Letter Writing 101

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letter writing 101

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  1. Dolores Wagner May 10, 2024

    Thank you for all you do for the children. I have enjoyed writing -hand written letters to our Compassion Children over the years.
    But I look on your web site to find your address and can’t fine it on the web site. I ha misplaced it.

    Please post it .Thank you.

    May God richly bless you and all the staff who help these children thrive in the knowledge of Jesus.
    In Christ,

    1. Nicole May 13, 2024

      Hi, Dolores! Thank you so much for your kind words and prayers.💛 I am happy to share the mailing address with you:

      Compassion International
      Attn: Child Correspondence
      Colorado Springs, CO 80997

      Please feel free to send us an email to [email protected] if you have any questions.

  2. Yolanda February 6, 2018

    Hi! My sponsorship is coming to a close, and I would like to continue my friendship with her through writing. Is this allowed, and if so, do you have any suggestions on how to go about it?

    1. Susan Sayler February 7, 2018

      Hi Yolanda! Yes, this is allowed but there are some risks and issues for you to consider first. This would be a continued relationship on your own without Compassion, meaning that you would be responsible for translation and safety. We do ask that you sign a waiver of liability for Compassion first prior to continued contact on your own. You can give out whatever information you would like but I typically recommend giving your email address only. Once your child has left the program, if you would like to move forward, please fill out the request here.

  3. Julie Gathman September 30, 2017

    I know if we send a photo, it will be scanned and the original will be discarded. What if I write something on the back, such as names and ages of persons in the photo (family members, etc.)? What happens to the info on the back of a photo? Do they scan the back, too? Or should we just not write anything on the back?

    Similar question with greeting cards. I know you scan the card, then discard it. What about what is inside the card? Do you scan the inside? What if the inside needs to be translated, that is, we write a message to our child inside the card? Is that translated? I actually would not really mind if it weren’t translated, (because sometimes it’s just “Love, etc.”), but should I even bother to write anything inside a card?

    Last question: WHERE should we put our own number and the child’s ID number? On the back, or front, of a photo? And where, on the greeting card?


    1. Shannon October 2, 2017

      Hi Julie,
      These are great questions! First of all, if you would like to send your child photos, you are welcome to do this via a snail mail letter, but you can also just attach a jpeg of your photo to a letter written online so that you don’t have to waste money on a print that cannot be physically sent anyhow. However, if you still prefer to send snail mail letters with photos, that is completely fine. Please know that anything that is written, whether on a card, photo, letter etc. will be scanned for translation, even if it is just a name or the word love. 🙂 Both the front and back of photos and cards are scanned even if they have anything other than blank space.
      When sending any items, we do ask that you include your child’s number and full name, as well as your sponsor number. It is okay to write these of the back of a picture, but please write this inside your card where it is easily seen by our staff.
      One other little trick that may be helpful to know is that if you send an item that must be physically sent, (a pop up or musical card, bookmark or sticker,) everything with that package will also be sent physically. This means that if you sent a pop up card along with a few regular printed pictures and a letter, we would send them all physically.
      If you choose to send a pop up card or musical card, please do not write anything in them, rather write your message separate on a sheet of paper and place it inside the card. This way we will make sure not to scan the card and it will not get damaged.
      Anytime you send something to your child, please make sure to keep it to six pages or less, (front and back).
      I hope this all makes sense! Please let us know if you have any additional questions! -Shannon

  4. Alexis Jarvis June 5, 2017

    Who do I address the letter to on the envelope?

    1. Christina Wilson June 5, 2017

      Hi Alexis! You may send your physical letters to the address below:

      Attn Correspondence Dept
      Compassion International
      Colorado Springs, Colorado 80997-0004

      There is no street address needed :). Have a blessed day!

  5. Stephen Stubbs March 12, 2017

    Can you write to kids who don’t have a sponsor And can you also send them a birthday present

    1. Shannon March 13, 2017

      Hi Stephen! This is such a sweet inquiry! Regrettably, we have no way to process letters or gifts to children who are not sponsored. However, if you have it in your heart to give to the kiddos who do not have sponsors, you can always make a donation to our Unsponsored Children Fund. This fund helps all the children who are still waiting to be sponsored. You can do this as one time donation, or you can also set this up as a monthly commitment. Please let us know if you would like assistance with setting this up!

  6. Raegan Hughlett January 31, 2017

    HI! I had a question, I am new to sponsoring a child and I want to send my first letter! Where do I write my sponsor number and child number? On the front of the envelope?

