Rate change notice By now, you may have heard that we are planning to increase our child sponsorship rates in the U.S. This is true.

We are raising our child sponsorship rate to $38 per month beginning June 1, 2009 for all new sponsorships, and August 1 for existing sponsors.

A rate increase is needed because our church partners in the countries we serve are struggling to provide our children with the services they need. This is due, in part, to the increasing inflation rate around the world and the global economic crisis.

Since 2005, the purchasing power of church partners in their own countries has gone down by an average of 19.22 percent because of the weakened dollar.

For your convenience and for additional information, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions within the My Account section of compassion.com. Please log in to learn more.

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  1. May 22, 2009
    at 10:54 am

    I received the letter yesterday and had been wondering if and when this would happen. I am VERY surprised that it happened this late. I figured it would have happened a loooooooooong time ago. I think this goes to show that Compassion is and will continue to be financially responsible. :)

  2. Jae Jun
    May 22, 2009
    at 11:28 am

    2-3 less cups of coffee. Whatever it takes.

  3. Amy
    May 22, 2009
    at 12:50 pm

    Sponsorhip hasn’t gone up in Canada yet, and if it does, that just means a few less things for me (I don’t mind :))

  4. Mike Stephens
    May 22, 2009
    at 1:45 pm

    “Whatever it takes” I agree! $32, $38 even $56 would still be not much for me to gather each month

  5. Caitlin
    May 22, 2009
    at 1:49 pm

    @Mike Stephens – I admire your enthusiasm, but eek! $56! No doubt, I’d do my best to come up with it, but for now, I am glad it’s 38!

  6. May 22, 2009
    at 8:36 pm

    I got the letter yesterday and was unsure what to do. I know that if I struggle to make ends meet, those in other countries must struggle more. Still, it is a struggle. I support more than 1 child so I was multiplying that 6 dollars.

    I called and as always the person I spoke with was helpful. I feared losing a child. I can can go up on some and not the othe and won’t lose anyone and the sevices won’t be impacted. I hate it but – have to do it that way. But I am planning on sending more general Compassion gifts when I can.

    So give more if you can but rest assured that you can keep your child if you can’t.

    Hope that doesn’t sound cheap of me.

  7. May 22, 2009
    at 9:03 pm

    @Caitlin – While a $6 increase is not much, I second your “eek! $56!” Caitlin…not to gang up on you though Mike ;)

  8. May 23, 2009
    at 7:56 am

    I don’t mind the increase AT ALL. The value of the dollar is on a big down-swing. BUT, let’s all keep several points in mind and in prayer:

    1) Compassion is fed heavily by the US Dollar. Here in the US we should ensure our efforts economically and politically work towards STRENGTHENING our currency against others, not weakening it. This helps Compassion, and it helps our other ministry efforts around the globe. It is NOT selfish or wrongly self-serving… as it helps us, our families, our churches, our missionaries, and our supported ministries.

    2) We should be careful about saying – I would be willing to give $56… or $256… or WHATEVER it takes for the Lord! ;-) While charity and generosity are Christ-honoring… spending $56 of buck for only about $15-20 of bang is NOT. Whether with Compassion or any other ministry we need to use discernment and ensure that our dollars given in tithes and offerings are doing the MAXIMUM for Christ’s kingdom purposes. It’s not about what we are giving – that’s a lecture for another time :-) – it’s about being a wise steward.

    3) Let me express that I’m annoyed that my rate increase letter told me to go on the website for more info at “My Account”… and today I finally went there and there was NO info about this. Somebody dropped the ball.

  9. Kim Edge
    May 23, 2009
    at 8:08 am

    Yeah, $56 would be a lot… :(

    I am thinking that after my girl leaves the program (she will turn 22 in a few years) I will just give Compassion money when I can, to either the LDP program in general or the unsponsored child fund…then I will not have to worry as much about hurting a real kid’s feelings somehow, plus I will not feel guilty or worried about the future and meeting my monthly payments that I committed to…I am pretty sure we are good for another three years of payments…God willing!

