3 Children Share Their Top Letter-Writing Tips

Children in our Child Sponsorship Program are the experts in giving letter-writing tips. Sponsorship is all about building true and lasting relationships between sponsors and children. And one big way to do that is through writing letters. It might seem old-fashioned, but it’s deeply meaningful to children living in poverty.

“Letter writing using pen and paper may be a vanishing human activity, but not to me,” says April, a sponsored girl in the Philippines. “Whenever I write a letter to my sponsor, I feel grateful. I cherish the idea that I am pouring my heart out, writing with pen and paper, struggling with my thoughts and the English language for my sponsor, because she deserves the efforts I put into my letters … It’s a slow process but I treasure that, in contrast to the fleeting, light-speed communication on social media.”

We know letter writing can be a challenge for all of us. So we went right to the source! We asked three young people in Masbate City, Philippines, what letter-writing tips they would give their sponsors!

April: Encourage and inspire me … Also, what about kangaroos?

A girl in a green T-shirt sits at a table inside of a church, writing a letter.

April, 15, is an honor student in high school and one of the youth leaders at Compassion’s church partner in Masbate City. As a Compassion beneficiary, she regularly comes to the child development center for her weekly learning activities, dance practice, school tutorials, youth gatherings or to simply hang with friends. She always looks forward to receiving a letter from her sponsor in Australia.

“If my sponsor would ask me what more she can tell me in her letters, I would say, ‘Tell me about what it is like living in Australia. What are kangaroos like up-close? Do they bite? Do they smell? Can you pet them? What else is special about Australia other than kangaroos?’”

“On a more serious matter, I would love my sponsor to continue to encourage and inspire me in life. I also want to know how she is living in God’s grace.”

Johnrey: Relax and be natural, and share the scriptures.

A boy in a blue and black T-shirt smiles widely, sitting at a desk writing a letter.

Johnrey, 17, is being trained to be a youth leader at Compassion’s church partner in Masbate City.

“I would tell sponsors to relax and just be natural when writing a letter to the children. Sponsors can tell simple day-to-day stories about their lives, and when we read it, it will seem like we are talking with them face-to-face. We feel transported with their stories, because they live in a different country. We may have an idea about what the United States, or Australia or Korea looks like from what we can see on TV or the movies, but reading about it from our sponsors makes it more real.

“I also want to read about spiritual things from my sponsor. Talking about the Bible may be banned in other countries. For this reason, I feel it is a powerful thing if we can receive biblical reminders from our sponsor. I would like to encourage sponsors to share with us some scriptures and let us know what they think about the Bible verses.* I would also love to read their testimony of faith and how much they love Jesus. I would love to receive advice for me to be stronger in my faith and other spiritual matters.”

Even if sponsors can’t write, children remain thankful.

“I am just really thankful for my sponsor, even if she’s too busy and not able to write me. I know the Lord will bless her. Through her support, I am drawn closer to God.”

Rose: Tell me stories – and about snow.

A girl in a white T-shirt and jeans sits at a chair, with a pen and paper in her lap, smiling at the camera.

Rose, a 17-year-old in the Philippines, is a youth leader at her church. She helps and encourages younger Compassion children to write interesting letters to their sponsors. She understands the importance of letter writing because “it is an opportunity to share precious moments of my life. My heart is racing whenever I tell my life story to my sponsor.”

She has five letter-writing tips to share with sponsors.

“One, sponsors can talk about their favorite things: favorite food, color, and even the best places they’ve been to. Reading about this can transport us.”

“Two, they can talk about things that we don’t have. For example, I would like to know how it feels when it snows. Wow, snow! I can’t even imagine how cold it is or how it would feel like touching it. Is it fluffy at all?”

“Three, they could try writing longer. No pressure, but a long letter means we are special.”

“Four, sponsors can tell stories about anything about themselves – their life stories and family updates. It won’t bore us. I believe we can build connections through life stories.”

“And five, sponsors should also talk about their walk with God to encourage us to also follow God in our lives. I would like to read from her letter more on spiritual things, such as Bible verses and her favorite Bible stories or Bible characters.”

Which of these children’s letter-writing tips will you put into practice today?


*If you sponsor a child in Bangladesh or Sri Lanka, please be mindful of the unique guidelines for letter writing in that culture.

16 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Ashley March 28, 2020

    Thank you so much for sharing the children’s input here! It’s not always easy to know what might interest them as ages and cultures vary so much. There seems to be a fairly consistent theme to these answers. Valuable information here. Thank you again!

  2. Caryl Tieszen March 28, 2020

    I loved having the teenagers tell what they would like us to write about! That is very helpful. I agree with a comment above that it would be nice if we could have more space to write online – maybe one more page! I also was happy to get the letters from the center directors! I made note of what they asked us to pray for and pray for each of my children’s centers on a rotating basis throughout the week. This is the first time I’ve seen these letters. Will they possibly do it again? I really am happy with these blogs! Thank you for making them available to us!

