tell me how to do my job It’s that time again. Time for you to help me do my job. And my job is to make this blog relevant to you.

To be honest, most of the time I’m just guessing what you want to read. I’m guessing about your interests, situations, questions, familiarity with Compassion, etc. Which isn’t the best way to do a job.

On top of that, I’m trying to balance Compassion’s desires for advocacy and for getting more children sponsored with what I imagine your desire to be:

“Help me feel closer to my sponsored child!”

This is why I’m asking for your help in determining what gets published here. I will use your comments to request specific blog posts from our field communications specialists and from other staff around the world.

  1. Tell me which type of blog posts you want more of and which you want less of, and why.
  2. Let me know what you aren’t getting that you wish you were.

All of Compassion’s social media efforts are meant to enrich your sponsorship experience. But beyond that, we also want to:

  • provide practical ways for you to live out your faith and pass your values on to your children and your sponsored children;
  • share insights, original ideas and commentary on global poverty beyond our specific programs;
  • reduce the issue of global poverty to “bite-sized,” compelling solutions that are concrete, personal and actionable;
  • provide insight into the lives of children in poverty;
  • teach about Christ’s heart for children and the poor;
  • encourage you into a deeper relationship with Christ through service to children and the poor;
  • explore examples of spiritual, physical, social and economic poverty in our lives and in the lives of children in poverty;
  • redefine what is possible in the fight against poverty when we follow Christ; and
  • examine God’s leading in your life in relation to children in poverty.

How are we doing with these? Do you even want us to, or think we should, be branching out into these areas?

Given the demands on your time, I know I’m asking a lot of you. I probably wouldn’t even take the time to answer these questions myself because I’m so busy — which is to say I will be extremely grateful for your time and any thoughts you share. Thanks!

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  • Chris is a Senior Internet Marketing Specialist on our Web & Interactive Team.

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  1. Marvin
    Oct 5, 2011
    at 5:50 am

    I like stories from the country staff…and stories about what the children are doing… I don’t read them all…I sponsor in the Philippines so I always read them…but even the ones from other countries I often read and find helpful….

    • Oct 5, 2011
      at 9:58 am

      Thanks Marvin. That’s the core of our content. We’ll definitely continue sharing those stories. Are there any types of stories you’d like me to request from the field?

  2. Marvin
    Oct 5, 2011
    at 5:56 am

    This is the best blog I have seen in the 3+ years I have been looking at it…

    July 11 2008
    I Didn’t Think I Would Cry
    By Edwin Estioko | Categories: Country Staff
    Courtesy of Compassion International: http://blog.compassion.com/i-didn%e2%80%99t-think-i-would-cry/#ixzz1ZuKF3wf2

  3. Nina
    Oct 5, 2011
    at 6:30 am

    I enjoy the Blog very much and only rarely does it not get my interest too much. But, my favorite ones are the ones that highlight a sponsored child or LDP – their life, experiences, family, testimony, etc. And I like to read about what’s going on at a specific project, or how things are done in the field (letters, etc.)

    • Oct 5, 2011
      at 10:01 am

      Thanks Nina. Are there particular things you’d be more interested in knowing? This is an opportunity to ask our field staff to write about specific questions.

      • Nina
        Oct 5, 2011
        at 2:03 pm

        Just anything about a child’s specific experiences, or how exactly they are helped thru the projects, what exactly do they do each day at the project – let me be a fly on the wall – and how sponsors can best help our kids. (I know – write and pray!) But more specific examples or personal stories, and others have made good suggestions below – stories about sponsor/child meetings, kids who have completed the program – what are they doing now?
        And I’ll bet if you ask country staff, they have a million funny and heart warming stories to tell! As you know, kids say the darndest things!

  4. Oct 5, 2011
    at 6:45 am

    This is my first day to read the blog, but I’d say links to articles or information related to poverty, specifically the countries where children from Compassion are served; interesting facts about these countries; and of course, the spiritual part that you seem to be already writing about. Thanks!

