4 Tips for Writing Your First Letter

UPDATE: Since the publication of this post, letter-writing guidelines have changed and as a result you may not be able to send some of these items through Compassion’s correspondence system. Before you send your letter, please review our letter-writing guidelines.

You attended a concert a couple of weeks ago or maybe someone spoke at your church and your heart was moved to sponsor a child through Compassion. Yea! Congratulations!

And then, just yesterday, you received a welcome packet for this new member of your family. As you look through it, you read the section titled “Write to Him” and you think, Wow! I can’t even remember the last time I wrote a letter, let alone sent a card to someone! What in the world am I supposed to write to this child?

4 Tips for Writing Your First Letter

You can write letters online or by using our Compassion App, but a lot of our Pinterest followers like to also use regular mail so they can send fun and creative paper items to their sponsored children.

This month, for our Second Friday Letter Writing Club on Pinterest, we want to encourage new sponsors on their journey and share four tips for writing your first letter to your sponsored child.

1. Introduce your family.

  • Send a photo of your family.
  • Fill out an “All About Me” page.
  • Put together a booklet about each member of your family.
  • Have a little more time and want to get a little more creative? Get out your stickers and markers to make this booklet shared by a fellow sponsor.

2. Tell about where you live.

3. Share a Bible verse.

4. Ask a question or two.

Now, don’t feel like you need to use all of these ideas! Just pick one, write a short note, and pop it in the mail. Then next month, pick another fun printable or craft and pop that in the mail with a short note. In just two to three short months, you will receive your first cream-colored envelope with a letter from your sponsored child, and believe me, that will be an exciting day for you!

Want to find more creative items to mail to your sponsored child?

  • Be sure to follow us on Pinterest.
  • Join us as a member of our Second Friday Letter Writing Club board, where pinners share ideas related to our letter-writing theme each month. Share your Pinterest profile in the comments below to be added to our group board.

Do you have questions about corresponding with your sponsored child or the process for sending and receiving letters? Ask us below by leaving a comment. We’d love to help!

34 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Teodor Student October 26, 2018

    Thank you a lot for this amazing letter writing tips! I think that this tips an application will help for a huge amount of students. Letter writing int is really interesting and important part of education. Also I think that this skill will help everyone help in business communications. I hope that you will continue haring this educational content.

  2. Anna Wilson December 27, 2016


    We are so thrilled to be sponsoring Assiwou from Togo. I am curious- do the letters/cards sent through the online tools (app/website) get to the children any faster than if they are submitted through traditional mail? We plan to do a combination of the two, but I prefer hand-written packages since they have a more personal touch; however, for our first introduction, I want to go through the fastest method possible. Thanks!

    1. Christina Wilson December 27, 2016

      Hi Anna! Thank you so much for choosing to bless Assiwou with your love and support! Regrettably, our wonderful mail staff is currently working through a large backlog of physical letters due to the holidays. Therefore, right now it is faster to send your letter electronically. However, our goal in the future is for both these methods to be fast and efficient :).

  3. Crystal October 12, 2016

    I know this seems to be an older thread, but my husband and I sponsored a little girl over the weekend at a local event and we were wondering if we can be sent our sponsor number in our email, to start our online account and if our stuff has even been processed yet. Will the welcome packet be sent after processing? How long does processing usually take? I tried to create an account with my email, but it wouldn’t go through. Thanks!!

    1. Katherine Brice October 12, 2016

      Hi Crystal! Thank you so much for choosing to sponsor a child! I was not able to locate you account using your email address, but it is possible that your account has not yet been created. It can take about a week for us to receive your information and set up your account. Once your account is created, you will receive your welcome packet, which will include your sponsor number, within 15 days. You will not be able to create your account until you have your sponsor number. If you’d like, you can send an email to [email protected] with your child’s ID number and we can use that to see if your account has been created. Thank you again for choosing to be a blessing in a child’s life and welcome to Compassion!

  4. David and Gina May 15, 2015

    Thanks Emily I will make sure I send her coloring pages, with hope that I will get some back to hang on my fridge.
    🙂 Gina

  5. Gina May 13, 2015

    Hi Everybody, I just wanted to say that my husband and I just finished submitting our sponsorship for a little girl in the Dominican Republic. We are excited about being a part in this little ones life and helping to make things better. One question, am I correct in assuming it will take a day or two before I can log in to my account with my email address, being that I do not have a sponsor number as of yet. Also am I right in thinking that the sponsor number will arrive in my introduction packet within ~15 days, as I see from the previous post. I look forward to interacting with you all and feel so fortunate to be a part of this wonderful organization. -gina-

    1. Emily Vanhoutan May 14, 2015

      Hi Gina! We are so excited that you chose to change the story for a child in the Dominican Republic and welcome to the Compassion family! I tried looking you up in our system and we have not yet received your sponsorship request. If you signed up online (which it sounds like you did), you’re correct that it will take a couple of days to process your sponsorship and get an account set up for you in our system. You will receive a packet of information on your new sponsorship within 15 days :). I understand if you don’t want to wait that long, however! Within the next 48 hours, go ahead and give us a call or email us at [email protected]. We can give you your new sponsor number right there so that you can create an online account and begin writing to your child!

