Your Important Letter Questions Answered by Those in the Know!

For the last year, I’ve been able to write a blog post each month for Compassion’s Letter-Writing Club. I’ve loved sharing with sponsors tips on letter-writing as well as photos and stories about the impact of letters.

But I have a secret for you. I’m not an expert on letter-writing.

I mean, sure, I’m a sponsor who writes letters. I’m a Compassion employee who has met children who can’t wait to show me the letters they keep in a treasured spot.

Young boy in a yellow shirt sitting on a step ladder reading a letter

But often, I get stumped by the questions I am asked about letters. That’s why, this year, we are going to focus on finding “people in the know” to answer your questions about letter-writing.

  • We’re going to ask the tutors who help teach the child you sponsor how to write letters.

  • We’re going to ask the translators who make it possible for that special student to read your letters.

  • We’re going to ask the folks in our letter-processing department who help make sure you and the child you sponsor receive each other’s letters.

  • And, perhaps most importantly, we’re going to ask kids and graduates about the actual impact of receiving letters from their sponsors.

But we need your help! We already have some questions in mind, but do you have a burning question that you’d like us to take to an expert?

Leave your questions about letter-writing in the comments, and throughout 2018 we’ll do our best to answer them!

And while you’re at it, go ahead and write the child you sponsor today – your questions, and yes, even frustrations, shouldn’t ever keep you from sending that important kiddo a “Hello!”

Say HELLO! Today ›››

Join our community of letter-writers on Pinterest! Check out the Compassion Letter Club collaborative board for awesome letter-writing inspiration.

46 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Margie Bellmer October 15, 2018

    I heard that pop-up cards will be mailed and not scanned. Is that correct? Or will only musical cards be mailed? Thank you!

    1. Christina October 16, 2018

      Hi Margie! I’m happy to help you! 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 any items with writing will have to be scanned as well for translation purposes, and then they will be delivered physically. Also, 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”. I hope this is helpful! Please let us know if you have any additional questions or concerns. Have a blessed day!

  2. Ivie June 27, 2018

    The blog says letter day is a big deal. How often is letter day? Once a week? Once a month? Once every three months? When the mail is delivered, do they call out the sponsored child in front of everyone? I searched for a letter day post, but only saw one about kids writing letters. Is there a post about kids receiving the letters?

    1. Susan Sayler June 28, 2018

      Ivie, the children will write two scheduled letters each year and then up to four additional reply letters each year. Each of our student centers has a scheduled letter writing day that is about every two months. They may handle the delivery of letters differently at each center, but most centers make home visits to deliver letters or they hand out the letters at the end so that other children who do not get letters from their sponsor do not feel left out. We do not have a post currently about children receiving letters, but we’ll certainly look to write a post on this topic in the future. Thanks for the feedback! 🙂

  3. Kathy Mabrey March 3, 2018

    I write to my child on-line and upload pictures for her. Does she get a hard copy or can she only view it on a computer or i-pad?

    1. Eryn Carman March 29, 2018

      Hey Kathy! Thanks for your great question! We answered it in today’s blog post. Be sure to check it out:

    2. Susan Sayler March 5, 2018

      Hi Kathy! Your child will receive a printout of your letters. Thank you so much for writing to and encouraging your sponsored child!

  4. Katie March 3, 2018

    I love using the website to send letters as it is very user-friendly. However, I would like to know if sponsored children value seeing their sponsor’s handwriting. I can imagine that makes the letter more personable. Would it be better to scan some handwritten letters rather than sending exclusively typed letters? Does handwriting slow down the translating or processing at all?


    1. Eryn Carman March 29, 2018

      Hey Katie! Thanks for your questions! Check out today’s blog for an inside glimpse into the letter delivery process for mailed letters:

    2. Susan Sayler March 5, 2018

      Katie, I would encourage you to do whatever is most convenient for you with the letter writing. The most important thing is to write and encourage your child. Our translation works for both typed and handwritten letters. You are welcome to scan and upload your letters online and that would cut off the time that the letter would take to travel within the US to our USA office (up to two weeks).

  5. Michelle Crutchfield March 1, 2018

    When I send a monetary gift of $75 or more, and a picture is taken of my child and the items she bought, the letter takes 6-9 months to come back. Much longer than if I just write a letter. Is there any other way to know that the gift was received?