    1. Mackenzie March 30, 2020

      Hi Caryl! Thank you so much for praying over your child’s center and community! You should definitely receive a letter from someone in leadership at your child’s center once a year!? I am so glad to hear that it was such a blessing for you this year!

  3. Diana Mester September 21, 2019

    It was so good to read what the children would like to see in their letters! Very helpful!
    I love being able to write and send letters electronically as well as send photos!
    It was also very insightful to read letters from the Center Directors!
    This is a great ministry I hope to be a part of until I die!

    In His joy,
    Diana Mester

  4. Ron Roberts September 14, 2019

    I found this specific blog to be very insightful. I have five sponsored children whom I have very good writing relationship with each one. Their ages range from 8 to 19 years olds. I have been using the the online method because of the faster delivery to each child. I try to provide a Bible verse, a prayer, any current event with my family, photos, and encouragement in each monthly letter. However, Rose made a very interesting point about writing longer letters. I sometimes want to write more but I am limited on space with the online style. So, I am going to commit to handwriting at least one letter every six months to each of them. I will update any response they may give to this new letter writing tip. Thank you Rose!

  5. Chiso Uko September 8, 2019

    Hi! I just joined the Compassion sponsorship program and I am very excited to be a part of it. I wrote my first letter to my child this evening and after sending it, I saw this blog. He is a 5-year old boy. So, I was wondering if you have any tips on how I should write to him? I would love to tell him about my faith. I just don’t know how much of it he will be able to understand?
    Any guidance will be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you!

    1. Shannon September 9, 2019

      Hi Chiso,
      First off congratulations on your sweet new sponsored boy! We are so blessed to welcome you to our Compassion family! We have some wonderful writing tips, tricks and ideas here: https://www.compassion.com/letter-writing/write-my-child.htm. 🙂

  6. Steffanie September 4, 2019

    I like that these are tips from teenagers. It will help me to write to mine 2 teenagers.

    Besides that: what to do whit the ‘spiritual things’ when you are not a Christian? Maybe strange that a non-christian is sponsering a child at Compassion. But I don’t know which other organisation that is helping the poor I can trust. I just want to help a few people who have almost nothing.
    I write twice a month. Should I ignore the prayers they mention and say nothing about faith? It doesn’t feel good to lie about it and to promise that I will pray while I don’t. Or can I tell them the truth: I am an agnost? Or would that be too confusing for them? I don’t want to destroy my childrens faith or trust in Compassion/the project/the projectworkers.

    Another question that crosses my mind because you mentioned the unique writing guidelines. Will the translators take my letter out of the system if I write something or add a picture that is (due to their culture) not done? Would Compassion inform me that this letter has not been delivered to the child?

    1. Sierra September 5, 2019

      Hi Steffanie! I’m so glad you found these letter-writing tips helpful. Thank you so much for writing to your children so diligently, and for your heart to serve and help them! I understand that navigating the writing relationship when you don’t share the same faith as your children could be difficult. What I would encourage you do to is focus on the commonalities you do have and the ways you can encourage them! You can also request that someone else write your child if you are uncomfortable writing, but it sounds like you are a dedicated letter-writer. 🙂

      The only reason we would remove a picture from a letter or cancel the letter itself is if something included was insensitive or potentially hurtful to the child or his/her culture. Each child and culture is different, so if you have questions about sending something in particular, you are more welcome to ask us! You can email us at [email protected] if it is a private matter.

  7. Victoria Visocchi August 27, 2019

    These tips really helped me to feel more focused and relaxed about writing our child! Thank you for taking the time to write this article!

  8. Jenny Ward August 23, 2019

    Yes, thanks for these tips. I’ll take them on board. I write to 8 children, some who are my sponsor kids and some correspondent ones or ones who I organize at the school where I work. I usually write at least 4 or 5 each a year. I make them really good with lots of stickers, postcards, photos of my family or places I visit here in Australia. Sometimes I wonder if the children would like shorter letters but more often, or keep doing quality ones which take more time to organize and think out. Any comments please.

    1. Shannon August 23, 2019

      Hi Jenny,

      First of all, thank you so much for choosing to bless so many sweet kiddos with letters of love and encouragement! We are honored to have you in our Compassion family! I think no matter what you choose for your letters, you cannot go wrong. I just know the children love being thought of. You are doing such a wonderful thing! 🙂

  9. Mary August 21, 2019

    I’ve been writing for years and am encouraged by these fresh ideas. Especially just telling stories about my life and my faith. Thank you!

    1. Shannon August 22, 2019

      Hi Mary,

      Thank you so much for sharing that this blog was so helpful! Letters are so special to our sweet kiddos! 🙂

  10. Daniel Schlueter August 21, 2019

    These tips were helpful. Thank you for sharing them.

  11. David Robinson August 20, 2019

    These are some great tips from a child’s perspective. Thanks so much for this!

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