When Will I Receive a Letter From the Child I Sponsor?

This is a question I have gotten from sponsors for as long as I have worked at Compassion, but I have heard it asked especially often over the last few months. I hope to explain a little of what might be contributing to the length of time that it is taking for you to receive a letter.

Letters are important. They have the power to communicate to a child, “You are known and loved.” Because letters are precious and cherished, we want to make sure that the processing and translation of these letters is done right.

When Will I Receive a Letter From the Child I Sponsor?

In the past, a child might have asked their sponsor in a letter to pray for their father who was sick at the time that the letter was written. Because letters may have taken two to three months to be delivered, the father may have passed away by the time the sponsor received the letter. There’s a lot that can happen in a child’s life in two to three months.

This drives home a point for us: letters matter and the timeliness of letters matters too. Being able to tell a child, “I’m praying for you as you take your exam” is powerful and encouraging, but it is especially meaningful when said before they actually take their exam.

Here at Compassion, we are all about relationships. We are in relationship with local church partners to empower them to serve their communities. We connect supporters and children so that they can participate in mutually transformative relationships. If we could speed up the time that it takes for a letter to be exchanged back and forth between supporters and children, it would also enrich the relationships between them.

If we could be more efficient, we could send more and more letters and serve more children in the future. As the momentum was built, the lives of many more children would be impacted by the life-saving benefits of our program.

Something needed to be done to help us deliver letters more efficiently. So for several years we prayerfully worked to bring this vision to fruition. Then in April 2016, we began using a new system designed to help us deliver letters faster than ever before.

While the new system enabled us to deliver thousands of letters in two weeks or less, we also encountered issues that we had not anticipated.

Unfortunately, these issues have increased the letter delivery time for about one-third of our sponsors. We are regrettably aware that, depending on when the letter before that was sent, some supporters are waiting six months or more for a letter.

We are committed to continue delivering letters even as we work diligently to resolve the issues in the new system as efficiently as possible.

Watch this video from the Compassion Staff regarding the change in letter delivery and subscribe to Compassion YouTube for more videos.

Thank you so much for all of your patience with us as we upgrade our systems. Please excuse our dust as our letter delivery system is under construction!

Here are ways you can be praying for us as we go through this transition:

  • Pray for insight and efficiency as the team continues resolving all the remaining issues.
  • Pray for God’s protection over our new technology and that our system will work as it is supposed to.
  • Pray for patience and grace across the ministry worldwide as we work together to resolve these challenges and move forward.
  • Pray for wisdom and effective teamwork.

Even though these changes are affecting the time it takes to send and receive letters for some, rest assured that the value of your and the children’s letters when they do arrive is the same! Please continue to write to share your love and encouragement with the child or teen your sponsor.


38 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Peter oliver March 19, 2017

    Last year i had 4 letters in 9 months from my little boy in Indonesia then aged 6.7 now marveled for a boy of his age. Since then i have waited 6 months under this new system. Is there any progress in mending theses glitches.I believe my letters get to him on time.

    1. peter oliver July 11, 2017

      HiI thought died let you know my last letter from my child in east indonesia took 4 weeks to come a big improvement on previous letters Keep up the good work it can only get better peter.

      1. Christina Wilson July 11, 2017

        Hi Peter! I’m so glad to hear that you received your kiddo’s letter so quickly! Thank you for your continued support and encouragement. We appreciate your grace and patience throughout this season of change!

    2. Shannon March 20, 2017

      Hi Peter,
      I know it is very frustrating to have to deal with these delays, and we are so thankful for your patience! We are actually seeing that our new letter system is now starting to speed things up quite a bit. I am hopeful that shortly we will see everything be back up and running quickly. Our hope is to cut the time between letters to about six to eight weeks. Again, thank you so much for your patience, we really do appreciate it!

      1. Peter oliver April 2, 2017

        Re your letter sent to me 20 march I had a letter from my child in Indonesia it was dated 16 November 2016 six months ago in it he was asking for prayer to do well in his exams and also they have had colds coughs fever and mum does not enjoy good health.What has happened since then i don’t know .This letter was online.Peter

        1. Christina Wilson April 3, 2017

          Peter, I am deeply sorry to hear that you have not received a letter from your precious boy for quite some time :(. I completely understand your concern caused by reading that your boy’s family was sick. We do recommend asking your child in your letters regarding his and his family’s health though. That is usually the best way to gain information. I would be happy to look into why you haven’t received a letter for six months as this should not happen. Regrettably, I was not able to locate your account using your email address or your name. Would you please provide either your sponsor number or your child’s number? If you do not feel comfortable providing this information publicly, you are also welcome to email us at [email protected]. Thank you!