  5. Terri K
    Oct 5, 2011
    at 8:06 am

    Stories. I love stories. Stories about real children, real project workers, real formerly sponsored children and how their lives have been changed. Stories about sponsors and how sponsoring or meeting their sponsored child has changed them, impacted their perspective of the world. Stories inspire me, engage me, spur me on to write more, pray more, be more intentional about how I interact with people in my life. I don’t sponsor because of some general desire to help people, but because I am able to have a relationship with a person. Stories help me understand more about what my children’s lives may be like, and dream about what their futures could be like. I read the blog everyday, and I am still hungry for more information about what like is like for my precious kids around the world!

  6. Oct 5, 2011
    at 8:11 am

    I like the ministry highlights, where we can learn how Compassion is working in the countries where we sponsor.

    I would like to see more posts about Compassion artists – I really enjoyed the posts about the Sunflowerz and Shaun Groves and how Compassion has influenced their songwriting. I would love to hear more about the stories behind their songs.

    I love posts about certain children – CDSP or LDP – that really demonstrate how Compassion has changed their lives.

    • Oct 5, 2011
      at 10:02 am

      Thanks Jill. I’m working with our music team to get more artist related stories.

  7. Josh
    Oct 5, 2011
    at 8:27 am

    Based on what I’m seeing, here is my advice:

    1) Simplify – this blog is extremely “busy” and hurts my eyes to look at it. Definitely get rid of the blue background and all of the side content.
    2) More visuals – we might only have 2 mins in our day to read a blog, so feature more interesting short videos and pictures to capture your audience.
    3) More Live info – yes it is good to share children’s stories, but mix it up a bit. Help us feel like we are “following along” on the Compassion journeys. Video blogs from the office, video blogs from the field, fun facts about the staff, more impromptu stuff..
    4) Captivate! – I know God is doing amazing things through Compassion, the blog should not be a place where you “push” sponsorship (even though I’m sure that’s what the 50+ yr old execs would like to see). Just tell the stories that inspire the storytellers and your audience will grow. We want to be captivated, not pushed.

    Best example of a blog similar to what you are doing: http://www.charitywater.org/blog/

    God bless, brother.

    Josh

    • Oct 5, 2011
      at 10:13 am

      Thanks Josh. Our International Communications team is now actively on board with getting us more video from the field. In fact, I’m sharing some of their videos over the next few days. The style and tone will evolve as more of the videos get produced and I’m able to communicate the breadth of what you and I are looking for.

      As for photos, more activity is definitely coming. We’re sharing daily photos in Instagram and will start bringing them into the blog regularly.

      How would you rate the push of sponsorship on this blog? I’m always interested in the perception readers have regarding the balance I have to strike.

  8. Stephanie Green
    Oct 5, 2011
    at 8:30 am

    My favorites are also those that highlight a specific child’s story- their background, family life, community,challenges, successes, etc…
    I also enjoy the stories of how the parents and families of our children are impacted by Compassion’s assistance.

    What I would really like to see more of is stories of children who have completed the Compassion program and not just LDP students. I would love to know more about what other Compassion “graduates” are doing and how Compassion participation and sponsorship has made a difference to them. Are these formerly sponsored children finding work? getting married? starting businesses? assisting at their former project centers? breaking the cycle of poverty somehow? I have one child who has completed and moved on already and several more who will in the next few years. So few children are eligible for LDP -I’d love to know what the others are doing and hopefully hear some stories of how our investment in these children
    is having an impact.

    Thanks, Chris, for asking!!

  9. Stephanie Green
    Oct 5, 2011
    at 8:59 am

    I also love the stories about a specific child- their history, family, community, challenges and successes.

    I’d love to see more stories about children who have completed the Compassion program and not just LDP students. I’d like to learn more about how Compassion participation and sposnorship has had an impact and what they doing once they reach completion. Are these formerly sponsored children finding work? getting married and raising families? starting businesses? assisting at their former project centers? I’m very curious…

    So few children are elegible for LDP and I often wonder what the others are doing and would love to see a few stories of typical Compassion “graduates” for whom the investment is making a difference . I have several older sponsored children so it’s of particular interest to me and I would also love to be able to share such stories with other sponsors so they better understand, too.

    Thanks, Chris, for asking!!