    1. Susan Sayler March 1, 2018

      Michelle, I just want to clarify a few things. Gifts of $60 or more receive a photo. Also, thank you letters and photos should arrive within six months. Any longer than that indicates that something has gone wrong and we need to hold our staff on the ground accountable. Please do let us know if you have been waiting longer than six months for thank you letters or if you are waiting on a photo. Also, thank yous are arriving much faster than ever before with our new system. While gifts continue to take two to three months to be wired and delivered, the scanning and digital delivery of letters makes for a potential of a few weeks to a few months’ letter delivery. This means that for the majority of thank you letters arrive within three to four months from when the gift was given. I realize that this still means a matter of months, but we are certainly trying to cut down the time that it takes.

  6. Denise Christie February 12, 2018

    I was told that my letters are I the translation department. How long does that take? I want my sponsored child to receive her birthday card before her birthday that is why I sent it almost 2 months early.

    1. Sarah February 13, 2018

      Hi Denise! Thank you so much for sending a sweet birthday card to your child in time for her birthday! I do see that your letter has actually finished processing as of February 7th and should be delivered to her this month :). Processing can normally take up to six weeks.

  7. Chris Belchak January 30, 2018

    Where do I find the letters that my child has written to me? I cannot seem to find a link on the website to find them. I know that I read them once but can not find them again!

    1. Christina January 30, 2018

      Hi Chris! I’m happy to help you locate your child’s letters! To view your letters online, please follow the steps below:

      1. Go to
      2. Click on My Account
      3. Enter your username and password
      4. Click on Login
      5. Click on Write My Child on the left side of the screen
      6. Click on My Letters on the left side of the screen

      Please let us know if you have any issues following the above steps. If you do not remember your username or password, we can provide that to you privately and reset your password for you. If you’d like us to do this for you, please let us know and we will take care of this for you. Have a blessed day!

  8. Sarah Cross January 15, 2018

    We have a list of topics which we are asked to avoid. I am wondering if the kids are also discouraged from talking about certain things.

  9. Jennifer O. January 12, 2018

    If this shows up twice, I apologize. It’s not showing on my end.

    I’m a new sponsor, and I’m sponsoring a 3yo girl in Peru. I understand that her letters will be written by a family member or tutor for a while since she is young. So, what kinds of things can you talk about in your letters to someone that you? I don’t want to offend her family!

  10. Kate January 12, 2018

    I’d like to know ideally how frequently should we write the letters. I usually write once a month or every other month -not sure if that is too much or too little or just right 🙂 Also timing wise, how long does it take from when I mail the letter to when my child actually gets it. I know in the past it has been around 3 months but not sure if its faster now.

  11. Cathy Owen January 11, 2018

    I agree with Yvonne, great questions! Also, is it harder to translate greetings cards that I’ve bought myself and written? Is it too much to ask the translators to translate a short picture book if I send one?

    1. Karen Sheets January 22, 2018

      We can’t send short picture books.

      1. Cathy Hughes March 3, 2018

        You can send short picture books if you cut the binding and send it as separate pages. You can also use the app or web site letter writer and send pictures of the pages as attachments. You just need to remember the number of pages that you are able to send in the same envelope. But you can send as many envelopes as you want to. ???

  12. Mark January 10, 2018

    Is it appropriate to mention monetary gifts in letters? For example, if you’ve given extra money towards a birthday or Christmas gift, is it a good idea to mention that when writing?

    1. Andrea Watt March 1, 2018

      Since it’s hard to know exact timing of both letter and money arriving I usually wait for them to mention they received it and then tell them I’m glad they received it and some comment if they told me what they got about their gift.

  13. Laura Bracklein January 10, 2018

    I’m sometimes stumped on what to write a 13 year old boy. I’m pretty much writing all my letters on line. It’s been ages since I’ve sent anything in the mail. Everything I can think of seems like it would be for a little kid. Any suggestions on either would be greatly appreciated?

    1. Kathy March 30, 2018

      I have sponsored a number of teenage boys. They all seem to enjoy getting letters just like the younger kids. Mention things they are interested in such as baseball or soccer or funny stories or favorite songs or make up your own parable with a memorable message. Encourage anything they do. Sometimes I tell them about traits that I really appreciate about my husband or my father…stuff to think about.

  14. Shannon January 10, 2018

    Hi everyone! Thank you all for contributing such great questions! We’ll be answering questions like this and more this year on the Compassion Letter Club – So be sure to check it out! -Shannon

  15. Kim January 10, 2018

    My ,daughter’ just graduated. How does a sponsored child transition from going to school, learning about Jesus, getting support from teachers to daily living in her/his town? My child often asked me when she would see me. What is the appropriate way to answer this question?

