What Can I Mail to the Child I Sponsor?

UPDATE: Since the publication of this post, letter-writing guidelines have changed and as a result you may not be able to send some of these items through Compassion’s correspondence system. Before you send your letter, please review our letter-writing guidelines.


One of the questions I am asked most from new sponsors is: “What can I mail to the child I sponsor?”

If your love language is gifts, this is a hard one for you because you want to be able to send material items along with your letters to show the child you sponsor that you love them. Be sure to check out what you can include in your letters before you sit down to mail the kiddo you’re investing in.

What Can I Mail to the Child I Sponsor

Today, I am going to share with you five things you can mail with your next letter:

1. Photographs

The child you sponsor is just as curious about you as you are about them. The kids in Mexico and Colombia that I have had a chance to meet tell me they love receiving photographs of their sponsors. So don’t be shy, get in front of the camera. Take a picture with your family doing something you love together, print that photo and send it along with your next letter.

What Can I Mail to the Child I Sponsor Sticker

2. Stickers

I don’t care how old you are, there is something about stickers that can brighten your day. There are so many varieties of stickers. Read one of your old letters to find out what the child or teen you sponsor likes. Lina, who we sponsor in Colombia, wants to be a veterinarian one day, so I found stickers of dogs for her, which I know she will love.

3. Postcards

Out on a day trip with your family? Pick up a postcard or two from that area. Not only will this make a nice addition to send along with your next letter, you now have something to write about. He or she wants to know how you spend your days. Tell them about all that you saw and experienced.

What Can I Mail to the Child I Sponsor Feliz Cumpleanos

4. Paper crafts

Pinterest is filled with so many ideas that you can create something meaningful to send to your sponsored child. Lina has a birthday coming up soon, so I found a birthday card idea on our Birthday Card Ideas board. Just a little washi tape and a piece of cardstock, homemade birthday card in no time!

5. Letters with words of encouragement

No matter how many times we repeat this, we can’t say it often enough. Your letters mean more to the children you sponsor than any physical thing you can send. The kids keep these letters for years and refer to them often. They read them more times than we can ever know.

We would love to see what you are sending in your #compassionletter! Post a photo on Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter, describe what you mailed, and tag your post with #CompassionLetter. We would love to share what you are mailing with other sponsors.


As always, join our Second Friday Letter Writing Club collaborative board on Pinterest to share you letter-writing ideas and get ideas from other sponsors. Be sure to follow us on Pinterest and then send an email to compassionpinterest@gmail.com so we can add you as a contributor to the group board.

50 Comments |Add a comment

  1. GLENN CHRISTIE January 5, 2019

    TO SUSAN OR SARAH,
    I’M A BIT CONFUSED. CONCERNING GREETING CARDS. I’VE BEEN TOLD THAT EVEN BEAUTIFUL AND COSTLY BIRTHDAY CARDS ARE SCANNED AND TOSSED INTO THE WASTE BASKET AND YET – IN A COMMENT BEL0W I READ THAT THEY ARE MAILED (AT LEAST THAT’S THE WAY I INTERPRET IT). I LIKE SENDING THE NICEST CARDS I CAN FIND AND I WOULD REALLY APPRECIATE JADHYRA RECEIVING THE VERY ONE I SENT. WHICH SHOULD I BELIEVE?

    Sorry – I failed to turn the caps off..

    1. Christina
      Christina January 7, 2019

      Glenn, I sincerely apologize for any confusion caused by reading information on this blog post that is different from what we have told you. This blog was published in February of 2016, so the information in this blog may not coincide with our current guidelines. At the top of this blog you’ll see the following message, “UPDATE: Since the publication of this post, letter-writing guidelines have changed and as a result you may not be able to send some of these items through Compassion’s correspondence system. Before you send your letter, please review our letter-writing guidelines.”

      Along with a personal letter, you can send: stickers, bookmarks, musical greeting cards, and pop-up cards. These items will be physically delivered to your child. Please keep in mind that items sent without a personal letter will not be delivered to your sponsored child. You can also send: letters, photos, postcards, greeting cards, coloring pages and paper crafts. However, your child will not receive the original items. The items will be scanned and sent electronically. The total number of items (including stationery and the letter to your child) should not be more than six sheets, and each flat paper gift item should not be larger than 8.5” x 11”.

      To answer your question, the only way your card would be sent physically is if it is a musical or pop-up card. If you have any further questions about our letter writing guidelines, more information is available here. Thank you so much for blessing your sweet children with your love and support!