    • Oct 5, 2011
      at 10:16 am

      Thanks Stephanie. That’s something I requested before and was able to get a few stories. I’ll be sure to include that request again.

    • Oct 5, 2011
      at 3:24 pm

      Great idea Stephanie! I’d also like to see some “Where are they now?” stories. I was very inspired by Erlan from the IO office story when I visited there earlier this year.

  10. Oct 5, 2011
    at 9:32 am

    I want posts that help me connect with real people, real needs, and real hope. I want to feel empowered to make a difference, and encouraged that what I am doing is making a difference. (simple right? :)

    I love hearing about life in a country (or a specific program/campaign) through the story of a child or a family. Hearing the stats and details in narative form is powerful.

    I also enjoy posts that focus on letters and the impact of relationship building. Encouagement to write letter, topic ideas, letters that have been received, posts that spark discussions in the comment section, etc.

    Oh, and pictures, lots of pictures.

  11. Suzanne
    Oct 5, 2011
    at 11:29 am

    I would like to know more/ continue to know about the daily lives of the children. Eg cultures like food and seasons. I’m loving the focus you are doing weekly on each country’s programes, when they operate ect.
    Can’t wait for the one on Bangladesh

  12. Oct 5, 2011
    at 12:49 pm

    Interesante.
    Oro para que compassion entre a mi ciudad barrancabermeja, Colombia.

    Dios los bendiga grandemente.

  13. Oct 5, 2011
    at 3:04 pm

    I am not a regular visitor to your blog (yet!) but I know how it stinks to ask a question and not get any answers! I am involved with sponsorship through a different agency. I know the blogs I am most likely to read are the ones that give me glimpses into the sponsored people’s lives. AND I know that I need specific information that I can share with other potential sponsors that will help them make their own educated decisions about sponsorship as I know decisions to sponsor are not taken lightly. Good luck!

  14. Jennifer
    Oct 5, 2011
    at 3:49 pm

    I’d love to see a ministry highlight of Guatemala also I love stories of when people leave the program and how their life has been changed and the personal stories of children an their families.

    • Oct 6, 2011
      at 8:10 am

      Jennifer,
      We’re going to publish a ministry highlight for each country we work in. Guatemala is in your future.

  15. Oct 5, 2011
    at 4:06 pm

    I’d have to disagree with Josh on the videos. I like that this is written word as there are heaps of videos on the AU site and it’s nice just to read the posts here, it’s different.

    What would I like to see more of?

    * good news stories are always great to share with friends and remind us we are making a difference
    * Christian walk challenges / stories even if it’s not directly related to poverty
    * posts that highlight the differences between the countries and CDC’s. I think it’s good for us to be reminded that different areas do things differently so if our expereince is different from another supporter’s that ok, just like my church will have different kids ministry progams to yours.
    * “A day in the life of” various staff members in both partner and field countries.
    * catchy headings that are good for sharing on facebook.

  16. Oct 5, 2011
    at 4:08 pm

    I love all of those points and think you are doing an awesome job meeting them. I especially like when you feature different schools and villages-it sure would be a treat to see my sponsored child’s area!! She’s at the Padosi Child Development Center in India!!

    Thank you for your blog-it IS a blessing-I check it just about everyday.

  17. Jennifer
    Oct 5, 2011
    at 4:10 pm

    I did try to post here from the mobile app but I guess it didn’t work. I would love to see a ministry highlight of Guatemala and also more in depth storied about what the children do at their projects and articles on special events or holidays they have in their countries (for example did the Guatemala projects celebrate Indpendance day last month)

  18. Al
    Oct 5, 2011
    at 5:54 pm

    I’ve really enjoyed reading interviews with country and project staff. I’m interested in hearing more details about what specific activities go on at the projects (like what the day’s schedule would be). I also like to read stories of how the lives of specific sponsored children have changed and about sponsors meeting their kids.

    • Al
      Oct 5, 2011
      at 6:02 pm

      Also, I’d like to see more quotes from children at the projects. For example, numerous kids could be asked questions like “What is the most interesting thing your sponsor has told you?” or “What is your favorite activity at the project?” It would be great to hear their responses.

      • Oct 6, 2011
        at 8:06 am

        I love this idea!!