  10. May 23, 2009
    at 10:16 am

    Amy, it does not sound cheap at all. I think many people who sponsor multiple children have carefully calculated their budgets, and figure just how many children they are able to sponsor. $6 times several sponsored children can add up.

    I’m glad you reminded everyone to work with Compassion if they need to. I have always found them to be most helpful, and they certainly don’t want to lose sponsors. Thanks for doing all you can!

  11. May 23, 2009
    at 11:27 am

    @Amy – Amy, it doesn’t sound cheap of you; it sounds like someone who faces the realities of our current economic situation in the U.S. Yes, the children we serve, and all of those we cannot now serve, are much worse off, but we still have our realities to deal with, and the need to be good stewards of our resources. I admit that I gulped, when I got the letter; I had anticipated a smaller increase.

    But I know Compassion leaders would not have hit us with that large and increase, if it weren’t needed. We will do what we can and what we have to do, and keep praying that the Lord will increase our resources, so that we can once again do more. We will not drop a child!

  12. Dwight
    May 23, 2009
    at 11:38 am

    When I first starting sponsoring it 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. It has gone up about a dollar a year/ .80…on average.

    Other organizations have stayed about $22-24 a month. I am just curious… but what extra services does compassion offer for the extra money.

    I have a long history with compassion so I am not mad… my mother remembers the founder visiting my grandparents church in Chicago in the 1950’s. She was a teenager at the time. I’m a graduate of Moody and so was the founder…. I feel great connection with the organization. I grew up 3 miles from the old office in Chicago….

    One of the children I sponsor is only 8 years old. So if I want to stay with that child it could mean $55 a month in 10 years. When the older children I sponsor leave the program it will be hard to sponsor young children with the thought of continual increases (2 or 3 children x $55). The thought of dropping a child is too painful to think about.
    I could stop my giving to other organizations. But I also need to support traditional missions or compassion will not have churches to partner with. People in Japan need Christ. Yes they are rich like us but only 0.5% are Christians. Most have never heard the gospel…after ww2 we did not do in Japan what we did in Korea. They need Christ as much as someone in a poor country. :)

    I have visited projects and the older children I sponsor in the Philippines…but what does compassion provide that other organizations do not supply at $22-24 month? I have never asked this question but… what does my child at PH809 in the Philippines get each month for $32 or $38 (about $400 a year)? They have a Saturday VBS type of program with snacks. They get school uniforms and fees paid…?
    Like I said I love compassion so I am not trying to be argumentative…. At some point I need to decide between organizations. I work for a Christian ministry so I don’t make a lot of money.
    Thank you, God bless

  13. Trent
    May 23, 2009
    at 5:40 pm

    A huge Thank you to Compassion for being responsible stewards. I’ve been “on the ground” and I’ve seen how Compassion makes a difference in lives. Jesus Christ is honored. An increase was bound to happen.
    Praise God for this vehicle to make an eternal impact in lives.

  14. Brianne Mullins
    May 23, 2009
    at 11:07 pm

    Hi Steve,
    First of all let me say, you have some really great input! Thanks for sharing.

    Also, I just wanted to let you know, if you login to My Account, on the left hand navigation bar you will see “Sponsorship Amount Increase” and right below that is the FAQ. This is where more detailed information on the rate increase is located.

    Hope that helps!

  15. May 23, 2009
    at 11:29 pm

    Good discussions. I wish there were easy answers!

    I have no doubt that Compassion leaders thought long and hard before asking for an increase. I use to be in a ministry where I had to raise my own support. Fundraising doesn’t come easy on any level.

    I’m convinced the children will see the benefit of the increase. Having traveled some, there is ahuge difference when the dollar is strong and that is from years ag than when it isn’t.

    I know the dollar is doing less than it once was. That cannot be easy on the programs in various countries. While I cannot go up on each of my children, I am glad they let us know the need so we can do what we can.

    It reminds me of the childrens story STONE SOUP. Everyone got fed when they each gave what they could.

  16. May 24, 2009
    at 12:03 pm

    @Brianne Mullins – Thanks, Brianne. While I swear swear swear (let your yes be yes) that THAT wasn’t there yesterday, I know that it was. Chris Giovagnoni, our benevolent blog moderator, also schooled me (again) to open my eyes. :-) While the web developer in me would scream out to make it a more obvious link, it was doubtless there and I was wrong – and probably rushing – not to see it. :-)

    Wow, there are some great comments on this post… I’ve been away from this blog for a while – too long.