    1. Christina Wilson January 31, 2017

      Hi Raegan! Welcome to the Compassion family! Thank you so much for choosing to bless Briana with your love and support :). Please write your sponsor number, child’s name, and child’s number at the top of your letters. As long as we are able to find it easily, you are good! You do not need to write your numbers on the envelope because your letter will be taken out of the envelope when we receive it. We are excited for you to get to know your girl and foster a meaningful relationship with her :).

  7. Sara December 13, 2015

    I have a question about final letters when a child graduates the program. I write a girl on behalf of my parents and have done so from the time we were both eight years old. She is now close to graduating and I received a letter that sounded much like a goodbye letter; will I (or my parents) receive a notice when she has graduated and it is time to write her a final letter?

    1. Emily Vanhoutan December 14, 2015

      Hi Sara! I wasn’t able to locate your account in our system by your name and email address to look up your child. But rest assured that when a child graduates or leaves our program for any reason, we will always contact you to let you know. We understand that it can be tough saying goodbye and want to give you the chance to say goodbye to your girl as you’ve invested many years into your relationship with her. You’ve helped her reach such a huge milestone in her life and I know she values you and appreciates all your family has done to impact and encourage her over the years.

      If you’d like, you can send a copy of your letter to [email protected] and we can take a look at your letter and take a look at your account to see if she has graduated early. It’s very possible that she’s just saying ‘goodbye to the end of the year’:). We have found this is common for children in our programs. They will write a final letter at the end of the year to their sponsors, saying goodbye but it’s not goodbye to their sponsor, only goodbye to the year as it’s ending and it will be the final letter that they write to their sponsor that year :). It can be confusing, I know! But we are happy to take a look for you.

      1. Sara December 14, 2015

        I would very much appreciate that and will send it right now! I used my name and email instead of my father’s, so that’s probably why you could not find it in the system. Thank you for answering me so quickly!

        1. Emily Vanhoutan December 15, 2015

          Hi Sara! I got your email and have responded to you :). Please let me know if you need any further assistance or if you have other questions! Thanks for being such an incredible sponsor!

  8. Karen December 9, 2015

    I have a question! I usually wait for my sponsored child to write me back, before I send another letter. So, we are basically taking turns of when to write.
    Should I be sending more letters? Or, is it fine getting a letter about every three months? I don’t want to hurt his feelings!

    1. claire rose zafra December 14, 2015

      Hi Karen, I just recently sponsored a child, it was last September to be exact and i already wrote her 4 letters. Well it happened to be i am working in an office so i have very open access to the net and lately, there are too many good things happened to me that i wanted to share with her. I haven’t received anything from her yet but i really don’t mind. I only hope she won’t feel pressured in writing me back.. 🙂 although i can’t wait to hear from her any time soon. And see her latest photo and of her family. She’s quite a little young beautiful girl who just turned 5 same day of my birthday. I was once an sponsored child my self so i’m telling you, receiving a letter from a sponsor is one of the best thing ever. I think it’ll be nice to write her as often as you can..

    2. Susan Sayler December 10, 2015

      Oh Karen! I so appreciate your desire to pour into this young man’s life! You are welcome to write as often as you would like! The more often the better but every few months is absolutely phenomenal! Thanks so much for blessing him with the great gift of loving letters!

  9. Stella Wilson October 28, 2015

    Our oldest sponsored child, Eva, is leaving the program and we’d like to send her a farewell gift to send her on her way with our love. She has been in a tailoring program in Tanzania. What would be an appropriate amount to send to buy her a sewing machine or materials appropriate to her training?

    1. Susan Sayler October 29, 2015

      Hi Stella! What a thoughtful farewell gift! A sewing machine in Tanzania costs about $150 USD. You might consider sending about $50-100 more for fabric or other materials that she might need to become a tailor. Thank you so much for wishing to bless Eva in such tangible ways!

  10. Jeannie D’Amico October 21, 2015

    This is a question (more than a comment) about child gifts. Are there ever ANY exceptions to the “nothing but paper rule” and “1/4 inch rule”??? I purchased online what I thought was a small canvas personalized with my child’s name. When it came it was wood and about 1/2″…Anyway, this could get through? It is 6 1/4″L and 4 1/4″W.
    Need to know ASAP. Thanks!!!

