Do Things Differently

If Compassion did one thing differently, I think it should be . . .

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  1. Rebecca March 23, 2009

    I think if Compassion did things differently,

    a) every country would be on the reciprocal letter writing system

    b) child updates would be done every year at least, instead of 2! Children change so much in 2 years

    c) information provided on the children will become slightly more detailed. when I read information about my child, they all look like it is v similar to every other child!

    d) i also agree with vicki that I’m not so keen on the idea of generic cards… I think what the kids really want aren’t really letters per se but knowing that someone (i.e. their sponsors) really cares about them and wants to invest both financially as well as emotionally in them! That they are of worth, both to God and to the people around them!

  2. alyson December 1, 2008


    Thank you so much for taking the time to respond!

    I have one other question. I also have a fairly new child from Bolivia but she needs help from her tutor to write letters (I recieved a first letter from her). Will I still get a response for every letter I send to this child?

  3. Kees Boer November 30, 2008


    From what I understand Compassion is moving worldwide to that very system of response letters. It’s taking some time.

    Several countries are already doing that. Some examples are: Bolivia, Burkina Faso, and I understand, Peru, Tanzania, El Salvador, and Uganda. (Correct me if I’m wrong)

    When I was visiting one of my children in Bolivia, she got a letter from me on the same day and with the letter, she got a blank piece of stationary for her to answer my letter. Of course I was sitting right next to her! LOL BTW, she still answered my letter. I got the reply 3 months later!

    I’m not sure what they will do with the suggestion on the yearly updates, but some of these might be great questions to ask in a letter.

    You can also ask in the letter if the project has a camera and if they wouldn’t mind sending an other photo. I’ve done that and got several extra photos of the children.



  4. alyson November 30, 2008

    I truly love Compassion’s ministry, but I have a few suggestions I hope will be considered:

    A yearly photo and info update for the sponsored children. A child changes so much in two years!

    Response letters from the child for every letter sent to them by the sponsor. I think this would really encourage sponsors to write more if they recieved more letters from their child!

    Also, I want to have more information on my child’s family. I would love to know her siblings names and ages and more about her parents. Could this be included in the case study information? And possibly a yearly letter to the sponsor could be sent from the child’s project containing information about the family along with a family photo.

    I hope you will stop and consider these suggestions! Thank you for all you do for children in poverty

  5. Judy Tremblay November 16, 2008

    I just “stumbled” across this post…

    I wish it was possible for Compassion to let sponsors know when their children are seriously ill–especially if they were listed as having no health problems when they were registered (and since the profile may not get updated more than every year or two). I’d love the opportunity to pray as specifically as possible for my child and his family, but with a 6-week delivery time for letters, I only just recently found out that he had been in the hospital (although he was back home).

  6. Chris Giovagnoni October 22, 2008

    Hello everyone.

    Thanks for the tremendous input. I’ll make sure they suggestions and thoughts get shared with the correct people.

  7. Heather October 14, 2008

    Yikes..I’m back again-with a crazily good idea.
    Everyone should remember when we helped the Kamrul the van driver in Bangaladesh get his own van-we wouldn’t have even known of his predicament if Compassion hadn’t posted his story.
    My idea is this: Compassion should start posting a story like that every once in awhile,especially when there is extreme need. Then us,the blog readers,could decide to help should our Saviour lead us to.
    The other idea is simular-maybe the great compassion writers could post the stories of children who need sponsors-the ones who’ve been waiting the longest or have the most extreme needs?? Hopefully there’s some non sponsors reading the blog and maybe the stories would touch their heart..Just an idea hoping maybe it’d get the children who’d been waiting the longest sponsors quicker??

  8. Pam October 14, 2008

    Hi Diantha,
    To get a correspondent child please call the phone center at 800-336-7676, 7-5 MT. They can fix you right up. There are currently plenty of correspondent children available. You can probably request a country and age range (I recommend older kids for the best communication). The countries where you will get a response whenever you write (reciprocal letters) are Tanzania, Thailand, Peru, El Salvador and Ecuador. In other countries the children write 3 times per year. This is an evolving process.
    Everyone, please give us a call, we would love to link you up with a correspondent child (or 2)to encourage.