    @Dwight – You bring up a very valid question… one that ALL Christians need to be aware of every time they transfer a dollar under their stewardship to a ministry. I can only answer for myself, and I odn’t think I’ve looked at it as hard as you may have (especially comparing organizations)… but I think that Compassion really ensures the kids are grounded in Christ, and that the kids in the programs (whether sponsored yet or not) are shown a portrayal of Christ’s love through and in financial form that is consistent with the love of a Heavenly Father. I’m not sure if that makes complete sense :-) but I think that’s a reason I like Compassion. Does that make sense?

    While different organizations can sometimes be apples and oranges, education as to how funds are used is always wise. I think Compassion is pretty open about their budgets and specifics are available.
    I think they also have an independent stewardship auditor.

  17. Harold Ivie
    May 25, 2009
    at 3:39 pm

    RE Helpful automatic increase in my voluntary, charitable monthly direct payment donation: In want out. Where/how do I cancel my monthly contribution? Ive been all over the site but the escape hatch seems missing? If you automatically help me increase my direct payment donation and do not accept my cancelation, I will be forced to sue you in small claims court. UNDERSTAND?

  18. Lisa
    May 25, 2009
    at 10:33 pm

    It’s not that I mind the increase. I understand. I get it. Everything is going up. But I sponsor multiple children and it has been a stretch for me to continue to sponsor all of them each month. I have had to reduce the amount I send for birthdays and general gifts. If I raise the amount I pay per child each month that means I will have to drop 4 children. I would really hate to do that. So, for the time being I am going to have to stay at the old rate. As things improve I can look at increasing the amount I pay per child.
    It’s embarrassing to have to do this, but at this time it’s the best I can do.

  19. Brianne Mullins
    May 26, 2009
    at 8:37 am

    Hi Harold,
    To cancel your child sponsorship you can call: (800) 336-7676. They will cancel it for you, no problems.

    Thanks you the support you were able to provide. It is greatly appreciated. Please let me know if I can help you further!

  20. Melissa
    May 26, 2009
    at 10:41 am

    Let me start out by saying, we’ve supported Compassion through job loss and very low income, through loss of our house to a hurricane, etc. I’ve always been confident that they were handling our money well and what they were doing was worth the sacrifice. Other than our church, Compassion is the only organization to which we consistently donate money.

    But, an increase of this size has me reconsidering how much support we can give Compassion. In the short term, this will help Compassion I’m sure, because like many I won’t be dropping any of my children, though I haven’t figured out if I can squeeze the increase into my budget. On the other hand, I had been hoping to add another child in a few months (when I’m hoping for a looser budget). I probably won’t now, and may even drop my number of children once I have a child leave the program, so that I can be prepared for the next big increase. Instead of supporting Compassion as much as we possibly can, we’ll have to think ahead strategically. I don’t like that. It’s removing some of the joy from supporting Compassion and making me wonder if it’s really the best giving option we have.

  21. May 26, 2009
    at 3:17 pm

    During the length of my career, I have watched the cost of living increase. In the past 10 years, gasoline has more than doubled in price. Consequently the price of everything else I buy has increased as well. After all, the trucks that deliver those goods run on fuel. The home I bought 12 years ago would easily sell for more than double what I paid.

    We should also recognize that the cost of caring for children who are living in poverty has increased as well.

    Why is it that we accept the increases in our own cost of living, and make do. Yet we are unable to accept that the same cost of living increases effect others? It has been many years since Compassion has asked us to help cover that increase in cost.

    I was in Haiti one year ago. Gasoline prices in Seattle were $4 per gallon. Gasoline in Haiti was $9 per gallon. It costs more to get gasoline to Haiti, than to Seattle. The same applies to rice, beans, cooking oil, medical supplies, etc.

    I have seen enough Compassion projects to know the level of integrity they have. I know this increase was necessary.