    1. Emily Vanhoutan October 22, 2015

      Jeannie, you’re so sweet for thinking of your child and I know that there are so many cute things out there that are not made of paper. Regrettably, items do need to be made of paper and less than 1/4″ thick in order for us to mail your item as a document. This helps us save on hefty custom fees and avoid entire batches of letters being held up in customs. If we send items through that have metal, wood, or other prohibited materials, it can delay letters getting to the children. To answer your question, we cannot send across items that are made of wood such as the canvas you found for your child. I’m so sorry for this inconvenience :(. I would encourage you to check out our Pinterest page that has really creative ideas from our sponsors that I think you might find very helpful!

  11. Sue Swerdfeger April 24, 2015

    I am hosting a letter writing weekend at our church to encourage sponsors to write to their children. I would love to have this info graphic at our booth. Is there a way to get a poster of this or a way to print it out?

    1. Susan Sayler April 27, 2015

      Hi Sue! Regrettably, we are not able to offer a poster of this, but you are welcome to save and print the image. Just right click on the image to save it. Please don’t make any changes to the image. Otherwise, you are welcome to print and use it. 🙂

  12. Andrew April 3, 2015

    I am sponsoring a child who is only 1 yr old. I am not sure how to write a letter for this situation. Should I write them with the mindset of them reading the later later in life, or should I address the letter more toward the parents who will probably be the ones reading my letter? Any advice would be helpful, Thanks in advance!!

    1. Susan Sayler April 6, 2015

      Hi Andrew! Much of our programming for children under the age of five is focused on the guardians. We teach things like vocational skills, literacy, and parenting. In many cases, a guardian will be writing the letters with the child. This means that you are more than welcome to address your letters to your child’s guardian. As the child grows, the parent or guardian will likely read the letters to your child and they will gradually be able to write their own letters to you. Another tip that I have is to send mostly goodies like stickers or textured papers that they can touch and play with. You can send short notes to your child along with your paper gifts. This way you can still interact with your letters. I hope this helps! 🙂

  13. Laura February 6, 2015

    Do online letters with pics get printed for kids?

    1. Emily Vanhoutan February 6, 2015

      Hi Laura! Yes, they sure do :). When you submit an online letter through your My Account, it comes to our office in Colorado Springs, Colorado where it is printed off on high quality colored paper and then mailed to our country offices with the rest of the hand written letters. We want your child to still have a tangible letter that they’re able to take home with them and put in a special place :).

  14. Emma December 14, 2014

    For more tips on writing your child, I started a Facebook page of creative things you can send/letter tips. Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Encouraging-Words/571351182994967?ref=hl

  15. Tracy Holland December 11, 2014

    I threw my return envelope away and need to send my letter to my child. Can you tell me the address we send them to? I’m not seeing that anywhere on this site. My child’s number is EC-412-0612.


    1. Emily Vanhoutan December 11, 2014

      Hi Tracy! You can send all correspondence for your child to the following address:

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

      This is the full address. Please include your sponsor number and child number on anything you send :). Thank you so much for writing to your kiddo!

  16. Nicole October 13, 2014

    I am trying to upload a picture for my childs letter and I am having trouble. It is a jpeg file and a small size- am I doing something wrong?

    1. Emily Vanhoutan October 13, 2014

      Hi Nicole! I am so sorry that you’re having trouble uploading a photo on your child’s letter! Are you using your phone or the online writing tool through a desktop or laptop? Here are some troubleshooting options that may help you:

      1. Try closing the browser and trying again
      2. Try disabling extra toolbars or plug-ins
      a. These items can cause JavaScript errors that keep a page from working correctly
      3. Try another browser
      a. This is kind of related to #2 because different browsers will have different settings/toolbars/plugins/cookies
      b. In IE, verify that Compatibility View is of
      4. Try clearing cookies and temporary internet files
      5. Try another network (e.g. at home vs. at work) – especially if you are seeing the firewall error
      6. Try another machine
      7. You may need to use a smaller photo. Try making your photo smaller in Photoshop or another photo editing software tool and upload your photo again.

      If these options do not help you, please email us at [email protected] so that we can further assist you and resolve any issues you may be having. Thank you so much for writing a letter to your child! They love to receive pictures so I know this will be a very exciting letter for your child to open :).

  17. Joy Kilburn August 20, 2014

    Hi, I am wondering how I should sign my letters?