  2. WILLIAM SIMPSON December 20, 2018

    What can I send via mail to my 14 yr old in Africa. Need suggestions please

    1. Sierra December 21, 2018

      Hi William! Thank you so much for your desire to bless your child with gifts. Of course, anything listed in this blog post would be appropriate and a huge blessing to your child! For a more detailed list, you can visit this page on our site: https://www.compassion.com/letter-writing/tips-for-mailing-small-gifts.htm. You may also send your child monetary gifts, so he or she can purchase something that they are in need of.

  3. Tammy December 17, 2018

    Why am I not receiving any pictures of my two sponsored children other than a yearly photo? I would like to see more pictures of them.

    1. Sierra December 17, 2018

      Hi Tammy! That’s a great question. Regrettably, because of the number of children in our program (which is a huge blessing!), facilitating more than one update photo every 18-24 months would be too much. However, we do have a system in place wherein if you send a gift to your child of $60 or above, you’ll receive a photo of your child with whatever gift they are able to buy! I’m sorry we’re not able to send more frequent photo updates of your kiddos. 🙁

  4. Anya Geistert October 24, 2018

    Hi there,

    hoping to send out a letter to our sponsored child today and was wondering if sending a bookmark would be allowed? Would she receive it in person or will it be scanned?

    Thanks so much!

    1. Sarah
      Sarah October 24, 2018

      Hello Anya! Yes, you can absolutely send a bookmark with your letter :). The bookmark is an item that is physically delivered to your child. Because you are sending a bookmark, your letter will be both scanned for translation and physically mailed to your child as well. She will receive the copy of the translated letter, the original letter, and the bookmark when they reach her. Thank you so much for blessing her with such a thoughtful gift and letter!

  5. Carol May 1, 2018

    I sent my sponsored child a monetary gift and a monetary family gift. I would love to know what gifts they chose. That would give me a much better idea of their needs and what is important to them. Is there a way to find out?

    1. Madison Raska May 2, 2018

      Hello Carol! I do see that you sent sweet little Celeste a few gifts in March. Thank you so much for doing that! 🙂 She should be writing you a letter indicating what she purchased with these gifts. If you do not hear back after six months of sending this gift, let us know and we are able to send an inquiry over to the field staff.

  6. Lori Beach February 11, 2018

    Why cant we be given information on how to directly reach and send things to our child? It seems very secretive and shady.

    1. Sarah
      Sarah February 12, 2018

      Hi Lori! Compassion actually has this policy in place for the protection and privacy of both the child and the sponsor. We are committed to confidentiality and privacy and can only ensure this with communication solely through Compassion.

  7. Lee Schmitz February 3, 2018

    Where do I find the address that we should send our child’s birthday card/letter to?

    1. Susan Sayler
      Susan Sayler February 5, 2018

      Hi Lee! You can send letters or cards to:

      Compassion International
      [No street address necessary}
      Colorado Springs, CO 80997-0004

      We will forward on your letters and cards to your child for you. 🙂

  8. Judith Poisson June 27, 2017

    I recently sent a letter to my child and included two photographs that I printed on my computer on 8×10 paper along with my letter and a birthday card, which I translated into Haitian Creole on the inside.
    I also sent a check as well. I received a letter from Compassion saying that they were not able to deliver it. I assume they meant the birthday card. Are you not scanning the birthday cards? I am getting more and more confused by all the rules. Thank you.

    1. Shannon June 27, 2017

      Good morning Judith,

      I am so sorry for all the confusion regarding the letter guidelines. It seems like to me that the items that you sent should all go through just fine. For confirmation, please know that the only physical items that are able to be sent are musical and pop-up cards, bookmarks and stickers. All of these items must be 100% paper, except the stickers which may be plastic as well. Anytime you send something to your child, please make sure to keep it to six pages or less. All letters, coloring pages or pictures will be scanned into an electronic document, unless otherwise noted above, and then printed in the child’s country office to be delivered.

      If you followed the guidelines above, it is very possible that we were able to send your letter, card, and pictures just fine; but that we accidentally sent this notice in error. Regrettably, these letters are sent manually and due to human error, these do get sent out in error on occasion. I sincerely apologize for that! Also, please know that although we truly appreciate your efforts to translate your own letter, you do not need to do so. We must send all of our letters through the translation queue to also be checked for appropriateness, so you can skip that step. 🙂

      Again, I do apologize for our error and we truly appreciate your effort in sending letters to your child! Have a wonderful day! -Shannon

  9. Christine April 13, 2017

    I am a new sponsor and I have some questions. I bought a musical birthday card and stickers and I want to make sure I do this right so the mail doesn’t get pulled out. Is the card and its envelope considered 2 of the 6 pieces allowable?