  9. Shelly Quigg October 14, 2008

    I would like Compassion’s website to have a message board feature where sponsors could get in touch with other sponsors who have children in the same projects. It would be neat to share information and experiences unique to each location. If a sponsor actually visits that project, he or she would be able to share the visit with others who have sponsored children there (and maybe even carry along gifts for the others or take pics of the kids!)

  10. Sara B. October 14, 2008

    I too like the idea of sending generic cards but nothing can replace contact from the sponsor. That is why I think it is so important for all of us to encourage other sponsors to write.

    My grandmother has been a sponsor for many years and finds the idea of correspondence daunting. Recently compassion sent her a postcards to write a note to her child. She was so happy to get them and immediately sat down and wrote a quick note to each of her children.

    Kudos to whoever is coming up with ideas to encourage sponsors to write. Keep up the good work!!

  11. Abbie October 14, 2008

    I like the idea of volunteers providing supplemental generic cards/letters.

    I would love to help with this and could see church children and youth groups, families, elderly, school groups, etc. getting involved in something like this. It could be done as a service project for any of those groups.

  12. Abbie October 14, 2008

    I definitely like the idea of supplemental generic letters/cards. I would love to help do something like that.

    I could really see youth groups, children groups, elderly, schools, etc. getting involved in something like that. Sort of like a service project-making a bunch of generic cards and mail to be sent to Compassion to be used for the children that do not get mail.

  13. Lisa Miles October 14, 2008

    Jumping off of Kees’s post #12:

    Instead of taking the sponsor’s correspondence rights away if they don’t write, perhaps Compassion could reserve the right to SUPPLEMENT the correspondence if necessary. Perhaps in the new-sponsor information Compassion could say something like this:

    “At Compassion International, we consider correspondence between sponsor and child to be a vital part of our program.

    We are committed to each child receiving a minimum of one piece of sponsor mail each year. If sponsor correspondence falls below this level, we reserve the right to supplement correspondence with volunteer-generated postcards and/or generic letters.

    This is not designed to replace the sponsor/child correspondence, but prevents the child from feeling left out as other children in his or her program receive letters.”

  14. Abbie October 14, 2008

    “if the purchase is made locally it benefits their economy”

    I hadn’t thought of this, but you are right! The only thing is that I make handmade dolls and would love to make one for my kids and send it to them-telling them I made it for them. BUT as far as sending other gifts, I will remember what you said.

  15. Diantha October 14, 2008

    Hi Pam ,

    How can I become a correspondent of a child who is not sponsort yet or whose sponsor does not correspont with I am interested in becomming a correspondent sponsor .

  16. Pam October 14, 2008

    Hi Folks, I have been here at CI for 12 years and can shed some light …
    Sara B.- Please call the phone center, we can reduce the duplicate mailings you are getting. Help us be good stewards of your giving and not send you unwanted mail. (be sure to have all 4 sponsor numbers handy when you call.Thanks (800-336-7676)
    Amy Brooke- I have found that when I have specific questions for my child; if I list them concisely in one sentence, in a 1,2,3 format and highlight them, the translator has an easier time of being sure they are accurately translated. I think often questions are not answered because something is lost in the translation for the child.
    Shelly, Amy and Sara B- The availability of correspondent children varies daily. One day there can be a 3 month wait and the next a corporation will sponsor 100 children and request correspondents for them all. This happened just recently, probably about the time Amy made her request. So the phone reps will tell you there may be a wait and that can change.
    Amy- Yes, you can send your correspondent child a money gift but, no, you cannot do this through the web as you are not financially linked to the child. But you can use snail mail and mark the check as a child gift or call us and use a credit/debit card.
    I too would love to send my child a doll but I realize if the purchase is made locally it benefits their economy; that is a very good thing! You would be surprised how many gifts are forwarded each month and the impact this can have on the small local economies. Our sponsors are SO generous!
    Sara- Being a correspondent is a wonderful opportunity to encourage a child. You are not committing to write monthly, but we hope you will write 3-5 times per year. Taking one or two correspondent children can be a wonderful way to increase your ministry to children in need.
    I love this blog, you are all SO engaged!There are some fabulous ideas here and we are listening.
    Blessings to you all for taking the time to give this wondeful input.