  22. May 28, 2009
    at 3:45 pm

    @Steve Mooradian – I wondered where you went. Hadn’t heard from you in a while. Welcome back. :-)

  23. May 28, 2009
    at 4:28 pm

    @Dwight – As a Compassion employee I’m not really in a position to speak about what other organizations sponsorship programs specifically offer, mostly because I don’t sponsor with them and because I have a bias. :-) So, we’ll have to rely on others’ input on this one.

    What I do know, in general, is that some organizations don’t have a Christian focus, like we do. And others have multiple sponsors per child.

    Some child sponsorship programs just focus on one or two areas of a child’s development, rather than being all-encompassing, and others programs administer their programs on behalf of the community a child lives in rather than focusing directly on a specific child and family.

    Other organizations also receive government funding, which we don’t do. We’re 100 percent sponsor and donor supported. And some programs are more localized and less global than Compassion’s is.

    What is distinct about our program is that 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 and hopes with each other.

    We focus on four things:

    • Each child has an opportunity to hear the gospel in an age-appropriate and culturally relevant way. We’re Christ centered.
    • We treat children like we’d want our own children treated. We engage each child we serve as a complete person. We’re child focused.
    • We partner with churches, parents and communities — to teach, train and mentor children. All of our work is administered through the local church. We’re church based.
    • We’re dedicated to delivering excellent programs with complete integrity. We’re committed to integrity.

    Some programs will have similarities to ours, but none are exactly the same.

    Here’s the latest information I have on sponsorship rates for other child sponsorship programs.

    • World Vision Hope Child — $35
    • Kids Alive International — $35
    • Children’s HopeChest — $34
    • Food for the Hungry – $32
    • World Vision Standard — $30
    • Christian Foundation for Children and Aging – $30
    • Gospel for Asia, Bridge of Hope — $28
    • Save the Children — $28
    • Children Inc. — $28
    • Child Fund (Christian Children’s Fund) — $24
    • Plan USA — $24
    • Children International — $22
  24. CrystalGib
    May 28, 2009
    at 8:33 pm

    Well I must say I am disappointed. I hadn’t really thought about how much more Compassion charges for sponsorship until this moment. I did a search myself and averaged the first 10 I found. The average sponsorship was $26 with only 2 out of the 10 being $30 or more. So that means Compassion’s rate is almost 40% higher than the average for similar organizations. I sponsor more than 10 children (and send family gifts) so $6/each is a significant increase for me. Again, we are talking 20% in one year. It seems that for the same amount of money, I could be helping far more children with a different organization. I will continue to sponsor my children through their completion of the program, but I believe I will find another organization as my current children are phased out. I have to say it was also surprising to know that Compassion Employees don’t sponsor children themselves. I actually went on a sponsor tour to Kenya in March. I was very disappointed that just under half of our group were Compassion employees on their free safari vacation. Some were families of 4 and 5 and it was clear they hadn’t paid the $4000 each I was paying to be there. This after I had worked a second job for months to afford the trip to meet my children. When I asked some why they weren’t meeting any children on the sponsor tour they replied, “I don’t sponsor children. I support Compassion in other ways.” Well here I was thinking I was on a SPONSOR tour. You combine that experience with the fact they are the most expensive sponsorship program I could find in my web search. Yes I am definitely finished with Compassion.

  25. Sarah Charles
    May 29, 2009
    at 8:09 am

    I love my kids and I love Compassion. I am willing to cut back on anything I need to in order to help them. We are so spoiled here with all our money and our things. These kids don’t have anything and the cost of food is going up for them so fast. What other response can we as Christians have than love and compassion? Pun intended. :)

  26. May 29, 2009
    at 8:48 am

    @CrystalGib I understand your disappointment. I am not a Compassion employee by the way-but a dad of 4 kids in a single income family. I must budget carefully as well.

    I hope you will continue to investigate deeper. As prices for goods and services increase around the world, sponsorship organizations have 2 choices. They can either lower their level of care for children, or ask their supporters to cover the difference.

    I have been on a few sponsor tours, and met a lot of Compassion employees. I have found them to be some of the most amazing people I’ve known. I’ve never met a Compassion employee that doesn’t sponsor a child – though I have been on tours where the employees don’t sponsor in THAT country.