      • Oct 6, 2011
        at 8:18 am

        Thanks Al. I’ll add that to the list of requests I submit. Besides the two questions you mention above, do you have other suggestions for questions?

        • Al
          Oct 6, 2011
          at 2:01 pm

          Older kids could be asked questions like:
          – What are your plans for after you finish the Compassion program?
          – How would your life be different if you weren’t part of the Compassion program?
          – What is the most valuable or helpful thing you’ve learned at your center?

          I remember a post from some time ago in which kids were asked if they could ask their sponsor anything and get an answer, what their question would be. I really enjoyed reading that one and would be happy to hear more answers from kids in other countries.

        • Michelle
          Oct 10, 2011
          at 2:22 pm

          I LOVE this idea!!!

          * Exactly how is mail distributed in your center? (delivered once a month? weekly? daily? ……. delivered to their home? handed out privately in the center? or presented to children in a group?)
          * What do you learn at the center that you have taken home with you and taught to your family?
          * Do you face jealousy from the neighborhood children (siblings) who are not part of Compassion, and if so…. how do you handle it?

      • Stephanie Green
        Oct 6, 2011
        at 10:54 am

        I love this idea, too. Maybe add a question like “What is the one thing you’d most like your sponsor to know?”

      • Terri K
        Oct 7, 2011
        at 7:55 am

        How about “What person has had the most impact on your life and why?” or “How have the project staff impacted your life?” for the older kids?

  19. Sheree Bessey
    Oct 5, 2011
    at 7:27 pm

    I love all the emails that I recieve daily. I do not always get the chance to read them but when I do it always makes me feel so greateful for what I do have and it puts my own life into perspective for me. i find the little things I worry about day in and day out are less important when I see the true over all picture. I love reading about where my child is from. As I guess we all do. One day I hope to see a diary of my own sponsored child and the effects I personally have brought to his life to what I hope can better it. my sponsored child is from el Salvador. I guess this is probably a dream for every sponsor. To see the successes of their own sponsored child. Thanks for making a difference. I enjoy your blog and thanks for everyone sharing their connections with their sponsored child. I connect through my sponsored child by letters and with this blog it does make me feel a little closer to him and for me too see the benifits of sponsoring a child and making a difference. I also like it when they do show the poverty state some of these sponsored children have come from. It helps my children realize that they do not have it so bad after all, I their is more important things in life and we all can make a difference and help change a life with little effort. Thanks again. Sheree

  20. Trish
    Oct 5, 2011
    at 7:53 pm

    Would love blogs for each center…telling what the weather is like there…holidays they are celebrating, things they are learning about Jeses and in school. More personal info on their homes, families.

    It is hard to establish personal relationships by getting mail from child every few months. If the center could write a blog weekly, just updating what is going on…we might feel more connected and it will help us in our writing to the children.

    • Oct 6, 2011
      at 8:25 am

      As a ministry overall we’re moving in that direction, wanting to get you more connected with the churches and centers.

  21. Kristin
    Oct 5, 2011
    at 8:23 pm

    My favorite blogs are the ones that highlight the kids. I love the stories that talk about the children’s reaction to finding out they’ve been sponsored, the effects letters have on the children, and how compassion has helped them. I think it would be really interesting to take a handful of kids and follow them from the time they get enrolled in the program till the time they leave the program and have updates on them every few months to once a year.

    I also think it would be neat to hear stories from those who work in the centers. I bet they have some funny, cute, and/or inspirational stories of things kids have done or said.

  22. Deborah Letcher
    Oct 5, 2011
    at 8:29 pm

    I love the stories that tell of the impact Compassion has on an individual and their family. It makes what Compassion does feel real to me. But I also love the ministry highlights you’ve been doing – I’m hanging out for my kids’ countries to finally come up. I also like the ones that explain how things “work” like the processes that a letter goes through or how a registration day works or what an average day for a CDC worker might be like. I like the stories that show what Compassion kids go on to do – not necessarily even the amazing ones but just the ordinary ones who go on to have families and work in good jobs and find security in Christ. I just want to CONNECT.