  17. Tom Easterday October 14, 2008

    My wife and I sponsore 3… No, now it’s 4 children in the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Honduras. We regularly receive photos from our boy in Honduras, pictures of birthday parties, standing with items purchased with out gifts, etc. We literally get to see him grow up. It would be nice if all the projects could send updated photos more frequently than semi-annually or even anually.

  18. Kees Boer October 13, 2008

    Hi, Sara,

    At the DR conference, we all had an LDP student and a translator at our table for one evening during dinner. We had the chance to ask them anything we wanted.

    On our table we had a girl, who was married and was about to finish up a degree in Business Administration. Her name was Regina. I asked her if she had access to the internet and if she had ever “googled” her sponsor. She mentioned that even though there was no way of checking up on it, that Compassion had asked them not to do that. So she had never done that. I was very impressed by her integrity and conscientiousness in all of this.

    One of my children wrote me in a letter, asking me if I had received the photographs that she had emailed me. She had gone to a cybercafe. I never had gotten them, but I asked her to resend them via Compassion and suggested that we would keep the communication through Compassion. (I must say that I was touched by her reaching out that way to me 🙂 )


  19. Sara B. October 13, 2008


    I cannot wait for that to happen! I would love to be able to see my kids on a web cam and chat with them! especially my LDP student.

    I have heard recently of sponsored kids finding their sponsors online and contacting them but in those situations the contact was not allowed.

    Keep us updated!!!

  20. Kari October 13, 2008

    I would also like to be able to send something more than 8 x 11 sized paper gifts. I have to search and search in toy stores and bookstores to find small books or paper items that my sponsored children might like that will fit in the required envelope. I’d love to be able to send them small gifts that I’ve seen in stores like little paint-by-number sets or small hardback storybooks or even a little T-shirt from the city where I live. I like the gifts I send to be special and personal and it’s so hard to find something like that that will fit in the envelope.

  21. Shelly Quigg October 13, 2008

    I would like to see a picture of the project building and director in the “project” section on the child info page.

  22. Mary October 13, 2008

    This is in response to Richard’s comment, #26. Richard you can use your own manila envelopes to send 4×6 pics. The size can be anything up to 8×10. I don’t use the standard envelopes Compassions sends due to having coloring pages, and cards to send. Then I print off my own labels with Compassions address on it. Hope that helps you out.

  23. Sarah October 13, 2008

    I would also love to be able to send gifts that aren’t always small and flat 🙂 I also would love to have a picture of, and more information about, my child’s family! Thanks for asking for our ideas 🙂

  24. Diantha October 13, 2008

    Hi ,

    I believe that compassion is doing a great job already but if there is a thing that could be different it should be : That we sponsors could send so now and then a small package gift instead of paper gift , and receive twice a year a picture of our sponsor child .
    Also get a sponsor correspondent for kids who do not receive letters and a correspondence sponsor for the kids who do not have a sponsor yet to encourage them while whaiting for a sponsor .

  25. Richard A Hendry October 12, 2008

    It would be nice if the envelope provided for response to a child’s letter were a little deeper so that it coul hold a 4 x 6 photograph. Sometimes I have to trim things to get them in the envelope.

  26. Abbie October 12, 2008

    Also, I was looking in the store the other day and saw that there were new items. It would be great if we could receive an email when or notification somehow that there were new items in the store. I don’t look over there much because it doesn’t change that often. BUT I was excited about the “Please” shirt written in Amharic-even blogged about it!

  27. Pat D October 12, 2008

    I agee with Susan Winston that updated profile information available through the website would be very helpful, but perhaps involves too much work for staff.
    I sponsor girls in India, Ecuador, and El Salvadore. The girl from India has “play house” and “jump rope” in her listed activities. She is 18, which makes me believe this is outdated.

  28. Sara B. October 12, 2008

    Amy, you can call Compassion and speak to one of the sponsor donor specialists about it. As far as I know the only requirement is that you commit to writing at least once a month.

    You can specify how many children you would like to correspond with and compassion will send you packets as they become available. When I signed up I said that I could write to two children but so far I have only gotten one. But it has definitely been a great experience.

