For the best letter writing tips, go straight to the experts: sponsors!
Recently we put out a call on our Facebook page asking for the best advice about writing to children in Compassion’s program. People answered with great tips on things like:
- Fun ideas for what to send.
- What to ask and say.
- When to write.
- How to write (app, online, stationery, etc.).
- Remembering or making time to write.
I’ve sponsored children through Compassion for almost nine years now, and I seriously would never have thought of some of these ideas. Some of the letter writing tips come from people who sponsor one or two children. Others come from correspondents who write to many children in Compassion’s program.
From practical to unique, these letter writing tips will inspire you to send a note the child you sponsor — and remind you that your words of encouragement make a world of difference!
“I traced my hand and sent it along with a letter [where] I asked them to trace their hand and send it to me. I got a big hand from my teenage boy in Tanzania and small hands from my little girls.”Shirley
“I love sending the kids collages of their ‘old’ profile photos, artwork and/or extra photos that they’ve sent with their letters. These have been a big hit!!” — Hannah
“Draw a picture with elegant and beautiful flowers, use the background to address the child you sponsor. Everything to be well received should always be associated with beauty to show love.” — Fredrick
“I have some younger children who just answer the few questions on a template. I usually add my answers next to theirs and send a copy back with my letter. I usually ask the kids what God is teaching them and share what I have been learning too. My kids enjoy sending artwork and sometimes I will include a coloring page or stickers.” — Kathy
A Picture Is Worth …
“I try to share pictures of something about Wisconsin, animals or scenery she may not experience otherwise. I bring it around to how amazing God is and how He created things and end with reminding her that God created her with an even bigger and more important purpose!” — Stef
“I usually send pictures of me, my family, my pets, or things they might not see in their home countries like certain flowers, animals, or buildings such as lighthouses.” — Lydia
“I write every three weeks. I always send a picture. A lot of times it is of the nature around me as to not showcase possessions.”Teri
“My letters almost always have a theme that I can use for two pages full of photos — such as corn mazes, hot air balloons, strange insects, easy animals that they can draw by starting with a circle. … If their letters to me include a drawing, I either take a selfie of me holding the drawing, or copy the image into the letter (on the first page, not the photo pages).” — Mary
“I write my letters through the app. It makes it super easy to upload photos. For our kiddo, Janina, I think photos probably mean more than the letters themselves because she is younger. I also don’t wait for a reply letter before I send another one, I send about 5 to her 1.” — Kalen
“I use the app, but I often hand-write my letters and upload them. I always include words of love and encouragement, truths from scripture/scripture quotes (depending on the country), assurance of my daily prayers, news on my family, weather, celebrations, etc.” — Debbie
“Love the app. I have a monthly event on my Google calendar to remind me.” — Barb
“I also use the app. Super easy. I start with a little about the time of year I’m writing since there’s a lag of when they receive it. I send pictures of my family activities and descriptions. I also remind her that God loves her and so do I.”Peggy
“I write to our sponsored child, Bruce, every month through the app. I just make sure that, at some point during each month, I write to him. Bruce is 5 and was born the exact same day as our 5-year-old son! Our son actually chose him to be his special friend. So I can relate a little to what is happening in his life because my son is the same age.” — Bek
“I try to write to my kids every 2 to 3 weeks. I use the app to write the letters because it makes it easy to keep up with how long it has been since the last letter. Even though I don’t get replies as often as I send letters, I think it’s important to give them a steady flow of letters so they don’t feel forgotten.” — Lydia
GET THE APP: You can download the free Compassion app from the App Store or Google Play.