  2. Kim Robinson February 23, 2017

    I started sponsoring two children. I am very excited to receive any letter or even a picture of the child. It hasn’t been long and I am excited to receive the information packet compassion should have mailed out.

  3. Judy Noble December 5, 2016

    I must be in the group of sponsors whose letters are delayed. But in the past month I’ve heard from all four of my girls. I’ ve been a sponsor almost two years now. I write faithfully every month. I came to realize that when I sent gift money , it wasn’t toys, stuffed animals or coloring books they bought, it was FOOD. I have watched my girls transform from thin, unhealthy in appearance to a smiling healthy child. I help them develop a love of our Lord and Savior. I show them love, concern and encouragement. They thank me for being their sponsor. Sending them stickers was really MY thing to do. Their needs were much beyond that. My one suggestion is, that since cards are being scanned, why not have a variety of template birthday cards to choose from in the letter writing segment of your website? And special templates for Easter? The money saved by not buying expensive cards can be used towards their gift money. Any program is going to have issues, but I believe my money is well spent with Compassion. Keep striving to improve the program! Your sister in Christ…

    1. Sarah December 6, 2016

      Hi Judy! Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us :). I’m so glad to hear that it has been mostly positive, despite the lag in your letters from your precious girls. We have passed the suggestion of more templates for the cards on to the correct team and I know it is something they are considering once we have the issues in the system figured out. Stay tuned!

  4. Sonja Guthrie November 28, 2016

    I do understand the disappointment that one must feel not getting a letter in return when you have spent time and money towards helping a child or children. My experience with letters is this. I have sent many many letters of encouragement to people, some I know, some I do not know. One thing I’ve learned is this. I write the letter and put it in the mail. I imagine that special person going to the mailbox and finding a happy letter just for them. I very seldom get a letter in return, and I never send a letter expecting to receive one. When I do get lucky enough to get a letter in the mail I treasure it. So I continue to send my letters to my sponsored child, and I guess I just have faith that he is getting them. I pray that it is making a difference in his day, his week, his year, and yes, his life.

    1. Peter oliver January 21, 2017

      Marvelous comment SONJA,it shows that you are putting your children first.In the 12months I’ve been sponsoring a 6 now 7 year old boy i have had 4 replies which good for a boy of his age. Keep up the good work Peter.?

  5. Rodney November 25, 2016

    Let us all pray issues are resolved as quickly as possible. Where there are two…. May God hear are prayers and impact the areas needed to make the system work consistently. I too have had issues and have written about my concerns. It is my hope Compassion find other methods of communications with the increase in technology. Maybe a saved video could be delivered to the child and family. Or maybe the sponsored tours increase and economically reasonable? But let us all faithfully pray for the process to improve and ultimately the child and family receive blessings. God can make all things work together for good. Amen.

  6. Scott Edgell November 20, 2016

    $228 dollars later and no word from our sponsored child or any adult in the organization. Although some can give blindly without any word from the person or organization they donate to, I am having difficulty. The only communication we have received is the newsletter and letters asking for more. There appears to be a management issue from the very top and I am considering stopping our donations.

    1. Sarah November 21, 2016

      Hi Scott! I am so sorry for the discouragement in your sponsorship experience. We certainly want to help address all of your concerns, but regrettably, I was unable to find your account with your name or email address. Do you know what your sponsor number or child ID is?

  7. Leanne Van Kley November 17, 2016

    All of the letters (history) to my sponsored child have disappeared from my account. I have only received one letter from him this year. Last year I received 5 or 6. This situation appears to be getting worse instead of better. IT IS VERY FRUSTRATING and disheartening. Now I cannot even see what has been sent or is in transit.

    1. Katherine Brice November 18, 2016

      Leanne, I am so sorry to hear that you are frustrated and disheartened. Letters disappearing on sponsor accounts and the lack of status of letters are known issues and our tech team is working to correct the glitches. As this blog post says, we understand that letters are important and we want sponsors to receive their letters. Most importantly, it is our heart for the children to receive their letters and know that they are loved. We know that the backlog of letters that needed to be translated caused sponsors to go quite a while without receiving letters and we are deeply sorry about that. It looks like you should have received a letter from Grace in September and a letter from Sebastian earlier this week. Did you get those letters? You should receive at least one letter every six months. If that is not the case, you are welcome to contact us and we can send an inquiry to your child’s field office to request a letter. Thank you for your grace and understanding in this difficult transition time. God bless you!