  23. Jill
    Oct 5, 2011
    at 8:55 pm

    The day in a life of children stories and where the kids that didnt do LDP do after graduation i like the best. Can we get an update on haiti?

    • Oct 6, 2011
      at 8:33 am

      I’ll request an update from Haiti and more stories on sponsorship program graduates who don’t go into LDP.

  24. Oct 5, 2011
    at 9:39 pm

    Would there be any way that we could send video letters to our sponsored kids? Just thinking of ways to enrich the experience for the kids and sponsors. Video would bring each other to life. Just not sure if this too difficult technically.

    • Oct 20, 2011
      at 9:45 am

      The ministry is in the process of figuring out what can, and what should, correspondence look like in the near and long-term future given all the possibilities technology offers.

  25. M. Warner
    Oct 5, 2011
    at 9:54 pm

    Since I signed up for these informative essays this year, I have yet to be disappointed. I have enjoyed the variety of information that has been covered and think that an awesome job is being done. I think my favourites are in regards to articles written about different countries and how the Compassion programs are helping the participants and their families. It makes a sponsor feel good to know that they are not only investing in a child’s future, but are also helping the local program, which in turn, can help the family and the local community with the positive outcomes that the church creates. The articles shed light into how difficult this can be for local churches that are existing in neighbourhoods where crime is rampant. Keep up the great work!

  26. belinda
    Oct 6, 2011
    at 4:40 am

    I saw the youtube video of water for life by compassion and was pleased of the program to filter water. A blog on something like that would be a great one.

  27. Lindy
    Oct 6, 2011
    at 5:45 am

    My husband and I read the Blog every day. We have no complaints! As others have said, we love the Blogs that feature project workers and sponsored children and their families. We wish we could visit some of our sponsored children, but most likely that will never happen. These Blogs are the next best thing! Thanks for bringing our children’s world right into our home.

  28. Oct 6, 2011
    at 7:36 am

    My favorite seems to be the blogs about personal experiences when bloggers have taken some of the trips, visited their children and told about their experience. I sponsor a little one from the Philippines and hope one day that blogger may be me!!

  29. Oct 6, 2011
    at 8:28 am

    Perhaps you could do a post on cultural mores in different countries and how we can be sensitive to those when we send things, (ex. with photos — some countries consider bare arms or shoulders risque, in some countries the “peace symbol” is an obscene gesture, in some countries barefeet or the bottoms of feet are offensive; Thailand has national laws against playing cards.) Stuff like that. With so many people who have traveled widely within the organization, maybe you could come up with a good list.

    I would also like to see a pictorial that goes behind the scenes at the Colorado mail center. I’m obsessed with where my letters hang out before they go overseas! :) I saw some pics of the mail center on someone’s blog once, (they had taken the tour), and I found them really interesting.

    Maybe you could also do a pictorial on items that haven’t made it through the mail system and a caption as to why each one didn’t go through. A nice visual reminder about what will and won’t make it. That might be helpful for new sponsors.

    Maybe you could do a list of “Most frequently asked questions” — have a video under each question that you can click with a Customer Care person answering that question.

    I think the blog is beyond amazing. It’s remarkable that you’ve come up with a new topic and a writer to go with it everyday now for four years-ish — what a challenge.

    p.s. The “Got Questions? Get Satisfaction” piece of the blog was a GREAT idea. I’m loving that.

    • Oct 6, 2011
      at 10:39 am

      Perhaps you could do a post on cultural mores in different countries and how we can be sensitive to those when we send things.

      We’ve shared cultural-focused posts in the past, and will do so in the future, but I really like this angle. I’ll get this done.

      I would also like to see a pictorial that goes behind the scenes at the Colorado mail center. I’m obsessed with where my letters hang out before they go overseas!

      This has been on my agenda for a long time. I’ll bump it higher up for you.

      Maybe you could also do a pictorial on items that haven’t made it through the mail system and a caption as to why each one didn’t go through. A nice visual reminder about what will and won’t make it. That might be helpful for new sponsors.

      Excellent idea!

      Maybe you could do a list of “Most frequently asked questions” — have a video under each question that you can click with a Customer Care person answering that question.

