How Is My Money Used Each Month?

Thirty-eight dollars a month. That’s how much it costs to sponsor a child through Compassion International. We sometimes receive questions like this:

“I am getting a bit concerned with the cost to sponsor a child. Where is the money going that isn’t going to the children? I would hate to think it is for a glossier overedited over advertising or staff bloat to make sponsors feel better.” — Nancy White

At the core of many of the questions we receive are three matters: “What does the child I sponsor get each month for $38?” (i.e., how are our programs run and what do we deliver?), “Where is the money going that isn’t going to the children?”, and “How is Compassion different from other organizations?”. They’re all important questions.

How Is My Money Used Facebook

What Makes Compassion’s Child Sponsorship Program Unique?

I’m not an expert on how other sponsorship programs are run, but what I do know is that some organizations don’t have Christ at the center of what they do. And some allow children to have multiple sponsors.

So two things that Compassion delivers is the Gospel and a one-to-one relationship with your child.

Some child sponsorship programs just focus on one or two areas of a child’s development, rather than being all-encompassing, and other organizations administer their programs on behalf of the community a child lives in, rather than focusing directly on a specific child. Compassion delivers holistic child development that is child focused.

Additionally, some organizations receive government funding. We do not. We’re 100 percent sponsor and donor supported.

And finally, some programs are more localized and less global than our program is. We’re a global holistic child development ministry and we use a one-on-one sponsorship model that encourages you and your child to share your faith with each other. We’re Christ centered, child focused, and church based.

Some programs may have similarities to ours, but none are exactly the same. That’s what we deliver.

Where Is the Money Going that Isn’t Going to the Children?

As for how we spend your money, no more than 20 percent pays for administration and fundraising. That’s our commitment to you. And for the past several years, we’ve been significantly below that 20 percent.

In fiscal year 2015, 81.8 percent of your donations paid for project grants, program services and child advocacy (i.e., educating the Body of Christ about the biblical mandate to care for children and the poor), while 18.2 percent was used for administration and fundraising.

How Is My Money Used to Help the Child I Sponsor?

The money categorized as project grants is delivered directly to our church-run child development centers to cover the costs for providing the services and opportunities that make up our program.

  • regular Christian training
  • supplemental nutrition support
  • educational opportunities (e.g., funding school attendance and/or regular participation in alternative educational activities, as well as opportunities to learn life and job skills. )
  • health care and training (e.g., regular physical exams, dental care, vaccinations, referral for advance medical care, instruction in physical and dental hygiene, exercise, nutrition and preventive health care)
  • social and emotional development (e.g., learning basic social skills, teamwork, art, drama, dance, etc.)
  • materials and supplies including hygiene supplies (e.g., soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste), center supplies (e.g., paper, writing utensils, games, toys), fees or costs associated with field trips, camps, drama, art and dance activities, and snacks, food and supplemental nutrition each child may need
  • individualized care and attention (e.g., school progress reports, center attendance records, health records, home visits by social workers and adult supervision while at the development center)

Program services include activities undertaken by our staff to select, train, equip and oversee the church partners implementing our program, as well as programmatic research and evaluation. They also cover the costs of staff who direct and maintain the daily activities at the child development center.


More personally, this is where the money comes from for letter translation, postage, taking photos of your child, and updating you on your child’s well-being.

You can consider program services as the funding source for maintaining our program’s integrity and all the things that connect you and your child.

That about sums it up. I hope this explanation is useful to you.

If you want to speak with someone about our financial accountability stewardship or the independent research that proves our child sponsorship program really works, call us at (800) 336-7676.

This was originally published on June 27, 2010 and has been updated with the most accurate information as of April, 2016.

106 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Sonja June 19, 2021

    I’m so glad I read these comments before donating. It’s sad to see these comments. And who are you hurting here ….the children in need. More money could be going to them. I can’t even imagine someone taking money from people donating to children in need and then have a big cushion for themselves. I couldn’t do that. Not only would I feel horrible about myself but I think God would be displeased.

    1. Jesse June 22, 2021

      Hello Sonja! Thank you for your feedback. Although the percentage that goes to your child is higher for Compassion than most organizations that do similar work, we understand where you are coming from. We also fully understand and support that donors have the right to choose which organizations best fit their giving criteria. Compassion is child focused, church centered, and we long to release all children from poverty, in Jesus name! If you have any further questions or concerns please feel free to send us a DM or email us at and we would be happy to help! God bless!

  2. Paula Cawthon May 18, 2021

    This is first time I have looked into you website. I have sponsored 2 different girls in Nicaragua. I signed up to sponsor a child when I heard about Compassion on a morning Focus on the Family radio program, I believe I began my sponsorship in 2008 for the first girl. She aged out of the program at age 15. I then began to sponsor another girl. So I have sponsored a child for 13 years.

    Until today, I had no idea the CEO of your organization was paid so highly. I am shocked at his salary. Most Christian CEO do not make this kind of money. I am sorry that money is coming out of my monthly sponsorship of $45 to fund the CEO’s salary.

    1. Nicole May 18, 2021

      Hi, Paula! I am deeply sorry for the concerns you have that have caused you to doubt the financial integrity of Compassion. We are so grateful that you have been sponsoring with us for 13 years! That is amazing and truly shows your heart for helping kiddos in poverty. Thank you! With that being said, I’m sad to hear you are recently questioning your giving and how it is used, so I hope I can provide some answers and help. Please know that we take financial integrity very seriously, and, as a fellow sponsor, I understand how it may be unsettling when looking at the salaries of our upper management and board of directors. I do not want you to feel pressured to change your mind but rather would just like to give you more information.

      In order to develop quality staff at Compassion while maintaining great care and wisdom for our finances, we strive to offer competitive salaries for the various positions necessary to successfully execute Compassion’s mission statement. As mentioned in our blog, some organizations are government funded; but we are not. Additionally, behind the scenes, our leaders are faithful sponsors and donors as well. They personally and financially support the ministry as well as give to other charities.

      With regard to our funds more specifically, Compassion has averaged more than 80 percent of total expenditures being used for program activities over the years, with less than 20 percent being used for fundraising and administration. This is one of the highest percentages for an organization like ours; and individual funds such as, Partners of Compassion, is not included in the 20 percent.