  8. Jen November 17, 2016

    I too am frustrated with the system as well. I recently sent my sponsored child an envelope package with a letter, some coloring pages, and I made two small paper dolls with a scripture on the back of each. The envelope is on the lists of “approved” items. But I get a letter from Compassion saying they won’t deliver anything. It also sounds like the letter will not be sent. The package was flat, the items all paper! I understand the problems with theft, and time restraints. It is beginning to sound like all we can send is a letter due to the electronic scanning. I do not want to be an “aloof” sponsor far away that only sends an email message or tiny letter. I also sponsor another child through World Vision, and they too have a list of approved gifts. However, I can send a gift if the envelop is flat enough, as well as items like a pencil, stickers, etc. I believe in what Compassion is trying to do, and I will continue to pray and sponsor, but I would be lying if I said I was not frustrated.

    1. Katherine Brice November 18, 2016

      Jen, thank you for reaching out to us with your frustrations. I am so sorry that the system changes have made you feel less connected with Tatiana and I sincerely hope those feelings do not last. Regrettably, letters and emails were sent to sponsors to inform them that their items could not be sent, but some of those letters and emails were sent in error. As long as the items you mailed to us were within the guidelines, they were indeed sent. I am so sorry about the confusion. We really appreciate your prayers through this difficult time. Please know that our heart is for the children and we hope that these system changes will make the sponsorship experience better than it ever has been before. God bless you!

  9. Kate November 14, 2016

    After a long wait I have finally received a letter from Ayisha. I was glad to hear from her, however I am slightly confused as to why the letter is dated Dec 20, 2008? The child also mentions getting ready to celebrate New Years soon, which seems odd since this should be a letter written sometime over the summer. That would make sense though if it was indeed written at the end of December, like the date states, so it makes me think that the date is not there simply by error. Also, while it says my name on top, it doesn’t have the name of the child who signed it. Almost makes me wonder if this is an older letter/from a different child that somehow got routed to me in error?
    Also, I am still waiting on correspondence from Ludnie, there was an inquiry send to the country office early October and I have yet to heard back. The first and only letter I got from her was in May. It’s been six months now and I’ve send numerous letters and gifts to her- first one in March and I never heard back on that.
    I realize that there are system/translation challenges at the moment so I’m trying to be understanding but I’d like to make sure that both of the girls are well and the last letter from Ayisha confused me a bit so if someone could clear it up for me I’d appreciate it.

    1. Katherine Brice November 15, 2016

      Hi Kate! I am so sorry for the confusion regarding the date on the letter from Ayisha. The Ethiopian calendar is actually different from ours and it’s not 2016 there. Don’t worry, you didn’t get an eight year old letter :)! I see that we just logged it into our system on November 9. We sent your inquiry for Ludnie on October 24 and it can take about 8-10 weeks for us to receive a response. We will contact you as soon we we receive that letter. I am so sorry for the wait!

      1. Kate November 15, 2016

        Katherine, thank you so much for clearing up the confusion on the date! I was not aware that Ethiopia has a different calendar and I did some research just now so the date does make a whole lot more sense now 🙂

  10. Trina Ezell November 5, 2016

    Hello! I’m just curious if you guys at least feel like you’re making a lot of progress on the new system, in working through all of the glitches. Can you at least see the light at the end of the tunnel? Are you guys able to have a prediction of an approximate time when you expect for everything to be running like it should? I think maybe if everyone knew that, it could be a little less frustrating and people could have a little more patience with all the issues. Just curious. I feel bad for all of your staff as Im sure none of this is your fault and of course you would be preventing these issues if you could, yet many people are showing their anger towards you…when Im sure you are all working as hard as you can to resolve the problems as quickly as you can. We all need to try to have patience and kindness in our hearts for the Compassion staff who are doing such amazing, caring things for all these children around the world!!! They obviously want what is best for these children just as we do. The issues with the letters gets frustrating but we need to keep reminding ourselves of these things!!!

    1. Susan Sayler November 8, 2016

      Trina, while we are seeing some progress in working through all the glitches in the new system we are regrettably still working to fix some of these issues. I apologize as cannot give you a date for when we will be fully through all of these issues. Thank you for the encouragement and for your continued support!

      1. Priest December 24, 2016

        Ah, i see. Well thta’s not too tricky at all!”

