Stop Feeling Like a Bad Sponsor for Not Writing

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had the following conversation …

What do you do?

Oh, I work at Compassion International.

I sponsor a child with Compassion!

Do you? That’s so great!

Yeah. I’m a terrible sponsor. I never write my child.

These conversations have taught me something very important.

Guilt is a waste if it doesn’t drive you toward action.

Stop Feeling Like a Bad Sponsor for not Writing

Let me explain. A few years ago I did something that hurt a dear friend of mine. I was careless with her emotions, and I immediately knew that what I had done was wrong. And I felt rightfully guilty.

But instead of letting the guilt move me toward action – toward apologizing and reconciling with this friend – I let myself sit in it. I held that big boulder of guilt in my lap and let it weigh me down.

Have you ever done that as a sponsor? You feel guilty for not writing a letter to the child you sponsor – a letter that, deep down, you know will bring joy and love to that sweet kid, and instead of letting that seed of guilt drive you to actually writing, you just let it grow.

I should have written already.

It’s been a month now!

It’s been six months, I’m too ashamed.

And on and on. Just like I did, you’ve let that guilt, and maybe a little drop of pride drive you deeper into what you felt guilty about in the first place.

So, I’m here to tell you. Stop sitting in your guilt.

You’re not a bad sponsor for not writing. Your financial investment is allowing a child or teen to develop life skills, receive education, have access to medical care and so much more. What you are doing is invaluable!

But this guilt we feel when we don’t write is natural because we know that building a relationship through letter writing is just as important for both us and the children we’re investing in.

When you start to feel bad about not writing, when you catch yourself saying you’re a “bad sponsor,” I want to challenge you to write that letter. Battle that guilt by doing the very thing you know will bring relief and joy.

Stop Feeling Like a Bad Sponsor for not Writing

Relief and joy. Those are the feelings I felt when I finally apologized to that friend. And today, our relationship is stronger because I stopped sitting in my guilt.

Your relationship with the child you’re investing in can be stronger too. You don’t even need to apologize. Just log in to your account, open up your Compassion App or pick up that pen, and write a letter.

And *poof* – your guilt will go away. And happiness will fill that space!

Write a Letter Today ›

Don’t know where to start? Check out these 80 letter-writing prompts to spark your imagination.

Are you passionate about letter writing? Follow us on Pinterest then share your letter-writing inspiration with other sponsors on our Compassion Letter Club Pinterest Board!

36 Comments |Add a comment

  1. YunIs Rubio August 3, 2023

    Hi all,

    I just started sponsoring a child. And I have written like 7 letters in less than 2 weeks. First I am starting to think the letters are taking to long for translation and actual delivery. I guess I’ll feel different once I understand the letter delivery expectations. I am new at this and I am very excited to be a sponsor. I want to be able to have a more frequent communication with my sponsored child and family. Thanks

    1. Christina August 4, 2023

      Hi Yunis! We greatly appreciate your heart for our mission and your desire to foster a meaningful relationship with Helen! The amount of time a letter is in translation can vary and may take several weeks to a couple months to be processed and delivered. There are many variables involved with each individual letter, national office, and field staff capacities. Each letter will be taken care of as quickly and as efficiently as possible. You are welcome to inquire about letters that have been in translation for more than three months. We usually recommend writing to your sponsored child once every 1-2 months to maintain regular correspondence. Thank you for your understanding and patience! Please email us at [email protected] if you have further questions.

  2. Bradley hatchen July 21, 2023

    The trouble about letter writing to much religion in it that scares them or sponsor off or they are scare t o wrte mind was a very cold letter that I gave up on if the child s happy and want t o hear from that’s ok I would of stay on but the letter turn me off being cold in the first place and sponsor don’t want to give out or tell to much they like to keep it to them self it’s a big process for them to do and find it kind of boring that why there looking for child letter writing sponsors there short of them only to get worse in time I don’t mind writing letter but not cold letter that turn me off I let them find another sponsor to take over I went elsewhere I gave up on compassion they can be very rude to you I experienced that

    1. Nicole July 21, 2023

      Hi, Bradley. Thank you for reaching out. We are so sorry to hear of the negative experience that you had. Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback with us. We would love the opportunity to speak with you further about this. Will you please send us an email to [email protected] ?