  29. Shelly Quigg October 12, 2008


    I called the 800 number and spoke with someone in sponsor services. I asked to be a correspondant and she said that she would add me to their waiting list. I was surprised that their was a list of people waiting to correspond to children. It may have been just “jargon” because I did receive a child packet shortly after and have begun writing to a 15 year old in Ethiopia. It is very exciting to get to know a new child and write to him. I was told I would also be able to send a gift to him, but I don’t see that option next to his name on my sponsor page. I am curious how long his sponsor hasn’t written to him, but of course I won’t bring that up. I was told that he would be told I was his new sponsor. If he true sponsor ends up writing to him, I don’t know what will happen!

  30. Heather October 12, 2008

    I have to agree with some of the above ideas. I’d love to send a doll or something bigger like that and I’d be totally willing to help pay the shipping for it!! 🙂 I’ve read compassion only allows one child per family to be sponsered. Maybe they could change this especially with some families having so many children?

  31. Denise L. October 12, 2008

    I agree with Susan Winton – I’d like to see more current information on the family situation.

    My sponsored child mentioned her brother and mother in letters, but no one else. Then she just happened to mention “my father” – and I had been told the father was dead. It turns out the mom had married another man and had two more children by him – one who was 7, and one who was 3 – at the time I visited my child. I brought gifts for my child and her brother, not knowing about the others.

    But I think sometimes the family may not give correct information, for whatever reason.

  32. Amy Brooke October 12, 2008

    I would love to know how to be a correspondence sponsor. I cannot support more than my two financially, but I could write to a couple more.

  33. Mary October 12, 2008

    Hi, I’m responding to Amanda’s questions(post #13). Yes, you can send your correspondence child or children birthday, family and christmas gifts. And you can also visist your correspondence child. I have checked with the compasssion representatives on this one.

    I have just started writing to my second correspondence child. I called Compassion and asked about the sponsor. Without them breaking confidentiality they informed me the sponsor has 101 children. Hence, it is doubtful the sponsor will write or send gifts. It gave me a better understanding that some individuals or coporations may want to sponsor and just not feel comfortable writing. Yes, I realize they miss out on a great relationship, but they are still providing support.

    I have also asked about the Compassion scrapbook and was told it was only for those who were setting up their own blog site back in Feb. 08. I, too would like to see it made available in the bookstore.

  34. Susan Winton October 11, 2008

    It would be nice if the info on the picture every other year were updated. I have sponsored my child for 9 years, and the same info is in the first one. There have been 2 more children added to the family since then!

  35. Sara B. October 11, 2008

    Lisa- One program for kids whose sponsors don’t write is to assign a correspondence sponsor, with the ok from the sponsor, who writes to the child. The child sees this person as their new sponsor. (I am a correspondence sponsor for a little boy in India)
    This is not the first choice because it means a change for the child and the sponsor misses out on the gift of getting to know the child. But it is an option for those who truly cannot write.
    I too get upset when I hear about kids who don’t write their kids. I would encourage you to talk to the sponsors you know, and encourage them to write to their kids. Some people have even had letter writing parties. There is a letter writing post from awhile back that had a bunch of good comments.

    Amy- Some countries already do!! One of my children is from the Philippines, and I get letters in response to each of mine! It is really cool. From what I have heard, Compassion is working to get this system setup in all of the countries.

  36. Amy Brooke October 11, 2008

    I would like to know more about my child”s family: how many siblings and ages and such and if any others are involved in the program. I may ask in a letter, but my child doesn’t always respond to each question.

    And I’d love to send a package.

  37. Amanda October 11, 2008

    I agree with Lisa…that getting letters to children who never or rarely receive correspondence is a big concern. A generic “you are loved” type of card sounds like a good option. I am not sure what else can be done?

    Perhaps I need to check into the program that needs people to correspond with one of these children who are being left out. When someone picks up the correspondence is the actual sponsor notified? How does it work? Can the corresponder send birthday and family gifts?

    On a lighter note…I have noticed a Compassion Scrapbook in various places…but haven’t found it in the Compassion bookstore. I would love to purchase one. Could they be made available in the store?