  11. Kami November 4, 2016

    Hi, I just sponsored a child a month ago while visiting a Compassion Experience event at a local church. My 7 year old daughter was even more excited by sponsoring a child, if that’s possible. My whole family was so enthusiastic to get started. However at the event, my daughter asked, can I send her cute socks, a small Bible, a bracelet I make, etc. The lady told her you can mail anything in a an envelope. Now I don’t blame the person because she’s a volunteer but my daughter is quite sad and so are we all. We wanted to share things with our sponsored child that she can use. Even though a child of need will love a musical card, it isn’t something they truly need. We were planning on sponsoring another child through Compassion after Christmas but we want something more personal. We found out that World Vision allows sponsors to send lots of different things as long as it fits in a 6 by 9 envelope. They can be sent small puzzles, hair ribbons, pencils, small homemade items, coloring books, paper airplanes, balloons, and tells sponsors to be creative. The list of things that aren’t allowed are very small. As a family, we are holding off waiting to see what our prayers will do. We are praying daily that Compassion thoughfully rethinks the direction they are going and considers either opening up the list of allowable items all year around like this other program does or at least allows sponsors to send a 6 by 9 envelope filled with the same items allowed by World Vision twice a year such as Christmas and the childs birthday. Please Compassion, please try to make this program better for all who are involved with it. We just bought lots of stickers, bookmarks, cards, and Christian reproducible coloring books and Sunday school activities for our sponsored child. We plan to send her a few copied pages at a time and then send the other items in between. However, this will get boring for our sponsored child and for us very quickly and to think of how much I spent could have been used instead to give her items that will truly benefit her and her family. Again, we are praying for Compassion to listen to us and other sponsors who are listening to Gods direction as well. May God lead Compassion in making the correct decisions and bless them abundantly. God Bless!

    1. peter oliver April 6, 2017

      KAMI you will find that your child will enjoy letters and the occasional money gift some photos much more than just gifts research has proved this.Keep up your good work.Peter

    2. m.k. November 16, 2016

      With my World Vision child, it is $22 to send a tiny envelope (6 by 9) with $5 worth of things. And it could get lost. Compassion makes sure letters get there and you don’t risk sending even the letters overseas yourself. I still like both programs. With my kids at Children International I can send actual packages to most countries; the sky is the limit. But it’s expensive and there are no guarantees. I have found online stores IN their country and then I can ship a ton of stuff I pick out for my child, and it’s quite cheap. But the bottom line is…I like all the programs. And Compassion is also one of my favorites. Helping kids is what it’s all about!

    3. Susan Sayler November 8, 2016

      Kami, I am so sorry for your disappointment and especially for the misinformation that you received at the Compassion Experience event. I appreciate you taking the time to share your feedback with us. We are always trying to improve our program and are always open to feedback. I will be sure to pass your words along and we will consider them in the future. Each program does work very differently. Let me explain a little bit about how the Compassion program works in relation to others. Compassion includes the sending and receiving of letters in the sponsorship and we follow them to ensure delivery. Not all programs do this. Because of this, we have to limit the number of items that can be sent for both economical and customs reasons. We have found that over the years often items that have a resell value have a high probability of being stolen, held for weeks on end, or requiring more than the item is worth in tariffs in order to ensure delivery. We also have begin scanning and electronically delivering letters to enable them to travel within weeks to and from your child. This has regrettably also limited the amount of items that can be sent. Lastly, from our experience sending monetary gifts often goes much farther in the country that your child lives than sending an item would. An added bonus is that this gift will stimulate the local economy where your child lives.

  12. Judy November 3, 2016

    HA! I found electronic copies of my letters online! This was great to see but it isn’t completely intuitative. One letter’s translation was a third page that I almost missed the first time. So, I wrote a new letter (IE10 browser, i think) and could not attach a photo; finally giving up and going to bed. The next morning, I had to idea to use Chrome browser. Hey, it worked, but I was denied sending it because I had reached my “limit” for sending letters. All I wanted to do was update the photos I wanted to send along with the letter from the day before… it is going to take some getting used to….

    1. Katherine Brice November 4, 2016

      Hi Judy! I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had a hard time with writing letters online :(. You definitely did the right thing by trying another browser! You’re right, it is going to take some getting used to but we’re definitely going to work on the unexpected glitches that have been coming up and making the letter writing process even better. Thank you so much for hanging in there through this transition for your kiddos! God bless you!