  3. Kim Paul January 28, 2022

    I have been a sponsor for over 30 years, and am so encouraged to write more to my sponsored child, Yeremi. But reading these letters made me realize that I never hear back about birthday gifts or Christmas gifts. I have no idea what the child may have received. Is this something I could ask about? I want to make sure that they know I have sent a gift. And I would enjoy hearing more about what they like to do, by what sort of gift they receive. I understand it might be something practical like clothes. But I would still recommend that Compassion leaders encourage a child to write specifically about gifts they receive. Also, reading these comments is the first time I have ever heard there might be a video! Wow!

    1. Christina January 28, 2022

      Hi Kim! We truly value and appreciate your faithful partnership in our mission and the difference you’ve made in your children’s lives throughout the years! I’m sorry to hear that you have not received thank you letters for gifts that you’ve given to your children. Please rest assured that every gift you’ve given is received and so impactful. We do have guidelines in place regarding how often and when a child should write a thank you letter to their sponsor. I would be happy to look into this for you. Will you please email us at [email protected] and provide your sponsor number? We look forward to hearing from you and addressing your concerns!

  4. Anita Coursey January 17, 2020

    My child lives in Uganda and is 18. I have trouble writing often enough, but 2020 is going to be a better year! I’m going to put a colorful sticky note on each month of the calendar in my bathroom (a room I must enter often!) to help remind me. My difficulty is knowing if I should write about certain things. For instance, at Thanksgiving we went out to eat because the snow was bad where my oldest son had invited us. At Christmas, the snow was minimal, so he and his wife came here and we had lots of appetizers for lunch, and then exchanged our gifts. Should I talk about such things? What if they don’t have Christmas, or don’t give gifts. My youngest son got me some gummy bears, which I dearly love, but my sponsored child may well have never heard of them. It would be much easier to write if I knew it was all right to share with her any fun things I get to do. Oh, and I do try to encourage her spiritually, too, by telling her one of my favorite scripture verses each time I write.

    1. Shannon January 17, 2020

      Hi Anita,
      I love this idea to remind yourself to write! I hope that is helpful to you! Also, please don’t feel pressured to write every month. Even every other month or every few months will really help your child feel special. ? In regards to what you can write, just be aware that we want them to feel loved and encouraged. Funny stories can really help kids build relationship too. Stories that focus on money or plentiful amounts of food should be avoided, but mentioning your favorite candy or fun Christmas traditions is a great idea. I also suggest asking lots of questions when you don’t know things about them. They love feeling like you want to know them better! 🙂

  5. JustMe May 3, 2019

    Y’know, to be honest, the guilt of not writing enough can even come to sponsors who write a LOT…even me, sometimes. But if I start feeling guilty, I just go on my account and remind myself of all the other letters that I wrote my girl and tell myself that she’s probably just getting the ones that were just translated recently. 🙂 So the devil goes after lots of people, not just people who don’t write very much.

  6. N. Stocks December 13, 2018

    I’ve written many letters and sent numerous pictures of my family to our sponsored child since 2015. Every letter I’ve received has asked if I have a family.
    I’d like to know why my pictures and letters aren’t being read. I’m beginning to wonder what is going on.
    Thank you for your response.

    1. Shannon December 13, 2018

      Hi N. Stocks,

      I am so sorry you feel that Byron may not be receiving your letters and photos! Please know that I do see your letters are going through just fine and many of your letters have photos as well. However, I do agree with you that he does not address any of your questions and asks you many questions he should know by now. We understand the letter writing process can be frustrating at times. We greatly appreciate the commitment you are making to bless Byron with your letters despite his lack of response to your questions. The project staff does an excellent job teaching the children how to respond to letters. However, keep in mind, children may not have their most recent letter with them when they reply. This means they may have forgotten questions that were asked in a previous letter. These children also communicate verbally; letter writing tends to be a foreign concept to most of them. We suggest highlighting and numbering your questions in your next letter. This will draw the project staff’s attention to the questions. This usually helps with the communication process. 
      We encourage you to consider letter writing your personal ministry to your child. While responses may not be full of quality and value, you are still being a huge blessing in Byron’s life. Children do not always know how to express their thanks or communicate their feelings, plans and dreams but we encourage you to keep feeding love into your child’s life. We appreciate your patience and understanding regarding the letter writing process. If you try to number and highlight your letters for awhile and still see no change, please let us know and we may be able to send an inquiry for you to the child’s center.

      Thank you again for your understanding and continued support! Blessings, Shannon

  7. Nanette Roberts November 22, 2018

    I just dont feel like any of my letters are actually read to my child. The responses are generic letters, without any response to questions I ask. It does not seem like “building a relationship “…more like here is a generic letter and drawing from a child going to anyone.