“They need to know that you love them and that you care, no matter what! Make sure you are fully committed and make sure you always let your child know how important they are to you.” — Benjamin
“With letters being extremely slow at this time I have been dropping a card every month or two offering up encouragement, letting them know I am praying for them and sharing pictures of what I am doing.” — Anna
“Letting them know they aren’t alone and that Jesus loves them. Let them know you care about their well being.”Kevin
“Don’t try to make the letter too long, complicated, or ‘creative.’ It is more important that your child is hearing from you — just a few sentences to express your care, prayers, support.” — Jane
“I try to remember to share my challenges and struggles with my kids, not just the triumphs! I had a sponsored child who shared with me that he was having a hard time academically in school. I shared with him that I too had had some struggles when I was in law school, but that it was all part of the journey.” — Emily
“We talk a lot about their interests and tell them that we pray for them every day to be in good health and good spirits. I end each letter with a question back to them to learn more about their dreams, questions, and hobbies.” — Teri
“I grab a postcard almost everywhere I travel … I think it’s fun to send these and use them to launch a conversation.”Mallory
“I usually write about our trips — we just got back from Texas yesterday so I took many photos of the zoo, etc.” — Mike
Keep the Faith
“If I am stuck about something to write, since I write about once a week, I will pull out a scripture verse, quote it, talk about what it means, and then how to apply it to their lives.” — Jenny
“I enjoy using the paper letters, and will occasionally use the app. I send Bible verses and encourage them to send me a Bible verse. We have 5 grandchildren, the kids we sponsor are similar to their ages. I share stories about them.” — Janiece
“I have started to pick a topic and write about it including a few verses, kind of a mini devotional. The first was how to love like Jesus.”Mike
“I include scripture of God’s promises. We all need to be reminded of the truth!! Example: Psalms 139.” — Laurie
“I have received the greatest enthusiasm from my children when I’ve written about Bible stories, where they pretended to be in the story and then I asked questions so they could consider how they might apply such to their lives.” — Jan
“I enjoy writing out my prayers for my kids, or sending them prayers written by famous Christians like Thomas Merton, St. Patrick, or C.S. Lewis and letting the kids know that I prayed that prayer over them.” — Katie
“Everyone in the family writes a letter at the same time. We address and stamp them and send one out each month.” — Jessica
“We like to write paper letters, and when I say ‘we’ I mean a small group of ladies from our Soul Care Resource Centre support two children. And we all sign our names to the letters.” — Judy
“Our 9 year old daughter loves to write to the kids we sponsor. She normally writes to the younger ones because they can relate to each other, while I write to the older ones. She writes in person [handwritten letters] because I think it’s fun and personal for them to see her writing and I usually write online, otherwise I’m horrible at remembering!” — Tammy
“Food is a universal language. I once sent my child a picture of my dinner plate, a traditional southern meal of fried chicken, fried okra, corn, and beans. I explained that corn was the main export of my region, and that I eat it almost every day and I love it. I then took the opportunity to ask what her favorite food is. Let your child know if you try their food, too! … Compassion also has a list of recipes to try by country.” — Mallory
Making the Time
“I try to write back as soon as it comes in the mail, within that day. If I put it aside to think on the ‘perfect’ thing to say, it gets forgotten. And I’m sure my ‘kids’ enjoy a prompt reply!” — Kristin
“I do a template letter that sends to every child and also individual letters in between the template letters. … Lately I’ve also added in the new Sort by Birthday function [on the app] and used that to tell which kids have birthdays coming up in the next month so I make sure they get at least a birthday card.” — Sarah
“The 1st of every month, drop a few lines along with a gift.” — Adele
“I use a ‘template’ letter to ensure I write the kids I haven’t heard from at least one or twice a month.” — Mike
“I often go through letter writing spurts whether I will write several letters at once and then keep some in drafts to send in later. I have also based letters on the online stationery that Compassion offers on the app/website. If I see new stationery I like, I’ll start writing a letter and leave it saved as a draft until I can think of more to say. Since I have multiple children, I write one letter and when I send it, I click on the button to use it for another child. Then I can change the name and edit things as needed before sending it out to the next child.” — Cara
Feeling inspired by these letter writing tips? Write to the child you sponsor today!
International photography by Hutama Limarta, Juana Ordonez Martinez, Sara Navarro and Gabriella Akpene Samaty.
17 Comments |Add a comment
I didn’t realize you can sponsor a child from Uganda. I didn’t see it on the list of countries that are in teh Compassion program. My heard really goes out to the contry and the children in the orphanages.
I also have been wanting to sponser some kids from the most vulnerable countries, but I’m also hesitant. Are there as many programs and people to reach out to the kdis there, is it harder for them to receive the letters as in outher countries? I heard a story recently about s sponsor who’s child grew out of the program, and then he began stalking her virtually, asking for money, etc. I believe this child was from Africa. It make sme wonder if there are certain countries where the child grows up in such a bad environment that they unfortunately walk away from God and don’t follow the values or don’t gain anything from the program.
I don’t mean to sound cynical. These are just questions that have gone through my mind and I just wanted to get some clarification and imput.
Thanks so much,
Hi Cathee. I am happy to address some of your questions and concerns.
Compassion works in 29 countries around the world, and you can find the list of countries here: https://www.compassion.com/where-we-work.htm . Compassion has been working in Uganda since 1980, and we are working with 451 churches to help release children from poverty in Jesus’ name.
In regards to letters, we do our best to process letters as soon as possible. There are a handful of countries that are still experiencing significant delays with letters. If you have any children that haven’t written in more than six months, please let us know. We can look to see if those children are in the countries where letters are delayed or not. With that said, in any country we work in, the letter process can take up to six months.
In the past few years, we have made changes to the information we provide sponsors and sponsored children with. In the past, we did share the child’s full name, and the sponsors were welcome to share their full name as well. Regrettably, this has led to some supporters or sponsored children to finding each other on the internet. We understand and agree that this is concerning, but we do have policies in place while the child is in the program. We do not allow any child or sponsor to have communication with each other outside of the Compassion letters. If we hear of a sponsor or sponsored child communicating outside of guidelines, we take it very seriously.
After a child graduates from the program, we cannot control what the sponsor or sponsored child does when trying to communicate with one another. We discourage communication after the support ends because it is hard to tell if you are really speaking to your sponsored child or not. Along with that, there are times where the child could request money. With that said, some sponsors still choose to communicate with their sponsored child, but Compassion is not involved if they choose to communicate. In general, we would encourage you to only share your preferred or first name in your letters.