  13. Bruce Burke November 2, 2016

    I too have been negatively impacted. We were getting letters reliably every 2 months – and I developed an internal alarm that predicted when a letter should arrive…..my internal alarm is now freaking out. Letters are taking 3 months or more. Sorry, but this is unacceptable.

    1. Katherine Brice November 3, 2016

      Bruce, thank you so much for loving your kiddos so much that you are eager to receive their letters. That is exactly the kind of relationship we pray that our sponsors will develop with their kiddos! I am deeply sorry that the issues mentioned in this post have caused your letters to take longer than you would like. Thank you so much for your grace and patience as we work to make our system even better! God bless you!

  14. Nicole Torres November 2, 2016

    I’m so sorry that this has been such a difficult transition, Compassion peeps! I can only imagine how difficult it is to make such radical changes to a system that provides for as many children in as many countries as you provide for. Communications between myself and my two kiddos have been delayed, but I’m still writing every couple of weeks like normal. I figure that eventually it will all work out and the new system will be better than ever! I can’t wait until all communication will be achieved in roughly 2 weeks instead of 3 months! Thank you all for your tireless work in the trenches. My continued prayers are with you all.

    1. Katherine Brice November 3, 2016

      Nicole, I am so grateful for your kind words and encouragement. We are also extremely excited for the letter process to be complete and glitch free! Thanks for sticking with us through this rough time and continuing to be a blessing to your kiddos!

  15. Mela Kircher November 1, 2016

    Sigh. I am one of the third whose letters are not getting delivered. I began sponsoring Lizbeth in late April. I filled out the form letter that was in the packet and sent it in the next week. It showed up in my online account on June 10th but it doesn’t look like it is translated. I sent online letters in June, July, Sept. and Oct. Since it doesn’t appear that any of them have been translated, I assume none have been delivered. I called Compassion, in August hoping for an explanation. I spoke to someone who took a message, but no one called me back. In the meantime, I received a letter from Lizbeth in Sept. I was so happy to get that. But I have to wonder, what must she be thinking if she hasn’t ever heard from me? That’s what bothers me. No matter how dissatisfied I am with the way Compassion works, I will continue to write to and support Lizbeth. It’s not her fault there is something wrong with the system. I hope this is fixed soon for the children’s sakes.

    1. Sarah November 2, 2016

      Hi Mela! I am so sorry for the confusion and the disappointment we have caused you with the new letter system. I’m hoping I can help clear things up for you today though! Your letters are actually getting translated and delivered to Lizbeth, who I know has been overjoyed to continue receiving such beautiful, encouraging words from you! It is still taking several months for letters to make it to the child once a sponsor writes them, but they are getting there. The translations will never show on your online account, which I only mention in case that’s the reason you aren’t sure that they are being translated. Most sponsors are also seeing the status of their letters show incorrectly on their accounts at this time, but the letters continue to be processed. I know it seems messy, but I also know Lizbeth is benefiting from your encouragement! She has been writing reciprocal letters back to you that we are working to get processed as fast as we can. This sweetheart is blooming from your letters, and I cannot wait for you to get her reply letters that she has written to you. You should see them posted on your account soon, Mela. In the meantime, keep loving on this precious girl!

  16. Rebecca November 1, 2016

    I am very frustrated with this whole situation. I went from getting scanned letters which i disliked to no letters at all after opting into getting the originals. I sometimes get an email, sometimes not. But my snail mail mailbox is empty and i have 4 kids so I should be getting a letter from someone. And it kills me to know that some of my kids letters are getting lost in the system and going missing since im getting some emails but the letter never shows up in the mail, but also i keep getting deliverable response emails and letters from CI no matter what i send my kids. Come on guys, get it together! And the call center is a mess now. I call and the reps rarely understand my issue. I miss the old CI and would gladly pay more for a better sponsorship relationship.

    1. Sarah November 2, 2016

      Hi Rebecca. I am so sorry that the changes we have been going through over the last several months have caused such frustration and disappointment for you :(. It breaks our hearts knowing that the issues we have had with this system have impacted sponsor relationship with their children negatively. Please know that your letters from your children are not getting lost in the system. Due to the issues we have had with the system, we have not yet been able to send out the original hard copies of the child letters to sponsors. We hope to be able to start doing that in a few months. Your child letters should be available to you on your online account, where you will be able to read them until we are able to send their original letters to you. I know this is frustrating. We are working hard to fix the issues with the new system as quickly as possible and would very much appreciate your continued prayers for our efforts.

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