    1. Sarah November 26, 2018

      Nanette, I am so sorry that the letters from Sonia feel generalized instead of personal ones from her. We understand the letter writing process can be frustrating at times. We greatly appreciate the commitment you are making to bless Sonia with your letters despite her lack of response to your questions. The project staff does an excellent job teaching the children how to respond to letters. However, keep in mind, children may not have their most recent letter with them when they reply. This means they may have forgotten questions that were asked in a previous letter. These children also communicate verbally; letter writing tends to be a foreign concept to most of them. This may be the very first time Sonia has ever written letters in her life, and they can be difficult to understand at a young age. I would encourage you to keep writing to her about your life and ask her one or two questions in your letters. Also let her know that you would really like to know the answers to the questions you ask so that she and the tutors helping her with the letters may remember more easily that those are important questions to answer.

  8. Irene Wilson November 22, 2018

    I have no idea how to get a letter to the two children that we have been sponsoring a long time. I am quite ill, and my husband isn’t a letter writer. I know that we have a sponsor number, but don’t know what it is. The money for the sponsorship is taken from our bank each money. Do the children write us? We have never received a letter

    1. Sarah November 26, 2018

      Irene, I am so sorry that you have not had the needed information necessary to send letters to your children and that you also haven’t received the sweet letters form your children. I do show that both of your children have written letters twice this year. We don’t show that your address is listed as undeliverable, but I do encourage you to check that we have the correct address for your account. You can do so by creating an online account with your sponsor number, which I will email to you. I’d be happy to resend those letters to you in the mail once you confirm your address. You can also use your online account to write letters to your children. If you prefer to write physical letters, you can mail them to our office at:

      Compassion International
      Attn: Child Correspondence
      Colorado Springs, CO 80997

  9. Lois October 31, 2017

    I’m currently writing to two kids we sponsor but can you direct to to where I can put my name down to a correspondent to someone whose sponsor isn’t into writing letters? I remember seeing some time ago that there are people who volunteer to write letters for those sponsors who don’t care to. I know the list and the wait to become a volunteer was long but I’d like to add my name to the list. Who knows, maybe in a couple of years my name will be up and I can be of help! Thank you!

    1. Janice Saxe May 25, 2018

      I would also like to add my name to the list of volunteers who write letters for other sponsors. I can guarantee at least one letter a month to the sponsor child.

      1. Shannon May 25, 2018

        Hi Janice! We would love to have you send letters of love and encouragement to one of our kiddos! Please email us with either your sponsor number, (if you are a current sponsor) or with your full name, full address and phone number. You may email us at [email protected]. Please also specify if you have any preferences on gender, age or country! 🙂 -Shannon

    2. Shannon November 1, 2017

      Hi lois!
      I would be happy to add you to our correspondent wait list! 🙂 Please send us an email at [email protected] with your sponsor number and any preferences you may have on age, gender, or country. Also, please know that the wait for a new correspondent writer is typically less than a few weeks, but if you would like additional kiddos there is more of an extended wait. We look forward to hearing from you! -Shannon

  10. Brenda salvador October 17, 2017

    Es muy lindo recibir una carta de tu padrino. Cuando era pequeña eso era lo que más anhelaba pero no paso nunca. Así que, los ánimo a que puedan escribir y enviar fotos eso es lo más bonito.. saber quien es esa persona tan bendecida que esta aportando mucho a esas vidas. Shalom♡

    1. Christina October 19, 2017

      Brenda, gracias por tus amables palabras. Lamento mucho que no hayas recibido una carta cuando eras joven. Agradecemos su aliento a otros patrocinadores para que escriban a sus hijos. ¡Dios te bendiga!

  11. Kathy July 13, 2017

    I would like to know how to get pics an small clips of my sponsored child on that compassion app as I seen in reviews of app.. I have been with my sponsored child for almost four months an I have written her three or four times but would love to see what my child is doin in her home life the joy of her friends an family in everyday activity.. Thanks in advance..

    1. Christina Wilson July 14, 2017

      Hi Kathy! Welcome to the Compassion family! We are so grateful that you have responded to God tugging your heart to sponsor sweet Genesis in Nicaragua. She is such a cutie! I completely understand your eagerness to receive more pictures, videos, and letters from your sweet girl. I am emailing you now with Genesis’ picture and more information about pictures and letters from Genesis :). Have a blessed day!