      Again, I cannot express how sorry I am to hear of the doubts you have about Compassion and whether our compensation is fair. We sincerely look forward to maintaining your trust and proving our hearts for serving our sponsors and children with excellence. If you have any additional questions or concerns, you are welcome to email us at

  3. Gus Amaya May 7, 2021

    CEO Compassion,

    Why is your CEO making over $430,000 a year….? That is gross and negligence from your organization. Not even the President of the USA makes that kind of money.

    I was about to donate, but not with this kind of waste of donors money.

    When you take the initiative to reduce costs overal. Then reach me a my email: GUSAMAYA@YAHOO.COM

    Your goal should be 92% for programs. Not below 80%.

    Thank you,

    G Amaya.

    1. Anna May 7, 2021

      Hello Gus. I understand how it may be unsettling when looking at the salaries of our upper management and board of directors. In order to develop quality staff at Compassion, while at the same time managing our financial resources with great care and wisdom, we seek to offer competitive salaries for the various positions necessary to successfully execute Compassion’s mission statement. We take financial integrity very seriously here at Compassion. We commit to at least 80 percent of donations going to our program, and we consistently average over 80 percent. Less than 20 percent of donations go towards marketing and administration fees. Please note that our leaders are faithful sponsors and donors as well, and personally and financially support the ministry as well as give to other charities. I believe you have already looked at our financial records which are posted publicly on our website at I encourage you to read the research that was done by a third-party researcher about the effectiveness of our program at as well. You may also look at what watchdog organizations, like Charity Navigators, say about Compassion. If you have any additional questions, you are welcome to send us a private message at

  4. Jason April 22, 2020

    Thanks for taking the time to lay out some general cost categories.

    Of the 80% that goes towards program fees and the child, can you break this number down a bit more?

    Or how would these estimates compare to your internal goals?

    50% on the ground staff and building
    10% for resources for Biblical Training
    10%for on the ground conferences and meeting for best practices
    10% for child’s food, education, and medical costs…

    Thanks for your help in understanding. I’d imagine most of the cost of programming is great staff and training great staff, and building upkeep for your offices overseas?

    1. Sierra April 22, 2020

      Hi Jason! Thank you for posing this question. Sadly, we don’t have the information you’re looking for, but I would be happy to explain the fund distribution process for you a little bit. Every month, we combine all the current sponsorship funds we receive into one central fund. The overhead and field support costs are deducted, and then we divide the balance over the total number of sponsored children. We then send the appropriate amount of money to each country office, who then designates it to each center. It’s hard for us to break down exactly how our 80% for program / child fees is used because each center uses the funds slightly differently. For example, one center might spend more on food, while another spends more on medical checkups. I hope this explanation makes sense! Please let us know if you have any other questions, and we’d be happy to answer them to the best of our ability. 🙂

  5. Cassey Than December 27, 2019

    Merely wanna state that this is very helpful, Thanks for taking your time to write this.

  6. Karen Lilly November 11, 2019

    Why don’t we receive a new picture of our child annually? The only picture we’ve received is the one when we selected her. The information we receive is pretty generic and there have been some inconsistencies about her home life. A member of our church recently found out that their child is actually 20 years old but she was told the child was younger when she adopted him, and he’s in jail. Will we be notified when the child we sponsor turns 18? All this gives us pause, wondering if I donation would be better used locally.

    1. Sierra November 12, 2019

      Hi, Karen. Thank you so much for posing these questions. I completely understand where you are coming from with these frustrations, and I’m so sorry for any inconsistent information you’ve received about Anne and her family. If you would like to address these so we can possibly do some more intensive research and send an inquiry to her center, we would be happy to do that for you, if you would kindly send us an email at

      We do send photo updates of the children in our program approximately 24 months, and it would be wonderful to be able send them more often; however, for the staff of the center to send more updates than they already do would take away time the children have to do other program activities. Some centers have over 200 children who attend, and sending twice as many photo updates as they do now would not be a good use of their time and resources. I actually do see that Anne just had a photo update on November 5th, so you got a photo update a little early! We would be happy to email that photo to you, if you would like. You should also be able to view that photo on your online account at, and you should also be receiving a physical copy in the mail shortly.

      I am so sorry to hear about your friend’s sponsored child. That is not acceptable at all, and we should have been much better about communicating that information to them. Sometimes, birth dates do get put in the system incorrectly, but those should be caught before the child graduates Compassion’s program, and if there’s ever a situation where the child isn’t attending the project anymore, that should also be relayed to the sponsor. Your friend’s sponsorship experience is not at all up to par with how we strive to run sponsorships and communicate with sponsors.

      We will notify you when your child graduates the program. According to our records, this isn’t until the year 2035, which is when she’ll turn 22. This is the typical age of graduation in Haiti. Of course, things may happen before then that cause her to leave the program early, in which case, we would notify you of that, as well.

      Please let us know if you have any further questions or concerns about anything I’ve addressed here. We would be happy to help you with whatever you need!

  7. Mychelle Fitzgerald April 30, 2019

    I picked a child to sponsor at a C.S. Lewis event in San Francisco. I am reading over your website and am not happy to see the salary of your CEO. I don’t really care what other CEO’s make in this line of work. In a ministry setting the money should go to the people who need it most. Not in the pocket of the CEO and other high level salary people. How can you justify a $300K+ salary when you are supporting people who make $12 a month? I really want to support the little boy that I choose but do not like the fact that it is supporting the CEO’s life style. I was going to donate a higher amount but have changed my mind. I signed up for a child so I will follow up on my commitment. My prayer is that God helps your CEO and management team realize this is a ministry and not a business to profit from.

    1. Sarah May 1, 2019

      Mychelle, our statement on stewardship says the following: “The ministry of Compassion belongs to the children, our Implementing Church Partners, our sponsors and donors, our Supporting Church Partners and ultimately to God. Therefore, we protect, develop, and deploy all of our resources (people, time, money, knowledge, reputation and materials) with great care and wisdom.” In order to develop quality staff at Compassion while at the same time managing our financial resources with great care and wisdom, we seek to offer competitive salaries for the various positions necessary to successfully execute Compassion’s mission statement. Also, please note that our leaders are faithful sponsors and donors as well, and personally and financially support the ministry.