  38. Kees Boer October 11, 2008

    On Lisa Miles’s comment, the main thing that I could think of would be that somewhere during the sign up process, it would be clearly communicated that sponsors are expected to write a minimum number of letters, otherwise a correspondent will be found for the child. That way Compassion would feel totally free to find correspondents for those children, who don’t get letters.


  39. Ken M. October 11, 2008

    I have to agree with some of the above comments. I would like to have a yearly photo update along with a yearly update on the progress of my children in their projects and/or their family situation.

    Family photos would be nice, too. Jeferson, a child who I used to sponsor, sent a family photo in his last letter to me. Receiving it made me feel closer to his family. I still have that picture after two and a half years. Even though I don’t sponsor Jeferson anymore, I will still take a look at his picture and pray for him and his family.

    It would be nice to be able to send larger gifts through the mail, too.

  40. Amy October 11, 2008

    I like a lot of the suggestions above. If I could have one thing different, I would like to receive letters from my sponsored children more frequently. I know that it would be difficult to implement and a lot of extra work on the project staff, but more frequent communication would help make it easier to build the sponsor-child relationship (and we sponsors need to do our part in writing, too).

    This wasn’t part of the question, but I noticed Compassion has started doing something differently that I really appreciate. A few months ago I got a wonderful thank you voice mail after contributing to a special fund, and yesterday I got a nice hand-written thank you note for another donation. That really went above and beyond my expectations.

  41. Lisa Miles October 11, 2008

    If Compassion could do one thing differently…I would like them to come up with an innovative program/solution to meet the needs of kids who don’t receive correspondence from their sponsors.

    I have absolutely no idea what that is…but I just think this is a problem that needs to be solved.

    Perhaps a permanent team of volunteers, (similar to advocates), could write generic, colorful, Christ-filled encouraging letters. When a child hasn’t received a letter in a designated period of time, one of those could be sent? Just a letter that says “you are special, you are important, Christ loves you, so many people care about you…” Not necessarily signed by anyone.

    I don’t know…this is just an issue I always come back to that bothers me.

  42. Wendy in Iowa October 11, 2008

    I would like to have a snap shot of the child with their family. In a recent letter a picture of our sponsored child and her mother was included. Or the option to at least view a family picture online.

    PS at work we are able to opt out of paper copies, and select what paper copies we want.

  43. Sara B. October 11, 2008

    I agree with Steve. My family gets 4 copies of everything shipped to our house(4 of us are sponsors) and since I keep up with things on the website I often get reminders/updates on things I have already done.

    I realize that it may be complicated to send mailings to some sponsors and not others, but it could save on printing costs.

    I too would like to get an updated photo yearly.

    There should be a option on the website to be able to search by project number so that sponsors can look for children in the same project as current children. (I know there is a longer way to do this)

  44. Alan October 11, 2008

    I agree with the second commenter. I feel the letters I have received from Compassion could have been sent by e-mail instead. That would save a lot of postage.

  45. Dionna October 11, 2008

    I agree with the first commenter. I so wish I could buy a dress, a doll, anything for my child. It’s hard to not be able to.

  46. Mary October 11, 2008

    I would love to see the family gift amount, currently $300.00 to be increased.

    I know the reasons why that amount has been set up as I have discussed this several times with the compassion representatives.
    I’d still like to think it could change due to all the countries experiencing the global food crisis.

    I have one more idea to add to the mix.
    I would also love to see the Compassion magazine come out more frequently, once a month. Again, I know this is not possible now, but the magazine is great and I have every one since I started receiving them in 2001.

  47. Ceri October 11, 2008

    It would be good (for us sponsors) to have an updated photo of the child(ren) we sponsor, each year as opposed to every two years…

  48. Steve K. October 11, 2008

    … not sending unnecessary paper mail.

  49. Abbie October 11, 2008

    (this is probably a selfish request) but..

    to be able to send a small gift more than 8 1/2 x 11 on occasion.

    Maybe like every once in a while feature a new area each month (or something) and during that time sponsors have the ability to ship a small gift to their child (going through the CO office of course) and that we would be required to pay a little extra if we wanted to do such a thing to help with shipment costs.

    I know there are ramifications of doing such a thing and I trust that Compassion has considered such a thing very carefully.

    You guys do a great job and I honestly feel that you know what is best for the kids, you guys, and even us!

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