    1. Emily Vanhoutan August 20, 2014

      Hello Joy! When your child writes to you, he will most likely address you by your first name. Many of our children may call their sponsor mom or dad, aunt or uncle, or another personal name that they relate you to. You are welcome to sign your letters however you are comfortable and signing the name you go by is just fine. If your boy begins calling you Aunt Joy and you are comfortable with this, feel free to sign your letters as, Aunt Joy. 🙂 We do encourage that you sign it the same on all of your letters so he doesn’t get confused on who is writing to him.

      1. Joy Kilburn August 20, 2014

        Thank you, Emily, for your help and your quick response!

        1. Emily Vanhoutan August 20, 2014

          You’re welcome, Joy! Have a blessed rest of your week and thank you for the difference you are making in your sweet child’s life!

  18. Jane Joung July 13, 2014

    Agree. It’s a good reminder too that kids who receive letters excel.

  19. Mary Courser July 1, 2014

    I have a question I haven’t seen answered anywhere else: when sending time-sensitive letters, like holiday cards, I send them several months in advance to make sure there is plenty of processing time. Does the local facility hold them until the appropriate time so my child doesn’t get a birthday card 6 weeks early?

    1. Susan Sayler July 2, 2014

      Hi Mary! We will send your letters and cards as soon as we can. Regrettably, we do not have a way of holding, or knowing which letters need to be held, until a certain event.

  20. Amanda June 19, 2014

    Thank you for this encouragement. I have recently started sponsoring a child and for speed of communication send letters online. I have not received a response yet, but am curious. Does my sponsor child have the opportunity to take printed letters home to reread and show his family?

    1. Susan Sayler June 19, 2014

      Hi Amanda! Yes, your sponsored child has the opportunity to take each letter home with him and likely has a special place at home where he keeps each cherished letter.

  21. karan Stewart June 19, 2014

    I write my Child every week but I have only received one letter from him. I wish I would get more.

  22. PaperGiftsForEstefany June 2, 2014

    Fascinating. It’s a good reminder too that kids who receive letters excel.

  23. Rachel May 15, 2014

    I really enjoy sending my sponsor children letters. I probably send a couple more than I receive. I’ll reply to letters and then send an extra for special occasions and such. What’s a good amount to write per year? I want to make sure I’m not going overboard…

    1. Samantha May 18, 2014

      I’m not so sure you can go overboard. I’ve heard of sponsors who write every week.

    2. Susan Sayler May 16, 2014

      Hi Rachel! I love your heart to write loving letters to your children! There is a group of sponsors that writes to their children on the second Friday of every month. Once a month is great! Every two months is pretty good too. The children are required to write between two and six letters a year depending on how often their sponsor writes to them. I’d say somewhere in that range is a good amount to write.

  24. Jennifer Baulch May 2, 2014

    To all loving Sponsors and Compassion International team,

    I came across this interesting infographic that caught my attention when I was curating and selecting topics online. I’d like to take this opportunity to support the importance of personalized letters.

    I was once sponsored by a couple in Australia when I was living in the Philippines. One of my brief personal stories is on my link with this comment. Going back to the infographic, yes I do agree 100% that personal handwriting letters are very vital to someone like me as a sponsored child. I love personal letters, customize cards and even now living in the digital age. Not all children in the “developing countries” can access internet or even have their own computers, mobiles phones, or even TV in some remote places so sharing some details of your every day chores, your work, your family, your pet family, your faith, testimonies, etc. are all interesting to know! It’s like reading pieces of book pages awaiting for the next page chapters in a personal way! For your information, I still kept all my former sponsor letters in the Philippines. Unfortunately I did not bring them with me here in Australia where I currently live with my Aussie husband.

    I would blog this infographic on my hobby website especially when I could take photos of those precious letters I archived. I am a sentimental person.


    1. Brooke August 19, 2014

      Thanks, Mrs. Jennifer!! I’m sponsoring a child right now and she’s going to be 9 here shortly. I’m 19 and I’m kind of clueless as to what to write an 8 year old. You gave me a lot of helpful starter topics, and I just want to say thanks 🙂

  25. Heather April 28, 2014

    Thank you for sharing this! For the past few days, I have researched all over your site and also the internet to find the statistic for sponsored children who do not receive letters. It is as if you have read my mind today! Love this blog and check it daily. Keeps me writing those letters! Thank you again!

  26. Yvonne Reynolds April 28, 2014

    Love this inforgraphic!! I hope that many sponsors see it and realize the importance of writing to their sponsored child.

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