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.
17 Comments |Add a comment
Before you sponsor those what could be their needs
I am still skeptical about my contributions and how they actually directly and indirectly affect my sponsor child. I would like with certainty to know that everything I do send for my sponsor child goes to my sponsor child and that it’s not a gimmick. I would also like to understand how writing letters work, is it through email or is it through physical Postal Service. I am however excited to be able to sponsor a child at the moment. I just need some reassurance that whatever I send my child or her family is well received by them and not put in a welfare distribution with others unless absolutely necessary. Please advise
Hi Star! Thank you so much for your comment. I completely understand and respect your desire to ensure that your sponsored child is benefiting directly from your sponsorship. When you send your regular $38 monthly contribution, it goes towards your sponsored child’s regular Compassion center attendance and provides vaccinations, Bible teaching, nutritious meals, regular checkups, and health training, to name a few things. In addition to your regular monthly contribution, if you ever send a gift to your child in the form of a child, birthday, or family gift, that gift does go directly to your child, and they are able to then buy whatever they are most in want or need of. If you send a gift of at least $60, then you’ll receive a photo along with a thank-you letter from your child highlighting what they were able to buy with your gift, which is a great way to see how your money is used.
How you want to write letters is completely up to you, and I would be happy to explain how the different processes work! When you send a letter physically, that letter is mailed directly to our headquarters in Colorado Springs. From there, we print out the letter and send it on to the National Office where your child lives. The National Office sorts and translates each letter, and then a staff member at your child’s center comes and picks up the letters, and then delivers it to your child. If you write a letter online, it follows essentially the same process; however, it goes straight to your child’s country’s National Office, rather than having to be printed out at our U.S. office first.
I hope this explanation helps you understand a bit more about sponsorship and letters. If you have any more questions at all, please feel free to send us an email to [email protected]!
Hi. I am still confused as to whether our additional Christmas family gifts go direct to our sponsored child’s family, or if they get put in a pot for equal distribution among more than one sponsored child. Also does our birthday gift go direct to our sponsored child or is it again put in a pot for equal distribution among many. Thank you.
Hi Anne! That’s a great question, and I’m sorry for any confusion caused by the explanation of the Christmas fund! When you give a Birthday, General or Family gift, these gifts are given only to your sponsored child, or their family, to be used for what they need most at that time. Christmas gifts are received and distributed differently than these gift types in that all Christmas donations are combined and then divided evenly among every child in the program. We do this because we want every child to receive a gift and to be included in a special Christmas celebration at their church-based center. Please let us know if you have any additional questions!
I would like to know if the child I sponsor received my gift I sent the family almost 7 months ago. I have not gotten anything from them since I sent it.
Hi, Angela! I’m so sorry you have not received any thank-you from Ikra and her family regarding the generous gift you sent. 🙁 I see that we sent an inquiry to her center about two weeks ago, requesting that they send you a thank-you letter and photo for that gift. As soon as they do that, then we will send that letter and photo on to you! Again, I am so sorry for this wait. You should be hearing from us within the next few weeks!
I sponsor a child only through communication, not financially. How do I find out if this child is being financially sponsored?
Hi, Terry! Thank you so much for being a correspondent to a child. 🙂 All of the children who have correspondents are being financially sponsored, and the financial sponsor willingly put the child on a list of children who need someone to write to them.
Hi, I had a question about my general gift that I gave in February. I noticed that it was stated that I would receive a photo of my child with the gift/gifts that they received from my general gift. I haven’t gotten a photo yet & I was curious as to how long it usually takes to receive the photo? Thank you.
Hi Jason! Thank you so much for blessing your sponsored child in such a tangible way! It can take between two to three months for gifts to be wired and received. This means that you can expect the thank you letter and photo between three and six months after the gift was given. I trust you will receive this thank you letter and photo real soon.
because i had worked with you earlier, is it possible reapply and be accepted as employee?
Hello Simon! You are welcome to apply to work for Compassion again. We cannot guarantee a job position for you, but your application will be reviewed and you will be contacted if we would like to pursue an employment opportunity for you.
My husband and I have sponsored a child in Tanzania for 10 years. He is now 16. How long will we be able to sponsor him? Is there an age cut off?? And how do we continue communication if there is?
Hi Terry! We cannot express how grateful we are for your amazing hearts for this ministry and your desire to help your children find freedom from poverty. What a blessing it must have been to watch Selemani grow into the bright young man he is today! The maximum completion age is 22 years old in 22 of the 25 countries we work in. However, the completion age in the Dominican Republic is 20, and the completion age in Guatemala and Nicaragua is still 18. One day we hope to raise the completion age to 22 for all the countries we work in :). Although our beneficiaries have the option to stay in the Compassion program until age 22, some may choose to leave early or move away from the area. I hope that Selemani will continue to attend the program to receive the maximum amount of benefits and opportunities to become a fulfilled and successful adult free from poverty. We pray that he will break the cycle of poverty within his family. Please let us know if you have any additional questions or concerns. God bless you!
I have a question, if there are more than one child in a family, can the other children have sponsors, too?
Hi Janet! The decision regarding how many children can be sponsored per family is made by the local project leadership. Because the project leadership knows the needs of their community better than we do, we let them decide if it is better to have one sponsored child from many families rather than multiple children from one family. There are families who have more than one child in the program, but usually you will only see one child per family registered in the program. The other children in the families do benefit indirectly by things the registered child shares and by participating in the partner church activities.