501c3 that supports UNHCR’s work.

Think – and donate.




  1. I love this post! I, too, have donor fatigue. But like you, I chose to be a Bluekey champion, because the cause is simply so important.

    Thanks for your honesty — I think it will help some folks realize it’s OK to feel overwhelmed by all the requests out there. Just pick the causes that speak to you and support them!

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