    I just want to encourage you to consider that the cost to operate is effecting everyone. Would you rather have services cut to the sponsored children, or pay more?

    Whatever you decide, I’m grateful there are people like you who are willing to help those in need. Your sponsorships have definitely changes the lives of your children.

  27. Rachel
    May 29, 2009
    at 11:43 am

    @Kim Edge

    How do you know when she’ll graduate? My sponsored child, Pamela, is going to be “expelled” (more like graduate :-D) from the Compassion program in August of 2010. She will be 21 then. So who knows; maybe your sponsored child will graduate then! ;-) How old is she now, where does she live, and what is her name?
    Kyakunzire Pamela is currently 20. She lives in Uganda with her father, stepmother, and older sister. So everyone…..what is your sponsored child’s name, age, project number, and country?

    Just curious! ;-D

    Thanks, Rachel

  28. Caitlin
    May 29, 2009
    at 12:01 pm

    I was just skipping through the “Sponsor a child” pages, and was just curious, if the rates will be going up so soon, why hasn’t Compassion posted some sort of a notice on these pages. They all still say “$32/month”, I am concerned that new sponsors will feel that they have been duped.

  29. Rachel
    May 29, 2009
    at 1:31 pm

    @Caitlin

    Caitlin,
    I agree. New sponsors may be confused about that. I wonder why they don’t put a notice on it…:-( There’s nothing to do about it, I guess….except for maybe to give Compassion itself some feedback on that. Here is a link so you can do that:http://www.compassion.com/contact/feedback.htm . Hope this helped!

  30. May 29, 2009
    at 2:33 pm

    The $38 rate for new sponsorship begins June 1. That’s when compassion.com will reflect the $38 amount.

    We will not require the person that sponsors before June 1 to increase their support to $38. This is similar to the option we give current sponsors to continue sponsoring at the $32 rate.

  31. CrystalGib
    May 29, 2009
    at 4:24 pm

    @Michael
    Do know I understand things are harder (much harder) in the 3rd world. In fact I have actually stepped up my commitment to the poor. I got rid of every expense I considered an unnecessary luxury (like cable TV and home internet) and committed all that money to family gifts. My hope being that it would help them start a small business so that the entire family could have much more stability. So I am offended at your query “Would you rather have services cut to the sponsored children, or pay more? “
    What I am suggesting is I shouldn’t even be put in that position. No one can explain to me what Compassion does differently or better to justify being much more expensive than most other organization. So this is what I have decided to do. I have already mailed out my postcard instructing Compassion I am not willing to increase my support. What I am going to do instead is use that exact amount to sponsor children through different organizations. It will be enough to sponsor 3 more children. So I am going to select 3 children from 3 separate organizations. I will then be able to compare and see if Compassion does more for the children and is therefore worth the extra investment or not.

  32. Danielle
    May 29, 2009
    at 4:56 pm

    @CrystalGib

    First, I can completely understand how hard it can be to increase the monthly payment especially since you have so many children. I only have two, but have opted out of the increase for now. The sponsorship rate is definitely something to think about when choosing an organization but from experience just because one is cheaper that does not make it any better. If you are unhappy with your whole experience with Compassion, by all means look into other organizations that might better fit what you are looking for.

    My experience with a compassion tour was that most if not all of compassion employees sponsored children, just not necessarily in the country we were in.

  33. Danielle
    May 29, 2009
    at 5:04 pm

    @CrystalGib

    I think that sounds like a good idea. Every organization has their pros and cons and each person’s experience with an organization can be completely different. I would definitely be interested in what you end up finding out.

  34. May 29, 2009
    at 8:34 pm

    Re: the rate increase — I’m sure it’s not pleasant for anyone at Compassion when it comes time to raise sponsorship rates because so many people get indignant and angry. People hate change, especially when it involves their wallet.

    The last rate increase was in 2005 when it went from $28 to $32. And before that it was 2000 when it went from $24 to $28.

    So it’s a $4 increase every 4-5 years.

    Basically $1 a year per child.