  8. Tim December 27, 2018

    Are the salaries included in ‘administrative costs?’… the almost half a million that goes to the CEO?..3.3 million spent on just board of directors / C-level executives is a bit absurd, dont you think?

    1. Shannon December 28, 2018

      Hi Tim,
      The administrative cost of Compassion does include the salaries of all of our staff. Our statement on stewardship says the following: “The ministry of Compassion belongs to the children, our Implementing Church Partners, our sponsors and donors, our Supporting Church Partners and ultimately to God. Therefore, we protect, develop, and deploy all of our resources (people, time, money, knowledge, reputation and materials) with great care and wisdom.” In order to develop quality staff at Compassion while at the same time managing our financial resources with great care and wisdom, we seek to offer competitive salaries for the various positions necessary to successfully execute Compassion’s mission statement. Also, please note that our leaders are faithful sponsors and donors as well, and personally and financially support the ministry. You can visit our website at and view our tax documents that list the specific information on our Upper management and Board of Directors salaries, if you would like.
      Again, we do understand your concern. However, we feel very strongly about the way we compensate our staff. Compassion’s 2016-2017 990 form shows our CEO, Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado’s reportable compensation from the ministry as $340,940 which is well below other ministries within this same field. I have included a link to the 990 form posted on our website here: This is from the time period of Jun 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017. We usually compare our CEO’s compensation to World Vision’s President, who has a reportable compensation from that organization as $466,685, because they are an organization of comparable size and mission.
      We do want to thank you for your heart to ensure our children are the focus of our ministry. We appreciate you taking the time to provide us feedback as well. We hope this helps! -Shannon

  9. Sunali November 25, 2018

    I’ve sponsored a child for a year now (from my own country Sri Lanka). But I’m wondering why, despite her being 8 years old, her letters are always written by an interpreter? and why I’m addressed as “dear sponsor” rather than by name? I have to admit that these reasons have prevented me from writing back as it doesn’t seem much of a personal relationship.

    1. Sarah November 26, 2018

      Hello Sunali! Children at a younger age are not always comfortable writing a letter completely on their own and are allowed to have help from a tutor. Many of the children we serve have not been able to attend school before being enrolled in the program, so they are still learning how to write. When tutors help the children, they do write down what the child is verbally telling them to share with the sponsor for each section of the letter. As Jayasingha becomes more comfortable with writing, you will see her begin to write her letters completely on her own. I am showing that the letters are using your name in the translation. If Jayasingha is using “Dear Sponsor” instead, it is only meant as a respectful greeting to you. It may also help her become more personal in her letters if you would take a moment to send her a letter in return to help develop that personal relationship between the two of you.

  10. Terri P. November 7, 2018

    Mark, my husband and I have sponsored a child in Ghana for 5 years where the average monthly income is $11 (or $132 annually.) We have always given gifts in excess of $60 at least twice yearly so that Bismark can purchase new shoes, underwear, a pair of shorts and a shirt (for church attendance perhaps,) soap, a bag of rice, a few tins of fish, and a towel. We treasure the pictures we receive of Bismark with his gifts, and they have encouraged us to be even more generous by giving family gifts to bless his brother, sister, and grandmother(guardian.) We would like to challenge you to place your sponsored child’s picture on a jar/can and label it as birthday money for him/her. If you put spare change or at least $5/month in the container, you will be able to send a $60 gift and receive a picture. Place the new picture on the jar for the next gift and I promise you and your family will be greatly blessed to see in a tangible way what your birthday gift can do for your sponsored child! Everything we have is a gift from God because He owns it all, and it really is more blessed to give than to receive!

  11. Mark November 3, 2018

    So I read in this post that 90% of a birthday gift actually goes directly to the child. The recent mailing I received suggests between $15 & $100 with a recommended amount of $30. I also read on another site that the average monthly income in Ghana, where the child I sponsor lives is $15/mo. If I send $30, then according to this blog post, my child will receive $27 which is almost two months of monthly income there. I have never spent two months of my income on my own child’s birthday gift. If I made $100K/year (which I don’t), my monthly income would be $8333. We spend about $50 on our kids for their birthday. That is less than 1% of my monthly income and the recommended amount represents 200% of the average Ghana monthly income. I am happy to give a birthday gift but I am struggling with the math on this. What would a child in Ghana do with $27?

    1. Shannon November 5, 2018

      Hi Mark,

      Please know that the $30 gift is only a suggestion, by no means are you obligated to give this amount. Please keep in mind that the families in our program are not thriving on the amount of money they make monthly. These families are struggling to make it day by day and do not have enough money to provide adequate food, hygiene products, school supplies, fix their homes, etc. This is why they feel so blessed when they have one of their kiddos join our program, because we are able to provide opportunities they would otherwise not have.
      Also, if you do decide to provide a gift for your child, these funds are not given directly to the child to spend. These funds are actually given directly to the church partner. From here, a member of the church will meet with the child and family to decide how the gift money should be spent. At that point it is actually someone from the church who will purchase these items, sometimes along with the family. We never provide the money directly to the family as that can be very dangerous for the family and this way we can monitor what is purchased.
      All in all, we want you to know that your gift will bless the family with items that they otherwise could not afford. These items tend to be things like school supplies or school uniforms, clothes, food, livestock, soaps and other hygiene products, etc. No matter the amount you send, just know you are doing a wonderful thing by blessing them. 🙂 Please let us know if you have any other questions! You may also email us anytime at -Shannon

  12. Terry and Mary Bell June 20, 2018

    Does the entire amount of money minus the 20% for admin costs go to our sponsored child? It sounds as though it goes into a fund that is distributed among all of the children in the program? How are the special gifts of money ie, birthday, Christmas etc, used? Thank you.

    1. Madison Raska June 21, 2018

      Hello Terry and Mary! I am happy to help you today! The contribution you send each month goes to the center your child attends to help them. The 80% goes to the center, and the 20% goes to administrative costs. The gifts you send your child, such as birthday gift, child gift and a family gift goes directly to your child; 90% of this gift goes to them, and 10% goes to currency changes. The Christmas gift is actually a pooled fund to be distributed among all Compassion children. We want all the children to receive a Christmas gift and none of them to feel left out. If you have any further questions, please let us know and we will be happy to assist you.