  16. Raphael Kenga January 10, 2018

    Am Raphael and am coming from Ganze ,I would like this Organization to reach my area to save children from poverty

    1. Sarah January 11, 2018

      Hi Raphael! Please email us at [email protected] for information on partnership.

  17. Mary January 10, 2018

    I usually send a letter, on-line, about every 2-3 weeks. Once I send it, how long does it take before it’s received by the 5 year old we sponsor? Also, when I mail stickers to Colorado to be included in a box to Ghana, is there a way to know when it’s received?

  18. Claire Button January 10, 2018

    Do we get a final goodbye letter from our sponsored child? We were expecting to stop sponsoring her this month when she turned 22 having been sponsoring her since she was 6 but in September we suddenly got the letter & certificate saying thank you for changing a life & that was it. We wrote one last letter to her, but don’t know if we will get one back from her. It was a bit of an abrupt end that we weren’t expecting quite so soon.

    1. Sarah January 11, 2018

      Hi Claire! Since this is a personal question, I think we need to get you an answer on this now instead of through a blog sometime during this year. Are you sponsoring through Compassion UK? I wasn’t able to find your account with your email address and I noticed it was a UK one :). If you sponsor through them, please email them with your question at [email protected]. I know they’d be happy to help you!

  19. NANNETTE LAPORTE January 10, 2018

    I write both of my sponsor girls alot, 1.Are the translators bothered by how mant letters I’m sending?
    2.Am I overwhelming my girls by the amount of letters I send? 3.Do my girls reallt like the stickers and bookmarks I send them with my mailed letters?

  20. Emily Retter January 9, 2018

    When I go to prayers on the website I find suggestions for prayer for each child. How do you arrive at the suggestions for prayer? They are different for each child, which leads me to think that that child may be going through this difficulty right now. Is that the case? Are there any other ways that I can learn what difficulties and joys my children are going through now in addition to their letters?

  21. Laura January 9, 2018

    I agree that this is a great idea, and I’m looking forward to reading the responses you receive. I love all of the questions that Yvonne asked here in the comments. In addition, I’d like to know how appropriate it is to share affection in letters. Do the children generally enjoy terms of endearment, like “sweetie,” etc.? Do they like to be told that we love them? Or does it make children in some cultures uncomfortable? Is it appropriate and appreciated to write that we love them in our very first letter, or wait till we get to know them better? I have some children who seem to thrive on affection shared in letters, but there are others who have never told me that they love me or shared any words of affection at all. I’ve always heard that we should tell them we love them often, but it’s a little difficult to keep doing that, when you don’t know how it is being received.

    1. Eryn Carman March 29, 2018

      Hi Laura! Check out today’s blog post for the answer to one of Yvonne’s questions:

  22. Chantel Conrad January 9, 2018

    For the kids and graduates: Does it get overwhelming if you receive too many letters at one time?

  23. Kristi January 9, 2018

    How meaningful is it to the kids to receive coloring pages and/or stickers?

  24. Brian Galloway January 9, 2018

    How often should I write? What kind of file attachments are allowed?

    1. Eryn Carman March 29, 2018

      Hey Brian! Check out today’s blog for a glimpse into the process of delivering letters:

      For a list of what you can send with your letters, head here:

  25. Alex esau January 9, 2018

    How can I get someone to sponsor the homeless kids I am dealing with to school?

    1. Sarah January 11, 2018

      Hello Alex! Please email us at [email protected] for more information.

  26. Yvonne Reynolds January 9, 2018

    What a great idea! Here are a couple to ask the kids: how often would you like to receive letters?, what would you like us to share in our letters?, when we send photos, what would you like to see? For the translators: what phrases or words that we use are hard to translate? For the tutors: how can we encourage our kids who don’t seem to write very much, or say the same things in every letter? For letter-processing: what things do we send that hold up our letters from being sent quickly?

    1. Eryn Carman March 29, 2018

      Awesome questions! Thanks for always contributing great ideas, Yvonne! Check out today’s blog where we answer one of them:

    2. Beth January 9, 2018

      Hi Yvonne. Regarding your question about what kids like sponsors to share in their letters: One of my boys once wrote me that he loves to hear about my son (they are about the same age), so obviously he was interested in what life is like for a boy his age in another country. I’m sure there are many different answers to that question, depending on which children you ask, and it would be fun to hear some more ideas, for both the letters and the photos!

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