      1. David and Gina May 14, 2015

        Emily, I got home from work and tried the log in. It worked great. I accessed my sponsor number and even wrote my first letter to Ambar from David and I this evening. Thank you for your quick response. I have already learned so much from the blogs and comments. I am so glad to have the comments to read and tips have been wonderful in answering many of my questions. I do have one question. I see many people send color book pages. Do the children have crayons that they take home from school to be able to color the pages? This is such an eye opening experience for me because I would have not thought of that as a problem until I became a compassion sponsor. -gina-

        1. Emily Vanhoutan May 15, 2015

          Gina, thank you for sharing that you have already had the chance to write your first letter! Your kiddo will be so blessed to hear from you and I’m sure will soak up those words in excited anticipation to write you back :).

          Please do send coloring pages, they’re most definitely encouraged! The center will have coloring crayons/pencils available for your child to color with at the center and then they can take the picture home and hang it up or put it in a special place. Crafts like coloring crayons normally stay at the center so that they don’t get lost on the way home and so that all of the children can utilize them, but they’ll certainly be available. You will likely see many drawings from your child in future letters that are done with crayon :). They love to make you beautiful pictures!

  6. Christine May 9, 2015


    I started sponsoring Moses last month at church and filled out the introduction letter and handed it in. I’ve now received my welcome packet and would like to send off another letter…can I write a letter on regular paper (not the intro card provided)? If I write on my own stationary can I mail it in my own envelope? If so, what information needs to be included? His child number, my sponsor number?

    Thanks so much for any information!

    1. Susan Sayler May 11, 2015

      Hi Christine! Thank you so much for supporting Moses and for already thinking about sending another letter to him. You know that each letter is absolutely treasured by the children and they really are such an encouragement! Yes, you can write on whatever paper you would like and send the letter in your own envelope. Please simply include your child’s name and ID number and your name and Sponsor Number on the letter itself. Each letter can be sent to Compassion International, Colorado Springs, CO 80997-0004. Thanks again for loving and supporting sweet Moses!

  7. Sophia March 12, 2015

    Hi there! I just have few questions. I sponsored a boy from Togo two days ago and was wondering how long it takes to receive an information packet. Also, how long does it take to get letters? I can’t wait months here!

    1. Emily Vanhoutan March 13, 2015

      Hi Sophia! Thank you so much for sponsoring Luc with us! He is going to be so excited to get to know you :). I see that Luc was added to your account on March 11th. You can expect to receive more information in the mail regarding your new sponsorship within 15 days. Letters take 2-3 months to be delivered both ways. You will receive an introductory letter from Luc within the first four months. However, I want to encourage you that you’re welcome to begin writing to him right away!

  8. Courtney Biel March 9, 2015

    My wife and I just signed up to sponsor a child this past weekend and registered an account on the website. We understand it can take a few weeks to get our sponsorship packet, but have a question. When we hand write letters, I understand that they get translated into the child’s language… so does the child get the original letter that we wrote or just the translated version?
    Sponsor # 3648640

    1. Emily Vanhoutan March 10, 2015

      Courtney, that’s an awesome question! Your child gets the original version of your letter! 🙂 Letters are so very important and we want your child to see your hand writing, and get the fun stationary you pick out if you choose to use your own. Another reason that we give them the original is we believe it’s a great way for them to learn/practice their English as they read your words! They treasure these letters and love to take them home and show them to their families and then put them in a special place. Our translators will translate your letter in an empty space on the letter/card/items you send to us and then the project staff will deliver your letter to your child.

      1. Courtney Biel March 10, 2015

        Thank you for this helpful information. In light of your advice, would it be helpful to leave enough space between each line so that the translators can enter the translations there?

        1. Susan Sayler March 11, 2015

          Hi Courtney! If you want to leave space for translation between each line or at the end that would be great! If there is no room on your letter, we’ll just attach another sheet of paper with the translation. 🙂

  9. Stacey Wells February 3, 2015

    We just signed up to sponsor at church this weekend. How long before we receive a sponsor ID so we can create a login and get started writing a letter. thanks!

    1. Emily Vanhoutan February 4, 2015

      Hi Stacey! When your information gets to our office, we will create an account for you in our system and add your new child to that account. At that time, you will be mailed a packet of information on child sponsorship which will include your new sponsor ID number :). I don’t see an account for you yet as it can take 2-4 weeks to be finalized. However, you are welcome to get the process started by visiting: https://www.compassion.com/firstpayment. This will create an account for you right away.