  13. Joy January 28, 2018

    I am burdened to sponsor a child faced with medical and nutritional needs. Do all the centers provide these services? It’s hard to find on your website which centers provide physical and spiritual needs. Many of the centers are listed as providing sports and/or “cultural activities”. I understand the importance of those activities too, but as an adult who grew up in poverty, I am wanting to find a center that provides meals to children too.

    1. Christina January 29, 2018

      Hi Joy! All of our child development programs provide opportunities that encourage healthy development in four areas — spiritual, physical, social and economic. The children Compassion serves receive: the opportunity to hear the gospel and learn about Jesus; regular Christian training; educational opportunities and help; health care, hygiene training and supplementary food if necessary; a caring and safe Christian environment to grow in self-confidence and social skills; personal attention, guidance and love. Some projects are able to provide additional activities like sports, cultural activities, etc., on top of the normal support :). Thank you so much for your heart and desire to help a child find freedom from poverty!

  14. Kelly Ramsey December 28, 2017

    I would like to get in touch with a previously sponsored child (13 years!) that I am no longer sponsoring. How is this possible? We shared so much, between the drawings, pictures of our families and gifts, then it completely stopped when he turned 16. I ache to know how he is and what his life is like now.

    1. Christina December 28, 2017

      Hi Kelly! We greatly appreciate your heart for children in need and your desire to reconnect with your former sponsor child! While Compassion does allow sponsors to continue writing when a child leaves the program, we strongly discourage it due to privacy and safety concerns. The communication is outside Compassion’s oversight and is no longer monitored for content. With this situation there are some things to consider.

      I was able to locate your account using your email address, and I see you are currently sponsoring sweet Josefa from Mexico for the past 3 years. Regrettably, I do not see any history of a different child on your account? Were you sponsoring this child through Compassion International? Do you remember the child’s number? Also, did you mean that you sponsored this child for 13 years or that you sponsored this child 13 years ago? If you sponsored the child 13 years ago, then, sadly, we will not be able to help you reconnect as it has been too long. I sincerely hope that I will be able to help you. I look forward to your reply!

  15. ana November 30, 2017

    how much money am i giving my child

    1. Susan Sayler November 30, 2017

      Ana, I was regrettably unable to locate your account to say for sure, but sponsorship is $38 per month. Please reply or email with your sponsor number and we would be happy to advise you specifically on your account.

  16. Mary June 23, 2017

    My son and I are deciding on sponsoring a 17 yo boy from Africa. I am curious of what he actually receives. It appears that approximately $31 goes to programs the child participates in. Can you let us know of the $31 what he receives that he would not have received if he was not sponsored? Thank you.

    1. Shannon June 26, 2017

      Hi Mary! We are so excited that you are thinking of sponsoring with Compassion! You are correct. Compassion is committed to making sure that at least 80% of your monthly donation goes directly to funding the program that you child attends. This includes things like, access to clean water, nutritious food, medical care, clothing, assistance with education, and the opportunity to learn about Jesus. The wonderful part about the Compassion program is that as soon as a child is registered in our program, they have access to all the benefits right away. The one thing that they do not have without a sponsor though is a relationship with someone who has selected to sponsor them. We truly believe that the relationship that you build with your child through letters of love and encouragement is one of the most important parts of the program; as you may be the first person who has ever told this child that they are loved, beautiful, smart, and worthy. Sometimes it takes years for a child to receive a sponsor, and during that time, Compassion is happy to cover the expenses for that child. But the wonderful thing is, the more children we are able to get sponsored, the more children we can accept into the program and help! 🙂

  17. Bertha Beachy May 13, 2017

    We sponsored 2 boys. I keep trying to write a letter but it keeps saying we haven’t sponsored a child. What’s the deal? We were sent packages with the boys names and number. If i can’t write letters on your website then you shouldn’t say that we can. It’s been very frustrating and does raise questions about your organization.

    1. Christina Wilson May 15, 2017

      Bertha, we are so grateful that you responded to God tugging at your heart to sponsor sweet Neymar and Jose. I hear your heart for this ministry and your desire to foster a meaningful relationship with your two boys.

      I am deeply sorry for the concerns you have that have caused you to doubt the integrity of Compassion. Regrettably, there are scam organizations out there and they have made it very difficult for organizations that are legitimately doing good work. For this reason, I encourage donors of any organization to do their research. Yes, please do Google us and read reviews of what people are saying about Compassion International. Look at what watchdog organizations, like Charity Navigators, say about Compassion. Go look at our financial records which are posted publicly on our website. Read the research that was done by a third-party researcher about the effectiveness of our program. If you can, travel to see what we do firsthand and meet your child. Please do research us and prayerfully consider whether this is the organization you are called to give to.

      Regrettably, it looks like there was a complication in processing your sponsorships of Neymar and Jose, so I am emailing you now with more information. I cannot express how sorry I am to hear of the doubts you have about Compassion, and we are very sorry for the confusion regarding your sponsorships. We sincerely look forward to earning your trust and proving our hearts for serving our sponsors and children with excellence.

  18. Danny May 12, 2017

    I think compassion need to focus mainly on the specifics on how the money is being spent and what the child is getting from it. Make it easier to track and trust what is happening. At the moment I’m continuing to pay the £25 a month for my sponsored child but I’m beginning to feel a bit uneasy about it. I received 2 letters which were similar but at different times and 1 letter yesterday which said Happy Christmas and a happy new year and it’s May. To write these simple letters and scan them isn’t a very intensive job and could be done very quickly. I’m doubting if this is set up properly or just advertised very well and really not doing what it says it is.

    1. Susan Sayler May 12, 2017

      Danny, I am so sorry to hear that you are feeling uneasy about your sponsorship and I sincerely apologize as it sounds like there is a valid issue with your letters. Regrettably, this blog is designed for USA sponsors and as a USA staff member I am unable to handle your account. I would encourage you to contact our UK office and they would be more than happy to assist you and make sure you receive the letters in a timely manner. Compassion UK can be reached via email at or by telephone at 01932 836490. We do appreciate your feedback and will take it into consideration in the future. You are right that trust needs to be built and retained with our supporters and transparency goes a long way to do that.