      1. Janice Saxe May 25, 2018

        I would also like to receive more pictures of my child, Saleymi GU044600258 and more information about her daily life and living conditions. Am I her only sponsor? If I send a family gift, does it go specially to her family? Thank you.

        1. Shannon May 25, 2018

          Hi Janice,
          We do update our children’s photos every two years, which you will get an update in the mail when these come out. It does look like your next update will be around August 2019. If you would like to receive more photos, the only way to do this is to send either a child or family gift of $60 or more. With one of these gifts, the money will be delivered to the church, and they will sit down with the child and their family to see what they feel is the bet use for the gift money. Our staff will then go purchase the items for the family and deliver the gifts to them. Roughly six months after the gift is given, you will receive a thank you note explaining what was purchased as well as a photo of the items. You child and/or a family member will be in this photo. Typically, your child will be in the photo but sometimes they are not, so it is never a guarantee, but I do rarely see a thank you photo without the child.
          Also, if you would like to know more about your child, we would encourage you to ask these questions in your letters. This is a wonderful way to build relationship and pray for one another’s needs! 🙂 Thank you again for your kind heart to choose to sponsor and all that you do! God bless you! -Shannon

      2. Carla Tye July 14, 2017

        We can get videos of our children?? Really truly? Please send me info about that, too. How exciting!

        1. Susan Sayler July 17, 2017

          Hi Carla! Only some of the children have videos. If your child has a video, it can be found by entering your child’s ID number at the end of the following URL: For example, a child with the number ID014500181 would be entered as:

  12. jose June 30, 2017

    so encouraging

  13. Cheyanne moore June 14, 2017

    What I like doing is when I take a picture of anything friends, family, fun things I have done, outside pictures it is a reminder to me to write my children. With the compassion app it is easy to upload pictures and write a letter to my children.

  14. Annalena June 14, 2017

    How often is writting often, what’s writting “to often”?
    Why I’m asking is as I’m writting my child every 1-2 months a letter. In between those letters the idea comes to my mind of sending a short note (only 3-4 lines, like a “I’m thinking of you!”). But so far I was not sure if this is a good idea or if it is causing to much extra work for Compassion? I mean, it’s not a real letter, just something that’d be nice to have.

    1. Savanaalah July 5, 2017

      I would recommend 6 a year to set as a minimum, and don’t set a maximum. I personally wrote 25 or so to my girl last year, but it really varies from person to person. Write as often as you want.

    2. Michelle whiting June 29, 2017

      I just went on a tour to meet my child in the DR. After seeing and meeting kids I know that they love any letter. Just a couple of lines is fine. “I’m thinking of you” lets your child know that you love them and care for them. I’ve been home 10 days and have already written my child 3 times! A bit much, maybe, but I want to keep up the relationship and connection that we have. So I say, write whenever you feel like it! Your child will feel your love through those letters!

    3. Christina Wilson June 14, 2017

      Hi Annalena! Honestly, you may write as often as you like :). Our hearts for letter writing is to allow sponsors to develop loving and meaningful relationships with their children. Therefore, I do think that sending your full letters every 1-2 months is a wonderful way to do this. I also like your idea of sending little notes of love and encouragement in between if you feel led to :). We do ask that you please follow our letter guidelines and that your letters be no larger than 8 1/2″ x 11″ and no smaller than a business card. Thank you so much for responding to God tugging your heart to bless a child in poverty! We appreciate you!

  15. Diane Hollister June 13, 2017

    Just what I needed to hear! I’m just starting a relationship with a new sponsored child after my previous one had to leave the program. I’ve been thinking ever since that I’m going to do a better job of writing her because I was feeling guilty for not writing more to my other child. The devil even tried to get me to think that if I only had written her more, she might have stayed. So not true!! I’m done accepting the devil’s lies!! I now have a goal to write once a month to Carmen, but if life gets in the way and I’m unable to, I’m going to forgive myself, let it go…and write her a letter!!

  16. K June 13, 2017

    Ha! I feel I write too much, but honestly I got it down to once per month now by adding 100 kids, all different organizations. All hand letters, since to me it is the main joy both ways. One other large organization said I was over the 6 per year, and I moved my money elsewhere when I was able. As a sponsor the freedom to write is number 1. It is what keeps me engaged and bonded.

  17. Yvonne Reynolds June 13, 2017

    I love telling people about the Compassion app! I encourage them to set a reminder on their phone to write a letter every so often, then they can just open the Compassion app and write a few encouraging words to their sponsored child.

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