    I certainly love and appreciate everyone who posts on this blog — you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t care about the kids — and I will be sad to see anyone here give up their sponsorship.

  35. May 29, 2009
    at 9:26 pm

    CrystalGib
    Please accept my sincere apology. I saw your response right away this afternoon, but was not in a position to respond. I was truly saddened that I had offended you. I know that you are here because you care, and I wish you well whatever route you decide to take.

  36. May 30, 2009
    at 8:59 am

    Originally Posted By CrystalGib@Michael
    [...] I am offended at your query “Would you rather have services cut to the sponsored children, or pay more?” [...]

    I thought it was a fair question. Unless you think Compassion is cheating you, then it’s fair to say that previously $32 a month “bought” X level of support for you child. But now, X level of support costs $36 dollars a month.

    Math is not offensive. Do you want to continue to provide X level for $36, or less than X for $32? Would you rather have services cut to the sponsored children, or pay more?

    This would also be a good time to point out to everyone that just because the Hyundai dealer sells cars cheaper than the BMW dealer, doesn’t mean I’m not getting a good deal (or maybe even a better deal) at the BMW dealer.

    If all things are equal… if all sponsorship programs are being good stewards, then you are simply getting what you pay for – and if you only want your child to get $32 (or $24, or whatever) of support instead of $36 then that’s your choice.

    It almost sounds like some people look at this like the cost of wallet-sized photos on your fridge is going up.

    And no, I don’t drive a BMW. :-)

  37. Valerie Long
    May 31, 2009
    at 8:11 am

    I really wasn’t surprised to see the rate go up. The economy’s in flux all over the world and the dollar sure doesn’t buy what it used to!

    I was saddened because I can’t do the increase right now, but the staff at Compassion were so awesome when I called. I, too, have many children, 7 to be exact, so the extra $42 a month is just too much right now. They were really great though and told me it wasn’t a problem, to just keep going at the $32 rate until I felt that I could make the change.

    I enjoy being able to send extra little gifts from time to time or for birthdays and if I had upped my rate right now, there’s no way I could keep doing those things.

    I’m praying right now I get this promotion at work that I’m applying for. It will come with a slight raise. I’m not sure precisely how much, but I think it’s at least 5% according to our union contract. So perhaps if I do get it, I can increase my rate then.

    ‘Til then, I was very very pleased with the employees at Compassion and how they’d much rather I keep sponsoring at my current level than have to give up one of my kids! ‘Cuz I certainly don’t want to give them up!

  38. Tom Andrix
    Jun 2, 2009
    at 1:42 pm

    I understand the increased needs and the urgency. However there are many surprises coming in July from folks who have not read your letter. This is precisely why I do not under any circumstances give any organization priviledges to withdraw from my account. As easy as it makes the process this needs to be choice – not default – driven.

  39. Sarah Charles
    Jun 5, 2009
    at 1:16 pm

    I am 23 and fresh out of college. I am paying on my student loan, other bills, working full time, and I sponsor 3 kids on my single income. Have faith! If God can make ends meet with me, He can do it for you!

  40. Rebecca Rogers
    Jun 7, 2009
    at 3:06 pm

    Im 15 years old and not even old enought to get a job. I do not recive an allowance and have to pay for a lot of other things for myself. I’m going to be a sophomore this fall but I’ve sponsored a child for two years now. I believe that if God could provide me with the $32 every month as well as all the other money i needed, He can provide $38.

  41. A Compassion donor
    Jun 24, 2009
    at 3:42 pm

    I understand why CI wants to raise rates but, +19% ??? That exceeds inflation by quite a bit for years to come.

    My families income and my employer has no way to keep pace with everything going up like this.

  42. Caitlin
    Jun 25, 2009
    at 12:39 am

    @A Compassion donor – That must be scary for you. As a single person with little more than a car and a cat to look after, I imagine it can be much harder for you, especially if you sponsor many kids. I hope you do not remain discouraged, and I hope that you can be blessed with Luke 21:1-4, the story of the widow who gave two copper coins. Know that God is not a guilt trip, and helping someone out( for example: sponsor a kid or two) should not be either. Give what you can and leave it in God’s hands, and do not be ashamed of what you cannot do.

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