  19. Claudia Hart June 7, 2016

    Twice I have sent envelopes containing a letter, stickers, coloring pages, etc. but have never received an acknowledgement from my child that he received them. I followed all the proper procedures regarding size, wrote my child’s name and number, along with my sponsor number, on each item, etc. I would like to send other little packages but I am hesitant to do so if he is not receiving them.

    1. Lynne June 7, 2016

      Claudia I have the exact same issue. I only hear from my child maybe 3 times a year
      I would like some acknowledgment too. Also, when I send money for a birthday or Christmas gwhat he got

      1. Emily Vanhoutan June 8, 2016

        Hi Lynne! I see that your sweet boy Raul, in Bolivia wrote to you six times last year. Please let me know if you didn’t get all of these letters as our records show they successfully mailed to you. If you didn’t receive all of them, I can see if our country office has a copy of any of these letters. You’re a wonderful letter writer and it looks like your boy is too and loves to hear from you so we certainly want to ensure you’re receiving all of your letters. Also, children are not required to send thank you letters for Christmas but they are for any other type of gift. If you send a gift and it’s been six months and you still haven’t received a thank you letter, please email us at and we can send an inquiry to our country office to check on the gift, ensure your child got it, and request a thank you letter be written for you. You certainly have the right to know how your kind gift was used to bless Raul. I see that you sent him a gift in July of last year. He wrote you a letter in January of this year that I’m hoping acknowledged that gift for you. But if he didn’t, please send us a copy of that letter and we’ll get a thank you letter for you! Your other gift was sent just this March, so you’ll receive a thank you letter regarding this gift around September or maybe even earlier :).

    2. Sarah June 7, 2016

      Hi Claudia! Thank you so much for sending such fun little packages to Walter! I am so sorry to hear that he hasn’t acknowledged them :(. From the information I see on your account, it looks like we just processed a letter from you in early December and one in the middle of January. Are these the letters you are talking about? Walter is receiving each one of your letters. In fact, we just processed a new letter from Walter on May 13! Have you received that one yet? Walter may not realize that you would like a written acknowledgement that he received your letters. I would encourage you to ask him in your next letter if he enjoyed your letters and received the stickers and coloring pages. I am sure your letters brought big smiles to his face! Keep up the wonderful job writing to him, Claudia, because you are making a difference in this little eight year old’s life!

  20. Doreen German June 6, 2016

    I love how efficient Compassion organization is. I don’t know of any other ministry that uses only 20% for costs. Can you imagine a church only using 2o% of their income for costs? And yet you guys are doing it, year after year, decade after decade! God has blessed this ministry! Thank you!

  21. Amber McGraw May 4, 2016

    My husband and I are sponsoring a little girl who’s name has all of a sudden changed. I’m a bit concerned. It started out as Adeline and is now Angelique? All the papers and booklets I have say Adeline, today I called to make a payment and they say her name is Angelique? I would love to send pics as proof….

    1. Susan Sayler May 4, 2016

      Hi Amber! I am so sorry for the confusion and can understand your concern for your child. Our records state that your child’s name was originally entered as Adeline into our system when she was registered. On April 29, staff realized that her name was misspelled and they corrected the spelling in our system. Child name misspelling regrettably does happen either because of a miskey error or because the parents are illiterate and do not know how to spell the child’s name so the spelling may vary on different documents. Compassion tries to go off of official person records if possible so a name change may happen when the child receives a birth certificate or some other legal document with a different spelling. I am mailing you a new child packet and will email you your child’s photo to show that she is the same child just her name was misspelled on her original paperwork.

  22. SeaJay March 28, 2016

    You mailed me the same thing twice, on the same day, two first class envelopes with colorful paper printouts.


    I already get all I need from email. No postage. No Ink. No dead trees.

    Please be sure to pay attention to us people that request email only.

    1. Emily Vanhoutan March 29, 2016

      Hi SeaJay! I’m so sorry that you received a duplicate mailing as this was certainly not our intention and possibly done by error. Regrettably, I was unable to locate your account by email to update your preferences but we certainly want to respect your wishes to no longer receive mailings from us. Please email us at with your sponsor number or child ID number and we’ll update your account for you.

  23. Amy J February 2, 2016

    If I am unable to send any more money for the child that I am sponsoring, what happens with that child?

    1. Sarah February 3, 2016

      Amy, if you are struggling to make donations for your child, we can place the child back up for sponsorship. Your child will still be able to attend all activities while he or she waits for a new sponsor. However, we also may be able to help you out if your hard financial situation is temporary. You can always email us at for more information on the options you have. We certainly want you to stay connected to your sweet child if you are able to.

  24. Jana March 5, 2014

    I have a question I am a first time sponsor. And you had a booth at one of the Christian concerts that I went to and I decided to Sponsor a child and I paid cash instead of check or debit/credit card. Can I send cash with the letter that I will send every month instead of paying through debit/credit card because I do not have any Debit or Credit cards or checks just cash

    1. Susan Sayler March 5, 2014

      Hi Jana! Thank you so much for helping to change the story for a child in need! We’re blessed to partner with you! While you can send cash, we strongly discourage sending cash in the mail. Because cash cannot be tracked, it is unsafe to send in the mail. I recommend going to a bank or post office to get a money order instead of cash so that it is a little more secure.

      1. Jana March 5, 2014

        Ok thanks

  25. Kenneth Brockman February 23, 2014

    Thank you for being there to help these children. I have listened to Wes many , many times on the radio and checked into your practices and accountability to make sure money is being used wisely. I feel 100 % secure that you are making the most out of Gods blessings. We recently starting sponsoring Johana from Mexico and cant wait to build a relationship with her. We already feel so blessed and are encouraging and challenging our friends and family to step up to the plate. We can all easily miss a big meal or two a week right !!! May God continue to bless you at Compassion and us sponsors as well so we may join in on this battle for the little ones . Ken Brockman

  26. cora January 16, 2014

    I am also a new sponsor, & it amazes me that compassion can do so much with such a small monthly donation! I am very excited to do this, & I am looking forward to the 1st letter I receive from our little girl in Columbia!