      That’s a good idea too. But for now, we’ll rely on our new support network and the posts we’re collecting under the frequently asked questions tag.

      Thanks for your suggestions Lisa.

      • Oct 6, 2011
        at 3:35 pm

        I thought of one more. Perhaps you could do a “Day in the Life of Wess Stafford” pictorial. (If he’s willing – and if it hasn’t already been done.) You could have him take a photo every couple of hours during a workday — or have someone take a photo of him — and caption it, talking about what he’s working on at that moment, what he’s doing and why it’s important to the organization’s mission. It could be an opportunity to highlight some of the things he does and how it benefits the organization.

        • Oct 20, 2011
          at 9:49 am

          You may like this peek into Wess’ life, or more accurately his office, that is on the Compassion UK blog.

      • Andrea
        Oct 10, 2011
        at 3:12 pm

        Once you do the cultural taboo one could you also put it under the country info tab? So that people who don’t read the blog regularly could find it? I’ve only been reading a while but I would love to have a concrete list I could go to that says “don’t send pictures of ____ to ____ child centers” or “don’t talk about _____ if your child lives ____”

        • Oct 20, 2011
          at 9:50 am

          We are working towards integrating country-specific and relevant blog content into the appropriate pages on compassion.com.

  30. Brooke Maclennan
    Oct 6, 2011
    at 12:04 pm

    I would like to have more blog posts dealing with hard questions people might ask about sponsorship. I myself sponsor two children, but sometimes I wonder if sponsorship is a good way to spend my money. Many blog posts tell ‘success stories’ about children whom Compassion has helped, but I know that with so many children sponsored it must be easy to find a few success stories, but this does not prove that the ministry is effective for most children.
    I would like to know what people in the outside community say about Compassion. I would like to know what other aid organizations say about Compassion. I would like posts that discuss how educating children through high-school effects them for the rest of their life. Do they leave the community because they cannot find jobs? Do they become unwilling to work for a trade? Are other children resentful of sponsored children? Do sponsored children learn to have unrealistic expectations? Is sponsorship ‘paternalistic’?
    My favorite blog post so far was a link to a blog that a school teacher in Rwanda posted, explaining that he did see the effects of sponsorship. This was an outside perspective that was not afraid to give an honest opinion, and so I trusted it far more than all of the blog posts I have seen that make me feel good but cannot convince the skeptic inside me.
    Thanks for asking us what we would like to hear!

    • Marvin
      Oct 7, 2011
      at 8:10 am

      I understand your issues. I’m from the USA and I live in Asia and I don’t work for compassion and the country I live in does not have a compassion office…so I would consider myself neutral…and I have visited all 3 children I have sponsored…in the Philippines…3 different trips…and also visited other ministries in the Philippines…. I live in Taiwan, China the next island over but a very developed country…. 2 of the children I sponsored left the program at age 19… they had an opportunity to become a Christian…and they did…they had an opportunity at an education…did they find a better life…I am not sure…I hope so…but the employment situation is very hard in the Philippines…so I would think they still live in poverty.
      It’s not a perfect situation but I still think compassion works… you can not predict what child will become the next pastor or leader…even if they don’t go to LDP they might become leaders…and the alternative is doing nothing. When you leave America you find the world is very complicated… and one system and one way does not work…the Church needs to be out planting churches, and developing leaders, and organizations like compassion need to work with churches to help them reach families and raise up the next generation of leaders…some will not find Christ…it’s a decision they need to make but others will and they will be the next generation of leaders…. So yes it’s not a perfect system but it does play a part in reaching the world for Christ….

  31. Oct 6, 2011
    at 6:01 pm

    Not a post idea but it would be nice to be able to add a like or star on comments that are written to say that we agree with or like what was said.

  32. St. Mark's Youth
    Oct 6, 2011
    at 7:25 pm

    I agree with Stephanie, I love everything that has been posted so far, but I would like to know a little bit more about what the kids who don’t get into the LDP, what happens to them?

  33. Judy
    Oct 7, 2011
    at 7:24 am

    I think you are doing a very good job. Just reading the titles encourages me to write letters and pray faithfully. Thank you.

