Have you ever wondered if your sponsorship really is one-to-one?
Christianity Today recently published an article on American perceptions of child sponsorship. A recent study by Grey Matter Research showed that 87 percent of Americans were familiar with child sponsorship. It also showed that many didn’t understand it. Some were skeptical — thinking sponsorship is a scam — while many others believe it’s a legitimate means to assist children who live in poverty.
But even those who support sponsorship weren’t sure about whether one-to-one sponsorship was legitimate. When asked if they believed sponsorship was a one-to-one relationship, three out of four donors expressed uncertainty, saying they “somewhat” agreed or disagreed.
Our sponsors can rest assured:
At Compassion, we confidently declare that each child supported by our program is connected to only one sponsor.
We are committed to the model of one child matched to one sponsor. As a sponsor, you can be confident your sponsorship donations benefit the child you chose to sponsor. All while knowing that child is receiving support only from you. Sometimes a group of friends, a business or a church choose to sponsor a child together. But in every case, they are the only sponsor to receive information, pictures and correspondence from that child.
Tim Glenn, spokesperson for Compassion International, said in the Christianity Today article:
In Compassion’s model, when a sponsor gives to our ministry, he or she knows that the money will be spent at the local church level to directly benefit his or her sponsored child. In my case, I can rest assured that Hamilton in El Salvador is being fed, getting help with his school work, learning about health and hygiene, developing his social skills, and is being taught Scripture-based values as a direct result of my sponsorship commitment.
Our approach to child sponsorship differs from some sponsorship organizations in that we partner with the local church to implement the program. Also, the main focus of our program is individual child development rather than community development. Sponsorship donations received from a sponsor are sent to the church the child attends for the benefit of the child sponsored.
Children don’t receive cash through sponsorship. Instead, they receive access to health care, educational opportunities, biblical teaching, and other aids for holistic development.
But am I really getting to exchange letters with the child I sponsor?
The answer is a resounding yes! The photo of the child you sponsor isn’t on anyone else’s fridge. And he or she really does receive the personal letters you send and he or she writes you in return!
One area The Donor Mindset Study captured a strongly positive perspective was in regards to correspondence. Approximately 94 percent of current sponsors are confident their letters are a great opportunity for one-to-one contact with the specific child they sponsor. We counted 8 million letters exchanged between Compassion sponsors and students in the last year!
One of the best ways to build a life-giving relationship with a child living in poverty is through regular letter-writing. Sponsors appreciate hearing from the child directly. They gain insight into his or her life while also having the invaluable opportunity to encourage the child in return.
This isn’t just a gimmick. We believe strongly in the power of a one-to-one relationship. Especially as they’re developed over years of sending supportive and encouraging letters to a child in difficult circumstances.
Visiting the child you sponsor
With the uncertainties surrounding child sponsorship, the author of the Christianity Today article writes, “Organizations that offer the option to visit a sponsored child help their donors to feel their operation is legitimate.” We agree!
Compassion sponsors are welcome to visit the child or teen they sponsor. They can go on their own or as part of a Compassion-organized trip. Visiting the child in whom you are investing is a life-changing experience that will grow your faith, as well as bless and encourage him or her.
We work hard to earn and maintain the trust of our sponsors and donors. It’s important for us to keep the doors open so everyone can keep us accountable. Whether it’s financial integrity, child protection or program effectiveness, we invite people to investigate this ministry.
We may not be able to eliminate all doubts and concerns, but we’ll continually try to address them.
Is there anything else you’d be curious to know before you decide to sponsor a child? Leave a comment below and we’d love to answer you!
Written by Devon Cornelius and originally published on the Compassion Canada Blog.