    The sticker package is 2 sheets, but small…each sheet is about 1/4 the size of an 8×11 envelope. Is each sticker sheet one piece? Should I remove the plastic wrapping to send them?

    I know I need to include a personal letter.

    Do I put the sticker sheets inside the birthday card?

    I was going to put the while enveloped birthday card in a larger tan mailing envelope addressed to Colorado. Does the tan envelope count as a piece too?

    I know my questions are super specific. I just want to make sure it gets there properly. Thank you so much!

    1. Shannon April 17, 2017

      Hi Christine,

      Congratulations on your new sponsorship! It is so wonderful to see that you are already engaging with your kiddo!

      When sending a musical card, the card itself will count as two pages, (one for the front and one for the back). Anything you send along with your card will count as one page. You will also want to remove the plastic from the stickers. Please leave your card blank and send your letter along with the card, this way we do not have to scan your card for translation. Please also note that you do not need to send your card in its own envelope. Your card will be opened before sending, for quality assurance reasons and translating. Whatever envelope you choose to use to send your items, will not be counted towards your page limit.

      I hope this is helpful! If you have any other questions, please let us know! -Shannon

      1. Christine April 18, 2017

        Super helpful, thank you!

  10. April February 15, 2017

    Hi everyone can u please help me out to find someone who can sponsor my child if u dont mind ma’am/sir its such a blessing if someone response. Im from philippines im 26 yrs. Old i just gave birth to my 2nd child she’s 3months old and my elder son is 5 thanks very much godbless.

    1. Sarah
      Sarah February 16, 2017

      Hello April! We may be able to assist your children. Please email us at socialmedia@compassion.com for more information.

  11. Jimmy October 13, 2016

    I asked this question a while ago and didn’t receive a response. I have been sending beautiful glossy photo cards to my child, and now I see that they are scanned and then sent on. Are they scanned on a glossy card stock or on drab plain paper? These are pricy cards and if their not sent on glossy then whats the sense of buying them?

    1. Katherine Brice October 13, 2016

      Jimmy, I’m so sorry that you never received a response to your question. Your photo cards will indeed be scanned now and they will not be scanned on glossy card stock. Thank you so much for being a blessing to kiddos with your letters, prayers, and support! God bless you!

      1. Destiny Marie Chenault November 1, 2016

        Will the photos be scanned in color? I remember reading in a Compassion blog post that children loved physical photos because they aren’t as common. Do these scanned photos still have the same impact on the children?

        1. Sarah
          Sarah November 2, 2016

          Hi Destiny! Yes, we do scan and print the photos in color for the children. Pictures are a treasure for the kids because it gives them a visual connection to their sponsors :)!

          1. Larry Kent March 16, 2017

            Why can’t the actual photo be sent to a sponsored child? Are they scanned so they can be sent electronically? Versus paying postage.

            1. Christina Wilson
              Christina Wilson March 17, 2017

              Larry, we are scanning pictures that are sent with letters so they can be electronically sent to our country offices. From there, they are printed as a high quality print and sent to your child. This method does indeed help save money so we can direct even more of your sponsorship to your child. However, the initial reason for this change is to speed up the process and delivery time of letters to and from children. Our heart for this change is to make it easier for sponsors to foster a meaningful relationship with their child :).

  12. Sheila September 10, 2016

    I hosted a Compassion Sunday about 1 year ago and at least 2 of the 10 people who are sponsoring a child say they never hear from their child. I sponsor 3 and the letters are seemingly fewer. I love Compassion but this is a real let down, especially coming from others who I introduced to Compassion. Do you know why this is happening?

    1. Katherine Brice September 12, 2016

      Hi Sheila! Thank you so much for advocating for children in poverty and for sponsoring your sweet girls! I am so sorry for your disappointment and the lack of correspondence. We are currently undergoing system and process changes to ensure that the letters to and from your child arrive in as little time as possible. We are in a difficult transition period because there were more glitches in the new letter writing system than we anticipated, which caused a backlog of letters that needed to be translated. If you or any of the other sponsor you mentioned have not heard from a sponsored child in more than six months, we are happy to send an inquiry to the field offices and request that the child write a letter. God bless you and what you do for these children!

  13. Patty Greenwood August 15, 2016

    In the past, I have been able to send an 8.5×11 folder with coloring page, photo, bandaid.etc.. as long as it was within the guidelines. Is that not possible now?

    1. Susan Sayler
      Susan Sayler August 16, 2016

      Patty, regrettably, we can no longer send folders. The only items that will be physically mailed are musical and pop-up greeting cards, bookmarks, and stickers. Everything else needs to be 8 1/2″ by 11″, paper, and scan-friendly. This means that while we can still send photos and coloring pages, they will be scanned, electronically sent, and printed out in your child’s country for your child.

