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Child Sponsorships

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You've probably seen the TV commercials with powerful images of underpriviledged children in harsh living conditions. Then, there's a plea for you to make a difference in a child's life by sponsoring a child with a monthly donation.

In return, you receive a photo of your sponsored child and information about the child and their family. You may even receive letters or art from your sponsored children.

But have you ever wondered if the child you sponsored really benefit from your donation and are your donations going directly to a particular child?

This is not always the case. Many organizations work with villages or churches to provide programs that benefit entire communities, including the sponsored children living in those communities. Programs may include food and clothing distribution, health care, education, counseling and agricultural services, disaster relief, and religious education. In some cases, the model of pooling funds makes sense. In order to provide education to a child, pooling funds to build a school may be necessary. In order to provide clean water, a well may be needed that could logically serve an entire village. 

Before you make a commitment to sponsor a child, here’s what you should know about child sponsorship programs:

  • Find out if the children in fundraising materials are actual children or models.
  • Ask if the living conditions are accurately portrayed in the fundraising appeals.
  • Find out if your donation will go directly to the child you are sponsoring. Is it important to you that your money goes to support only one child?
  • Ask if funds are pooled for community-wide projects that will benefit the child indirectly. If so, learn what kinds of projects your donation will support.
  • Ask the cost of your monthly donation and what it will cover.
  • Ask if you can write letters or send gifts to your sponsored child.
  • Ask what will happen to the child you are sponsoring if you end your sponsorship.
  • Ask the charity if it has demonstrated its transparency to the you by participating in a review through the Council's Accountability Wizard.  A review measures an organization's performance in four critical areas: Public Disclosure, Governance, Financial Activity and Fundraising. Reviews are based on adherence to the Council’s Accountability Standards for charities. A list of reviewed charities is available at our online charity listings.

Sponsoring a child is a great way to make a difference in a child’s life. Before you make the commitment to sponsor a child, do your homework first to ensure that your support makes the greatest difference.