Thirty-eight dollars a month. That’s how much it costs to sponsor a child through Compassion, which is more than the price of sponsorship at other organizations. The difference sometimes leads to questions like these.
“When I first starting sponsoring it [the sponsorship rate] was $22 a month; that was 1989, or 1990 I forget, I’m getting old. During college I stopped sponsoring for a few years and then it was I think $26 or $28 a month . . . Other organizations have stayed about $22-24 a month . . . what extra services does Compassion offer for the extra money . . . what does Compassion provide that other organizations do not supply at $22-24 month?” — Dwight“
“I am getting a bit concerned with the cost to sponsor a child. Where is the money going that isn’t going to the children? I would hate to think it is for a glossier overedited over advertising or staff bloat to make sponsors feel better.” — Nancy White
Although these two questions may seem to be asking the same thing, they’re actually not. Dwight is asking, “What does my child get each month for $38?” (i.e., how are our programs run and what do we deliver?). Nancy is asking, “Where is the money going that isn’t going to the children?” (i.e., how do we spend your money?). They’re both important questions.
I’m not an expert on how other sponsorship programs are run, but what I do know is that some organizations don’t have Christ at the center of what they do. And some allow children to have multiple sponsors.
So two things that Compassion delivers is the Gospel and a one-to-one relationship with your child.
Some child sponsorship programs just focus on one or two areas of a child’s development, rather than being all-encompassing, and others organizations administer their programs on behalf of the community a child lives in, rather than focusing directly on a specific child.
Compassion delivers holistic child development that is child focused. These two posts help show what that means.
- What does holistic child development look like?
- What does my sponsored child learn at the child development center?
Additionally, some organizations receive government funding. We do not. We’re 100 percent sponsor and donor supported.
And finally, some programs are more localized and less global than our program is. We’re a global holistic child development ministry and we use a one-on-one sponsorship model that encourages you and your child to share your faith with each other. We’re Christ centered, child focused, church based and committed to integrity.
Some programs may have similarities to ours, but none are exactly the same. That’s what we deliver.
As for how we spend your money, no more than 20 percent pays for administration and fundraising. That’s our commitment to you. And for the past several years, we’ve been significantly below that 20 percent, usually two to four percentage points below.
In fiscal year 2009, approximately $31 of your $38 monthly payment paid for development center grants, program services and child advocacy (i.e., educating the Body of Christ about the biblical mandate to care for children and the poor), while a nickel shy of $7 was used for administration ($3.23) and fundraising ($3.72).
Because of how we manage your money we have received eight consecutive four-star ratings from Charity Navigator, an independent charity evaluator. Only 1 percent of charities rated by Charity Navigator have been recognized in this way.
So, what does the $31 buy your sponsored child?
The money categorized as development center grants is delivered directly to our church partners to cover the costs of implementing our sponsorship program. The basic elements of these activities include:
- regular Christian training
- learning opportunities (e.g., funding school attendance and/or regular participation in extracurricular educational activities)
- health treatment and training (e.g., regular physical exams, dental care, vaccinations, referral for advance medical care, instruction in physical and dental hygiene, exercise, nutrition and preventive health care)
- socio-emotional development (e.g., learning basic social skills, teamwork, art, drama, dance, etc.)
- materials and supplies including hygiene supplies (e.g., soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste), center supplies (e.g., paper, writing utensils, games, toys), fees or costs associated with field trips, camps, drama, art and dance activities, and snacks, food and supplemental nutrition each child may need
- individualized care and attention (e.g., school progress reports, center attendance records, health records, home visits by social workers and adult supervision while at the development center)
Program services include activities undertaken by our staff to select, train, equip and oversee the church partners implementing our program, as well as programmatic research and evaluation. They also cover the costs of staff who direct and maintain the daily activities at the child development center.
More personally, this is where the money comes from for letter translation, postage, taking photos of your child, and updating you on your child’s well-being.
You can consider program services as the funding source for maintaining our program’s integrity and all the things that connect you and your child.
That about sums it up. I hope this explanation is useful to you. If you want additional information about our financial accountability stewardship you can visit compassion.com and charitynavigator.com, as well as call us at (800) 336-7676.