  27. Jason January 15, 2014

    The more I inquire, the more I’m forced to consider that the rot is deeper. It has much to do with your personnel than policy. I wish Christian organizations step up and offer more than mere lip-service. I’m terribly appalled. People need to know the real story…

    1. Susan Sayler January 16, 2014

      Jason, I’m so sorry that you are feeling duped by us and saddened that you think our organization is so deeply corrupted. Again, we relish the opportunity to improve our programs but we need to know specifics of what is going wrong so that we can change. Please email us at with the specifics of this situation so that we can properly investigate and correct this issue.

  28. Jason January 5, 2014

    From the information received from my personal contacts, I feel the information on CI’s website is not an accurate picture of what is done with the donor’s money. How else is sending just about 55% of $38 sent as sponsorship money to a child in India justifiable? Your ratings at Charitynavigator is impressive but the reports from the ground are not so. The work undoubtedly is appreciable – the question here is about honesty.

    1. Susan Sayler January 6, 2014

      Hi Jason! Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention! We take financial integrity very seriously. We have committed to putting at least 80% of whatever is donated towards programs that benefit the children. Often it is higher than the 80% but it will never be less. If you have specific information otherwise, please please email us at and we will check into it to make sure that this area is up to our standards.

  29. Cheryl August 4, 2013

    I would like to know why I never get a picture of my child or a picture of what he bought with his money. I only get his letters, which is good, but I would like to see how he has grown in the last 3 years and what the stuff looks like that he bought with the gift money.

    1. Susan Sayler August 5, 2013

      Hi Cheryl! I’m so glad you contacted us about this! Compassion processes full updates, including updated photos, for all of our children every two years. It looks like we just processed an update on one of your children and we will be sending this to you in the mail. When you send a monetary gift to your children, you will receive a thank you letter for this gift within six months of when the gift is given. We will also enclose a photo of your child with their gift when you send more than $60. If it has been longer than six months, and you have not received acknowledgment that your gifts were received by your children, please email us at We’d be happy to send an inquiry to our field office just to make sure these gifts were received and see what was purchased for your children.

      1. Kim January 4, 2016

        When you send money for their birthday, do they get that gift or does it go into an account which in return goes toward a gift that every sponsored child gets when it’s their birthday? More specifically, does your child get exactly the amount you send, or a gift that is given to every sponsored child?

        1. Sarah January 5, 2016

          Hi Kim! Your monetary birthday gifts do go directly to your child, not into a fund. Compassion staff work with the child and his or her family to decide what to purchase with your gift. Generally, the staff try to make sure the child can receive a “need” and a “want” with the funds you have sent, which can be completely different for every child. I’ve seen my own children receive new pairs of shoes, dolls, clothes, art sets, and more with their birthday gifts. Compassion does utilize 10% of your individual child-gift donation for administrative and delivery costs of the gift.

      2. Sheila Hodges November 27, 2015

        I would love an updated picture of my child, it has been more than two years.
        Thank you
        Sheila Hodges

        1. Emily Vanhoutan November 30, 2015

          Hi Sheila! Our records indicate that Keliani’s photo was last updated in July of 2014. I bet you’re getting excited to see how much she’s grown! Although it hasn’t quite been two years yet, that two year mark is definitely coming up! You can expect to receive a new photo of her sometime around July of 2016! 🙂 Thanks for speaking into and investing in her life!

      3. Sue Vincent November 16, 2013

        I send extra to the family rather than the child. Will I still get updated photos? Also I have not recieved any confirmation of any gifts I have sent though it has only been about four months since starting.

        1. Susan Sayler November 18, 2013

          Hi Sue! If you send more than $60, regardless of whether the gift is a child gift or a family gift, you will receive a photo along with your letter thanking you for that gift. It usually takes about six months for the gift to be sent and the thank you letter to return back. It sounds like you’re still in that time frame. Thanks so much for blessing your child in such a tangible way!

  30. carol halliday July 17, 2013

    I have just returned from a visit with my sponsored child in Kenya and I cannot express in words what this life changing opportunity has meant to me and my family. I was so impressed with the teachers who accompanied my child and saw and heard first hand how our support is helping Kauria and her family. i love our little daughter and it was very difficult to leave her but we trust that God is taking care of her through the support of Compassion and that she now lives a life of hope and love. The money is important but just as important is the letter writing and assuring these children that they are loved. One day was not enough to spend with our daughter but it deepened our love for her and renewed our faith that Compassion does make a difference in the lives of these children and their families. Grateful for the opportunity we had to meet her, sad to leave her, but all glory to God for his love in caring for Kauria.

  31. Leanne July 8, 2013

    I sponsor a 5 year old (Miguel) in Peru and a 12 year old (Nia) in Indonesia. I get regular letters from Nia but only responses from Miguel. I enjoyed getting the photos of the gifts that were purchased for my children for birthdays and Christmas. I have not seen what was purchased for the family for the gifts I have sent them. Money is so often our focus and of course, I do not want my money abused but sometimes we have to take it on “faith” that an organization is truthful and responsible with the money we send. I am trusting the Lord that whatever I can do to assist these children in overcoming poverty, becoming healthy, happy children will be done. I write to them to let them know I keep them in my prayers and that I hope they are doing well. I have been sponsoring Miguel for almost 2 years now and Nia for just 1 year. If circumstances permit, I will try to sponsor another child. (I always choose from the list showing who has been on the list the longest). Pray that I will be able to do so.

  32. John Conning July 7, 2013

    So basically we have been paying you to read Bible stories to children and take photos. We honestly thought that some of the money would go to help their families directly.

  33. Stacey January 3, 2013

    Thank you for posting this! I just committed to sponsoring 2 children (one boy and girl) and it helps to know where the funds are going because I want to make sure the child gets as much of it as possible! Praise Jesus!
    “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.” Isa. 61

  34. kirti October 9, 2012

    Some where else in your web site, I saw that 100% of the money donated for “Sponsor a Child” program is spent on the child. And that admin expenses are raised through other means. So does this contradict your statement about 7$ out of the 38$ is used for administration?

    1. Alida Catcheside October 9, 2012

      Hi Kirti,
      The 100% which goes to the child is if you send any extra gifts for their birthday or their family.
      The % taken from the regular monthly sponsorship covers the admin. Hope this helps.

