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‘Save the Children should save their breath for a more lucrative target’

“Hi there, how are you doing today?”
“Pretty shi**y, actually.”
“Oh, I’m sorry to hear…”

The woman having the shi**y day cut off the polite woman and said, “I don’t want to talk to you, sorry.”

They changed their color from red to maroon, but there’s no mistaking the Save the Children canvassers on campus. Perhaps they were hoping the subtler tone would stop passers-by from recognizing them before it is too late to change paths. I understand the cause is a worthy one, but I can’t help but be annoyed.

I’ve heard several complaints about Save the Children pestering people on campus, but they’ll never get them off UNM property on these grounds alone. Then I wondered, are these volunteers or are they paid to canvass? I spoke over the phone on Tuesday with a woman who works with Save the Children, and indicated I didn’t want a job, just information. She told me canvassers make between $300 and $500 a week, depending on their performance. I asked her how much canvassers typically raise on UNM campus, and for some reason this set off a warning light for her. “I am not a media representative, and so I can’t really speak to that, and personally I really wouldn’t anyway.”

All I want to know is whether the canvassers are paid more than they bring in. If this is the case, then Save the Children is wasting its money. I know someone from high school who works for Save the Children. When I ran into her months ago, she was working a shift on Central Avenue.

“People can spend money on coffee every day, but they can’t spare any money for Save the Children,” she scolded.

I thought this was a fair argument, although I know what it’s like to spend money senselessly when I’m stressed out, which is almost always. Surely, I am not the only young person who suffers from chronic financial irresponsibility. Still, we could all spare a little something now and then, especially for a good cause such as this. Then, I talked to Daily Lobo design manager Josh Dolin, who highlighted the main problem. Apparently, the minimum donation they take is $25 — you can’t just give them spare change.

“And have you seen the paperwork you have to fill out?”

OK, I’m pretty sure most of the people on campus would have practical uses for $25. Professors are poor, and so are students.

Maybe Save the Children should occupy Scholes Hall instead. gave its bathrooms top marks, a sure indicator this is one of the most affluent buildings on campus.

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I left a message for Save the Children headquarters in Washington D.C., but am not holding my breath until I get a response. I talked to my canvasser friend, who said she doesn’t know exact statistics, but has known canvassers to take in a grand a day. On the other hand, many of them become discouraged by the rude responses to their seemingly innocent greetings, and are less successful because of it.

Finally, she told me Save the Children sets aside money for fundraising, which doubles as awareness-raising. According to, 6.4 percent, or $39,070 of the organization’s budget, goes to fundraising. My friend said the organization’s goal is to educate people about the problem, because they can’t ignore it if the canvassers are always present and ready to inform.

Funny, I’ve never gotten past the requisite niceties, and I doubt many people do. Only those with the disposable income to donate make it this far. Save the Children should save their breath for more lucrative targets.

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