  10. Jimmy January 29, 2015

    I would like to send my child cards with beautiful pictures on them. But they don’t fit in Correspondence envelopes provided, can I just put my sponsor number on them and then send them?

    1. Emily Vanhoutan January 29, 2015

      Hi Jimmy! If your stationary/cards don’t fit in the envelopes we provide, feel free to send them in a different envelope as long as it fits the size requirements :). Thank you for your thoughtfulness and creativity in blessing your child with cards that they’ll be able to hang up or put in a special place!

  11. Joe January 27, 2015

    Are we allowed to send care packages and gifts besides the financial contribution.

    1. Emily Vanhoutan January 28, 2015

      Hi Joe! Regrettably, although we certainly understand your heart in wanting to send larger tangible gifts to your kiddo, care packages cannot be sent. We don’t allow these for several reasons. One is that the cost of shipping often exceeds the value of your gift. There is also a high risk of theft or loss as it goes through customs and we cannot guarantee it would reach your child. Because Compassion is committed to stewardship and integrity, we want to be able to ensure everything you send, reaches your child. Another is the time that it took for our staff to deliver the package to your child and that delivery services are rarely operational as they are in the U.S. Because of this, we do offer letters and monetary giving. I certainly apologize for this inconvenience because I truly appreciate you wanting to bless your child so tangibly! I personally love the idea of a monetary gift however, because it not only stimulates your child’s economy as they go out and purchase a gift in the market place, but it also allows them to purchase exactly what they are needing at that time. Your child also receives 100% of your gift and that donation can go a long ways in many of the areas we work in! You might be interested in our blog that talks about gifts in further depth!

  12. fyon December 11, 2014

    I have not receive the welcome package…
    I am from Singapore and donar ID is 3554169.

    1. Emily Vanhoutan December 11, 2014

      Hello Fyon! I am so sorry that you haven’t received your welcome packet for Jonathan yet. Because you live outside of the United States, mail can take up to several weeks longer to reach you. If you do not receive your welcome packet by the end of next week, please email us at [email protected] and we will re send your packet to you. I would also encourage you to go online to your My Account on https://www.compassion.com and verify that we have your address correct. If there are any changes that need to be made, you can update them under “Edit Settings” next to “Account Settings” on the right side of the page. Thank you so much for choosing to make a difference in Jonathan’s life! I know that he will be so excited to get to know you :).

  13. Carly Maguadog December 7, 2014

    I cannot figure out an address to send our letter to. Can anyone help me out? Sponsor# 3580461-3 Thanks so much!

    1. Emily Vanhoutan December 8, 2014

      Hi Carly! I am so sorry you’re having trouble finding our address! You can send your letters to the following:

      Compassion International
      (No street address necessary)
      Colorado Springs, CO 80997

      This is the full address. Please include your sponsor number and child number on anything you send.

      1. Carly Maguadog December 8, 2014

        Thanks so much!

  14. Kaylah November 25, 2014

    This is a really good article my family will totally use this

  15. Jasmine November 18, 2014

    I sponsored a child last month but have not received the welcome packet yet. May I know who I can email to check if it’s been sent out? I am from Singapore so I can’t call the helpline without incurring expensive oversea charges. My sponsor ID is 3564616. Thank you!

    1. Emily Vanhoutan November 19, 2014

      Hi Jasmine! Thank you so much for sponsoring sweet Lili with us :). It looks like your sponsorship officially began on October 31st. I just checked your account and your welcome packet has been mailed. It usually takes about 15 days for this information to reach our sponsor’s living in the United States. Because you live in Singapore it may take up to two weeks longer for you to receive this packet. I hope that you receive this very soon! In the meantime, you’re welcome to view your account information, see your child, and even write a letter to her by logging into your My Account on https://www.compassion.com.

  16. Summer November 14, 2014

    Thank you for posting! This is so timely as we are putting together our packets for our new sponsor children. An issue that has arisen, and we are unsure how to handle, is the fact that my husband is an active-duty soldier. Our children reside in Uganda and we have no idea what the words “army” or “soldier” would communicate to them. Should we not discuss that aspect of our lives, try and describe his duties without his actual job description, etc. Any suggestions would be helpful! Thank you!

    1. Susan Sayler November 18, 2014

      Hi Summer! I appreciate that you are concerned about this subject and communicating in a sensitive manner. However, I would encourage you to not necessarily shy away from mentioning that your husband is in the US military. It is helpful for our children to see different career opportunities and to be encouraged to dream about their own futures. You may be aware that the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), and extremely evil organization that employed child soldiers, started in Northern Uganda but was driven out of the country in 2010 by the Ugandan army with help from US military advisers. It may actually be an inspiration or an encouragement that your husband is a soldier. On a side note, thank you so much for your husband’s service and your family’s sacrifice for our country! 🙂

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