      1. Danny May 12, 2017

        Look up in the comments and it says 10% is taken for admin costs. It’s either 100% or not.

        1. Susan Sayler May 12, 2017

          Danny, for monetary gifts to the children, there is a 10% administrative fee. For regular donations, it is 15-20%. You might see different numbers in some places because in June 2015 we changed our guidelines for monetary gifts. For over 60 years, 100% of monetary gifts have been given directly to the child, family, or center. However, when we deliver these gifts, there is still an administrative cost involved. In order to ensure that each child continues to receive the maximum benefit from our program, Compassion began using ten percent of gifts to help cover the administration costs.

    2. Jacquie Parella October 9, 2012

      Hi Kirti – That is not accurate information and we don’t state that on our website. Here’s what we do say: Thanks for asking for clarification!

  35. L August 3, 2012

    I would like to know what Compassion believes about salvation. How must a person be saved?

    1. Shaina Moats August 6, 2012

      Hey there! You can read through our statement of faith here:

  36. Leanne June 20, 2012

    I just sponsored my first child (3 year old Miguel of Peru) and am so excited to be a part of his life. I researched numerous sponsorship programs and prayed really hard to decide which to go with. Compassion, obviously, won! 1) best documentation of the services 2) best documentation of how the money would be used. One of the things that I did take into consideration was that even though some of the other charities were less costly, I wanted quality. I wanted a charity that is primarily Christ centered and I believe I chose the right one.
    When I checked out the additional giving, I was very surprised that we can give for the child as well as the family.
    I am excited to learn more about my Miguel, his country and his culture. I know I won’t learn much about it from him (he is only 3) but look forward to being a part of his life for many more years.

    Thank You Compassion!

  37. OLIVIER January 19, 2012

    WHAT EXCELLENT ORGANIZATION IS COMPASSION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BIG UP.

  38. Luis December 5, 2011

    I have been sponsoring 4 children for 3 years now, I have always taken comfort in the fact that most of the funds go to the children, however I was recently in Colorado Spring and saw the Copassion Building, how was such an expensive and new building constructed? What percentage of the 38.00 goes to building for the employees in Colorado Springs???

  39. *Sarah* July 14, 2011

    If you send a birthday gift, Christmas gift, etc., how much of the money sent will be given to your child? Let’s say you give $20-40 for a birthday present to your child. How much of the $20-40 will be given to my child?

    1. Chris Giovagnoni July 14, 2011

      100% of the gift benefits the child.

  40. *Sarah* July 14, 2011

    I sponsor a child in Nicaragua. Her name is Suheyli and she has about 5 other siblings. I love learning that out of the $456 I pay a year at least $372 goes to Suheyli. But I’m starting to wonder if at least a small portion, even a large portion, goes to the other members of her family. Most likely the money benefits the rest of the family as well, but I can’t help worrying. Being only 13 I tend to worry about everything at once. It’s hard to come up with almost $500 a year when I’m not old enough to get a job, but I’m blessed that God has helped me this far. So can the money I send help Suheyli as well as her family?

    1. Brett G July 14, 2011

      Be assured that Suheyli’s family will benefit indirectly by things she shares and by participating in our partner church activities. You can bless this rest of the family and any of her sibling by sending extra stickers and other paper items with your letter to her. You may also bless the entire family by sending a family gift.

      I know coming up with the regular monthly sponsorship is hard enough, but you may give $25-$1,000 a year and designate it as a family gift. The project director will consult with the family about what their greatest need is and help them to purchase the items.

      Compassion does not take out processing fees from any gifts, so your child and family will receive 100% of what you send.

  41. sandra mahoney July 12, 2011

    I have sent a couple of letters to my child When do I hear back. I was told I would receive a letter back. I have already sent 500.00 for the whole year. Please let me know.

    1. Becky July 12, 2011

      Congrats on becoming a sponsor!! I’ve loved the experience of blessing and being blessed by my sponsored child.

      I do not work for Compassion, but I can tell you that at a minimum your child will write to you 3x/year and if they are in a country with reciprocal letter writing then they will write one letter in response to each letter you write. I recommend calling Compassion at (800) 336-7676 or using their live chat feature if you are concerned that a letter should have arrived and it has not and with any questions for Compassion. The blog comments are moderated, but it is not the most effective way to receive a reply from the person in the right area with the expertise you need. First letters typically take 2-4 months depending on the remoteness of the child’s project. In regards to your financial payment being over the amount, again I would speak to Compassion. Please know that you can also send Christmas gifts as well as birthday and family gifts to your child if you feel led. To learn more about letter writing and gift giving you can click on the ‘for new sponsors’ and ‘about letter writing’ tabs at the top of the blog and read some of the blogs on those topics.

  42. sandra mahoney June 8, 2011

    I have already sent my money for the year. 500.00 dollars. I know it is over the amount. but, I know you can use the rest to help either my child or another. Thank you, Sandra Mahoney

  43. R L GASKELL May 8, 2011

    I have not seen one word or example on the content of the religious training given. Is it denominational? Is tradition of man mixed in with it? Is the Bible plainly understood. Are they taught to observe the seventh day sabbath day of rest? If you start from a false premise you will surely miss the mark. Remember, the Bible says “the whole worid is deceived” (by Satan). And it is important to note that Salvation cannot be earned…it is a gift of God. As a writer of Biblical commentaries and articles I am concerned that doctrine that is not espoused in the Bible is quite often taught. The children while they are young deserve the TRUTH. Tell me, is the teaching denominational? I hope not, because denominationalism is very much akin to tribalism. Read Matthew 15 and 16 where Jesus was accused of breaking the law (as they saw it) by the Pharisees. See what Jesus had to say about it. You must NOT cause anyone to stumble over the truth. Can anyone enlighten me more on this subject before I make any decision on sponsorship?

    1. Chris Giovagnoni May 9, 2011

      [quote comment=”27910″]I have not seen one word or example on the content of the religious training given. Is it denominational? . . . Tell me, is the teaching denominational?[/quote]

      No, it isn’t. We work with numerous denominations and value churches working together. For example, in the Philippines we partner with 320 evangelical churches from 17 Christian denominations.