      1. Traci Parrott August 9, 2017

        Susan, question on the bookmarks. Can they be laminated with the embroidery floss attached? The senior center near me sells bookmarks made with pressed flowers laminated to paper or designs stitched to paper and laminated made by senior citizens in my community. All have the piece of string on top. Will these get through?

        1. Susan Sayler
          Susan Sayler August 10, 2017

          Traci, oh how neat! Yes, because the bookmark will be mailed, you are welcome to laminate it. If possible, please do not attach string, however, as we are typically only able to send paper items.

      2. Patty Greenwood August 17, 2016

        Well I’m sad, but I understand and am happy that the letters are traveling faster. Can you tell me how long it takes for them to get our scanned items now?
        Thanks

        1. Christina Wilson
          Christina Wilson August 17, 2016

          Patty, since the implementation of this new system, we have encountered more bugs than we had anticipated. This has caused a delay with letters being processed. Currently it is still taking the regular 2-3 months for letters to be delivered. We have been working diligently to resolve these bugs, and we prayerfully hope to have this new process sped up soon. Thank you so much for all the love and support you have been giving Fernando. We appreciate your understanding and patience as we work out the kinks in our new system! God bless you.

  14. Any T July 1, 2016

    I started sponsoring a child and also dismayed that we cannot send anything more than printed materials besides our letters. I was completely unaware that puctures are copied instead of sent as originally provided.– In reading all of the above, I have a couple of questions:

    1– Could you provide a lonk to where we can make a monetary donation that goes directly to the sponsored child (mine has siblings and I’d like to include them in the gift note so my sponsored child may continue to learn of sharing God’s provision) – I wrote a note with my ladt letter, inquiring sbout this but never got a response from CI;

    2– How can I find out the process to physically visit my sponsored child and while there volunteer for the pastor that nurtures these children and families?

    Thank you and blessings abundant to those who are active sponsors!

    1. Sarah
      Sarah July 1, 2016

      Hi Any! I am so sorry for the disappointment the guidelines for letters have caused you :(. Please know that the words you write in your letters are ones that will continue to give your children confidence and hope in the Lord for many years to come. Though you may never know it, your words could be a direct answer to prayer for that child, a child who has longed for someone to recognize their true potential and value and call it into being with words of love.

      To make a monetary donation for a gift for your child or your child’s entire family, sign into your online account first. From the “Account Summary” page, click on “Additional Giving” and choose between sending a child gift, family gift, or birthday gift in the space next to your child’s name. From what you mentioned about sharing the gift with the other siblings in the family, I would encourage you to send a family gift in order to be a blessing directly to the entire family with your gift :).

      You can find the information on visiting your child at https://www.compassion.com/newsponsor/visit.htm. We have two options for visits. One option is to choose to travel with other sponsors on a sponsor tour, which is led and planned for you by Compassion. We also allow sponsors to make individual visits to their sponsored children if they choose to go that route. Individual visits require more logistics planning on the sponsor’s part than the sponsor tours do. You can read all about these two options through the link I provided you with :).

      Thanks so much for wanting to bless your child and the child’s family in as many ways as possible! We are so grateful to have you partner with us!

  15. PAT June 15, 2016

    My husband and I are new sponsors. We have a 4 yr old girl. I am very disappointed to find out that I can not send paper cutouts, photos, cardstock coloring pages ect. I had hoped to send her a folder, to keep her coloring pages in, flash cards on the alphabet, numbers, bible verses, ribbons for her hair, and a ragdoll I had made for her. I understand customs can be a pain, but I think at least once a year we should be able to send small packages. What type of paper do the photos get copied on? How do we even know she receives what is e-mail. There is something special about mail for children, not just a piece of paper off a machine. I understand that letters can go thru customs without cost. We want to do everything we can to increase her changes of knowing Jesus Christ, learning, and growing up to be the best she can be.

    1. Cora June 16, 2016

      Have you looked into Operation Christmas Child through Samaritan’s Purse? I sponsor three children through Compassion but if you want to send gifts and actual items then a better option could be Operation Christmas Child (you fill a shoebox with goodies and usually they are collected for distribution around early November, check out their website for details and suggestions).