  34. Joanna
    Oct 7, 2011
    at 1:00 pm

    I like the variety of the blog.
    I particularly love to read stories about individual people, whose lives were changed by Jesus, through the work of Compassion. I also like to hear about the impact of sponsorship, letter writing, gift giving, etc.

  35. Allyson
    Oct 7, 2011
    at 2:44 pm

    I am most excited to read a post when it tells about a specific child’s life. It makes Compassion’s ministry feel personal. Then I can put more faces with my prayers.

  36. Stephanie Green
    Oct 7, 2011
    at 4:12 pm

    As I was working on Christmas cards today for my sponsored children, I realized it would be great to see a feature in September/October on how to say “Merry Christmas” in the languages typically spoken by our kids. Ditto for Easter greetings. It would also be wonderful to see videos of centers celebrating these holidays with the children!

  37. Lynette
    Oct 20, 2011
    at 2:09 pm

    I would like to know what people in the outside community say about Compassion. I would like to know what other aid organizations say about Compassion. I would like posts that discuss how educating children through high-school effects them for the rest of their life. Do they leave the community because they cannot find jobs? Do they become unwilling to work for a trade? Are other children resentful of sponsored children? Do sponsored children learn to have unrealistic expectations? Is sponsorship ‘paternalistic’?
    My favorite blog post so far was a link to a blog that a school teacher in Rwanda posted, explaining that he did see the effects of sponsorship. This was an outside perspective that was not afraid to give an honest opinion, and so I trusted it far more than all of the blog posts I have seen that make me feel good but cannot convince the skeptic inside me.
    Thanks for asking us what we would like to hear!

    Well I don’t have any perspective other than as a sponsor who did a lot of praying and research before picking Compassion.

    I did check Compassion and most of the other big adopt a kid charities out. Via Philanthropy watch dog groups. There are several. I looked at several. Charity Navigator is my favorite of those. Here is how they rate Compassion.

    Charity Name Overall Score Overall Rating
    Compassion International – CO 65.23 4 stars
    World Vision – WA 64.60 4 stars
    Save the Children – CT 65.24 4 stars
    ChildFund International – VA 53.29 3 stars
    Children International – MO 58.27 3 stars

    I ended up picking Compassion because they were highly rated… but also because of the ability to be really involved in the adopted children’s lives. Not just helping a village that happened to contain a child I sponsored. Those are very good ministries… but not what I personally was being lead to. I was looking to impact one life in a direct meaningful way.

    This was where God lead me (drove me might be a better description) after hammering on me about AIDS orphans in Africa a decade ago. I specifically was then looking to sponser an orphan in a society without good adult support structures. And the result is that both our lives have been blessed by God’s hooking us up.

    I would note that my personal “unpublished” story allowed me to not only affect my child, but also her extended family of orphaned sisters and the Aunt and Grandfather trying to care for them all. Though my first family gift of just $100 they got a cow and enough supplemental food to feed the whole family for 4 of the lean months between crops. The cow has been a blessing for many years to many people. And later gifts have helped fix the roof, provided netting to help avoid malaria etc.

    But best of all… the books and encouragement have helped my girl stay in school, become interested in learning about the world, math, science and a much better reader. Plus those books were there for her sisters and class mates as well. She know I love her and that she is special to me and to God. And she has developed was appears to me to be a close relationship with Christ. Her letters often contain her favorite recent bible memory verses. And she has said the books about the world and science make school more interesting.

    And from a more personal to me perspective… I grew up USA poor (not Africa poor) in an alcoholic nuclear family. But my maternal grandparents would send me letters and books and gifts from 1300 miles away. They made me feel worth while. Even little remembrances. And they had faith in me that showed in what they wrote and sent. I grew up to be a Chemical Engineer. It took me a lot of years working, community college, working some more then university… but I did it. I don’t know if I would have “made it out” and gone on to sucess without them and other extended family members doing for me what I am now trying to do for my Compassion Children. Be a source of love and encouragement who also is a living example that hard work in partnership with God can lead to a life full of purpose.

    I don’t know if all the seeds I plant will grow. But we are called to “sow” them. We are promised that some of them will return 100 fold or more.

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