      We want different denominations to come together to help children in poverty.

      These four posts may interest you because they talk about our curriculum and how we teach the various aspects of our curriculum, including the spiritual aspect.

      And this post contains a video I took in Kenya last year. It’s a six-minute clip from one of the spiritual-focused classes.

      Hope that helps.

  44. Jennifer February 28, 2011

    9 other and I are first time sponsors for a little boy from hayti. I can’t believe that there are so many children out there. If more company got groups of people around to sponsor. That way is doesn’t cost 1 person so much and more would be able to afford it. I can believe how much the family live on in some of these countrys.

  45. Theresa September 4, 2010

    We have been told on foreign fields that the foreign local church or org. must match the $38 AND provide the infrastrucure – pay for the building and staff. Before we help do that for one in Asia, can you confirm if this is so?! Also is any direct sharing of the Gospel done onsite, as opposed to through the sponsor relationship?
    Thrilled about your ministry. Thanks.

    1. Shaina September 10, 2010

      Compassion works with churches that are established in the community with appropriate buildings/infrastructures. We partner with local churches because we believe it to be the best strategy- the church knows the people in their community and the people’s needs. They do not match $38.
      Our passion is to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name- this means that every child will hear Bible teachings while in our program, and receive age appropriate scripture passages or a Bible on top of receiving encouragement from their sponsor’s letters.

  46. Nancy White August 17, 2010

    I wrote my question about how the money is spent after sending the $18/child I sponsor for Christmas gifts and got a letter telling me the money was spent on coats for a village in Mexico. I have been a sponsor for a while now and am blessed for it. I was quite aurprised that my Christmas money did not go where i thought it was going. I am glad the children of that village got coats though.

  47. Amy Wallace June 27, 2010

    Considering what Compassion does with our money, I have no complaints about it being higher than other organizations!

  48. Pat Fode June 22, 2010

    This was very helpful. Thank you for the explanation. I know this is an excellent organization, but it was nice to read the breakdown. I currently sponsor one child & wish I could afford more. I want to help as many of these children as I possibly can. There is such a need. I love receiving the letters from the child I sponsor. Thank you!

  49. Sarah T June 22, 2010

    Thanks for this. I think it’s useful for advocates and sponsors – not only to know where their money’s going, but to be able to answer questions their non-sponsoring friends or family might have.

  50. Stephanie T. Green June 21, 2010

    I praise God that Compassion International is Christ-centered, Child-focused, Church-based and Committed to integrity! The 4 C’s. 🙂

  51. Sheri June 21, 2010

    Great post! Your explanation really broke down Compassion’s benefits to our children well. I’ll use this to help answer sponsor questions. Compassion is an amazing organization. Thanks!

  52. Mike Stephens June 21, 2010

    That is interesting and helpful to know, but I like sending $300 family gifts so I know they actually buy something somewhat useful and surprise them! I kind of see the $38 a month as sparklers and the $300 family gift as a stick of dynamite we can all use a stick of dynamite every once in a while 😉 To put it in fireworks terms b/c 4th of July is just around the corner!

    1. Jennifer July 16, 2010

      Hi Mike.
      I’m glad you brought this up. I am a new sponsor, and I also like to send family gifts. Do you know if the family is just given the money, or if it is doled out in increments, or is something the family needs put on a list and bought for them when the money comes? How did you learn about where the family gift goes? You made me smile because you are so right, we could all use a stick of dynamite every once in a while! 🙂

      1. carol halliday August 5, 2013

        Jennifer, We just returned from a visit with our child and her teachers. We were given pictures of her new home and of the goats she tends and those are two things our family gift helped buy. They meet with the family and discuss what their greatest needs are and then take them to do the shopping. Also, during the drought of 2010, our family gifts helped to buy them food. Without this, many people starved and died at the time. We were very pleased to learn all this. Makes our gifts we send today even more important.

        1. Rosa December 24, 2016

          I can’t wait to meet Abby someday. God has truly walked with you all through this season of trial and I can’t wait to see what He does with this on the other siLdSeove,.haron

      2. Mike Stephens August 2, 2010

        Oh Jennifer ahahahahahahahhaa,

        I don’t really know how it works I just get the picture of what the bought, but I figure they get all my cash I sent and they buy something wisely but it is a gift from me I am not that strict on what I hope they buy

        I Peter 5:7

      3. Andrea July 24, 2010

        In most cases money isn’t given directly to the family, instead a project representative will speak to the family, determine needs and sometimes take them on a shopping trip. This is done to ensure it’s used appropriately, many children have great families, but some have families where extra money might not be spent wisely.

  53. Amanda June 21, 2010

    Very informative! Thank you for sharing this with us. $38 is not very much considering everything the money is used for.

  54. Stephanie Green June 21, 2010

    After becoming a sponsor and then an advocate, I have a much better understanding of how the money is used and used with integrity. Although some may think that more money should be given directly to children and their families, it is so important to understand the groundwork that must be laid for the money to be put to the best, and most lasting, use. I, too, am impressed at what can be done with $38, especially when i see it spelled out as it is above. Thanks for being such good stewards of our funds!

  55. Michelle June 21, 2010

    “More personally, this is where the money comes from for letter translation, postage, taking photos of your child, and updating you on your child’s well-being.”

    That, alone, justifies the extra cost for me. The ability to connect with my sponsored child and send/receive letters is one of the foremost reasons I chose Compassion to sponsor through and I have not regretted it for an instant. I treasure the photos I have of Ludis….. The center went above and beyond to show me that the money I sent last year for a family gift was not only received, but used wisely and VERY MUCH appreciated. (pictures DO say a thousand words!!!!)

  56. Greg June 21, 2010

    I’m actually pretty amazed that all of this can be done on only $38 a month. I’m a new sponsor (I sponsor a girl in Colombia) and it brings me such joy to have the opportunity to do this.

    1. Dee April 11, 2013

      But at first they say we can send gifts then I am told no it has to b money .why ?

      1. Shaina Moats April 15, 2013

        You are welcome to send paper items like stickers, post cards, etc. to your child as a gift. However, you aren’t able to send packages to your child due to mailing restrictions. Here’s more information for you:

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