    2. Susan Sayler
      Susan Sayler June 16, 2016

      Pat, I am so sorry for the disappointment and frustration that you are feeling as a result of these new guidelines. Please know that you are still more than welcome to send paper cutouts (as long as they are not cutout yet but on an 8 1/2″ by 11″ size still and your child can cut them out at the center), photos, and coloring pages. Items such as ragdolls and ribbons have often required high tariffs to get them through customs and even items that we would consider as not having much value can be stolen to be resold on the way to your child. For this reason, we have only sent paper items in the mail. I know it may seem less personal but your words of love and encouragement are what is most important. We share your commitment to increase your child’s chances of knowing Jesus Christ and growing to be the person she was created to be in fact that is what our whole program is about. This is why we only work with the local church who can minister to your child in the most culturally and age appropriate way and you are in a unique position to encourage her in her faith and personhood as a sponsor and mentor. If you ever are able to visit your child, you are welcome to bring whatever dolls, necklaces, etc. that you would like to give to her.

  16. Marianne March 18, 2016

    I am a new sponsor and was curious if we could send toys, clothes or anything that isn’t just paper?

    1. Sarah
      Sarah March 18, 2016

      Hi Marianne! Regrettably, we aren’t able to send anything other than paper products that follow the guidelines to the children by mail. Everything we send to the country offices is declared as a document. If anything other than paper was in those boxes, it could cause the entire box to be delayed and many children not receiving their precious letters from their sponsors. We also don’t send anything besides paper products due to the high risk of theft when going through international customs. However, you are able to bless your child with monetary gifts! Gifts specifically for your child can be given between $10-$100, up to twice per year. You can also send a family gift between $25-$1,000 a year, which will also bless the rest of your child’s family. Once the gift arrives, a staff member at the project will sit down with the child and family to help them figure out what to use the gift on. It’s a great way for you to tangibly bless your child!

      1. Benita March 22, 2016

        Sarah, I noticed you said gifts (monetary) can be sent to your child “up to twice a year”. I was unaware of the limit, and had planned to send a gift once a month. I have already sent two gifts to my sponsored child in Ethiopia, but it doesn’t total what I had planned to send for the year! Also, his birthday is later in the year, and there is Christmas…what can I do now?

        1. Susan Sayler
          Susan Sayler March 23, 2016

          Hi Benita! I apologize for the confusion! What Sarah meant was that you are welcome to send child gifts (both birthday and general gifts) of $10-$100 up to two times a year. This means that you can send up to $200 in child gifts per year. Christmas gifts are not included in this amount. You can also send $25-$1000 in family gifts per year. While there is no limit to the number of times you can send family gifts, we ask that you not send monthly gifts because this can create a dependency for that family. Our goal is for families to be self-sufficient and fully released from poverty. You are welcome and encouraged to bless the family with several smaller gifts throughout the year but please avoid monthly gifts.

  17. Erik March 1, 2016

    I met my sponsored child last week and I gave her a photo album. This week I’ll be ordering prints of the pictures we took and sending them her way!

    1. Emily Vanhoutan
      Emily Vanhoutan March 1, 2016

      Erick, you’re so thoughtful! I bet she loved that and I know she’ll be so excited to have a tangible reminder of her time with you! That will be such a treasure :).

  18. Lennis “the Spanish teacher” February 26, 2016

    I am SUPER excited because I just sent my first letter to my sponsored child in Peru! I’m a Spanish teacher and this sponsorship is part of their service learning project in Spanish. My students are so excited! They’ve drawn pictures and written their favorite scriptures to encourage him.

  19. Marisol Nethken February 23, 2016

    I write my sponsored child no less then once a month… I try to tell her what is happening that month and pictures that coincide.. For example in October I sent pictures of pumpkins and fall scenery’s … I live in Colorado so puctures of the mountains and Aspens are beautiful!
    I have sent small things along with some of my letters:
    A pretty ribbon, book marker, stickers….
    I always try to let her know that I am proud of her with her school, that I think of her always and most importantly that I pray for her and know that God watches over her!

    I’ve sponsored my child for 6 years now… Getting pictures of her growing up and reading how her letters also show she is growing up!
    My last letter from her touched me deeply- it was so grown up and the way she expressed her gratitude brought tears to my eyes!… To be able to make that much of an impact on a child you hVe never formally met is an amazing feeling! The impact made wAs through letters, sharing life stories, puctures, and always encouraging.

  20. Melissa February 20, 2016

    Great ideas! We’ll do some of this stuff next time we write to our sponsered child, Nicole Sarai Guenivera Rivas.

  21. Jennifer February 19, 2016

    Our sponsored child lives in India and is eagerly learning English. Our girls receive Clubhouse Jr. Magazine, and we’ve found that pages from the magazine are big favorites. They have posters with bible verses, games and mazes, coloring pages, bible stories, and science articles. Our sponsored child’s favorites are the articles about animals, which has piqued her interest in science.

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