Over at The Diplomad there's another fine comment on NGOs. Too much to comment directly on here, except it's good: Read The Whole Thing.
I used to collect for UNICEF as a kid. I remember going from door to door and playing the game of pulling at people's heart strings. I believed in UNICEF and how it was helping out kids. I remember even the amount I collected the last year I did this (it was 1967 and I was 11): $167.42, back when that was real money. I was also thrilled to be thanked by UNICEF for collecting so much.
Gee, what an amazing discovery that the lunatics here have also taken over the asylum. Or that hidden agendas are driving policies that otherwise would be rejected outright.
I've heard too many stories from people at the Red Cross, at UNICEF, at WHO and other UN-related activities to give money to them for any purpose whatsoever. Out-of-control finances, outright lying in order to scare-monger for fund-raising purposes, extraordinarily wasteful spending (flying First Class and enjoying 4-star hotels is just scratching the surface), all add up to one thing: if someone comes to you asking for money to save the children, it means that not only will only a few children be saved, but that you are probably perpetuating the problem and not helping to solve it.
And it's perverse and no, I don't have an answer except this: there are charities out there that haven't taken the blue pill. Find them and give to them generously. We do it directly, since my wife travels a lot more than I do and has a number of projects aimed directly at helping a few locals who are actually trustworthy and haven't spent the money on Oakey shades and Jack Daniels instead.