Regardless what country any sponsored child is from, the child may want to contact their sponsor. Even if the child is walking with the Lord or has walked away from the Lord, the desire to contact a sponsor and stay in touch is still there because of all the years of getting to know one another. Sometimes, this does turn into a sponsored child asking for money, but I don’t want you to feel alarmed that this will happen with every (or any) child you sponsor. You can set clear boundaries by not responding to messages outside of Compassion or requests for money. If you are ever contacted on the internet, please let us know. We can help provide tips to avoid further messages, requests, etc.
I hope this information was helpful. If you have any additional questions, please email us at [email protected]. We are happy to help.
I have frequently wanted to send a fun card with stickers in it, but I haven’t yet because I wasn’t sure if my children would get the actual card and stickers or if they would just get a photocopy of it. I’ve been using the app where there is room built into the templates to translate. Can someone clarify whether the children will get the actual card?
Hi, Crystal! Great question. If you send a pop-up or musical card, these will be carefully scanned for translation purposes and sent physically, but if you send a regular greeting card, a photocopy will simply be sent. Regarding stickers, these will be physically sent as long as a letter is included in general. Please feel free to send us an email to [email protected] if you have any other questions. We are happy to help.
Thank you so much for the advice on topics to write to your sponsored child. I would like to know how to email my child.
Hi, Sharon. I am so glad this blog was helpful. 😊 Regrettably, we do not have an email option for contacting your child, but please feel free to email us at [email protected] . We would be happy to share options and ideas for communicating with your child.
My husband and I have just begun our sponsorship of a little guy in the Dominican Republic, and my first letter was sent out this week. We have a language barrier….we do not speak each other’s languages! So, I was wondering…….are these letters translated before delivery? Thanks!
Hi Debbie! Thank you so much for choosing to sponsor your sweet boy in the Dominican Republic! I am happy to share that we do translate the letters before they are delivered to you or your sponsored child. If you have any additional questions, please send us an email at [email protected]. Thank you!
I have a few things that I have done that have been really fun and helpful.
1) I end every letter with the phrase, “sending you lots of love and big hugs…” My kids have responded to this in different ways from, “thanks for the love and hugs,” to “my mom sends you warm hugs.” I recently saw a store display that had two hands with the words “big hugs,” so that photo is going in my next letter! Even if my kids don’t respond to my questions, that phrase has been a way to connect with them.
2) With some of my slightly older kids, I have included some English sayings with their meaning, e.g. “I love you to the moon and back” and have asked my kids what phrases they use in their country. It has been fun to hear what phrases they use to convey love or encouragement. It’s also a great to be able to use those phrases when I write back to them.
3) I correspond with quite a few awesome kids and usually write once a month. When I receive a letter from one of them, I put their name and the date that I received their letter in the margin of my planner. It helps me to keep track of letters I’ve received and reminds me to refer back to the letter when I’m writing to then later that month.
Thank you so much for sharing! I especially love number two! What a fun idea on how to get to know your kiddos culture and teach them a bit about ours also! I love this! It is so fun to hear writing tips from sponsors and correspondents who come up with fun things like this! ?
I am a new sponsor of a 6 year old girl. I have written my first letter to her online. Once in a while I would like to send an actual letter so I might add stickers or a photo or post card.
I have no idea of how to do this. Can someone please help me.
I am honored and excited to have this opportunity.
I have began praying for her everyday.
Hi, Sharon! First of all, welcome to the Compassion family! ?? I am excited for you and the relationship you will build with your precious little girl! Thank you for your prayers for her! To answer your question, you may send physical letters with stickers, photos, postcards, and even bookmarks to our headquarters:
Attn: Child Correspondence
Colorado Springs, CO 80997
If you are not using Compassion stationary to write your letter, please include your sponsor number and your child’s number on whatever stationary you do send. ? I want to provide you with some additional resources for writing letters at the following link: https://www.compassion.com/letter-writing/letter-writing-topics-faq.htm. If you have any other questions, please feel free to email us at [email protected]. We are happy to help!
Please tell me which country is most in need for a sponsor . Thank you
Hi, Holly! Thank you for your question! We consider the following countries to be the most vulnerable and, consequentially, the most in need of sponsors: Rwanda, Uganda, Togo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Burkina Faso. To learn more about how we intervene for those who are most vulnerable, follow this link: https://www.compassion.com/highly-vulnerable-children.htm. If you would like to know which children have waited the longest for a sponsor, in general, follow this link: https://www.compassion.com/child-sponsorship/waiting-child.htm. Please let us know if you have any question, and feel free to send us an email at [email protected]. Blessings to you! ?
How to join in compassion international
Hello Lionel! Thank you for your message! We would love to discuss if we can assist you. Could you please email us at [email protected] or private message us on social media? God bless you!
i been a sponsor for six year i just start doing this for there birthdays and the one’s that are graduate is to buy a gift from compassion gift catalog i tell them to prayer and ask jesus
to do amazing things with there gift of a bible