Sponsorship FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions for Sponsors

What specific benefits will the child or student I sponsor receive?
Your donation will help meet the physical, educational, social, and spiritual needs of your child or student. Your donation will go into our sponsorship fund and your child or student will receive the benefits of their program through your contribution. Every child and student in our program is assigned multiple sponsors to meet all of their needs. 

For a few of the specific benefits, see below:

  • $32 a month: Village Partnership Program (Sierra Leone, Malawi, Uganda, Dominican Republic, and Haiti) and I Love Baseball Program (Dominican Republic)
    Your monthly gift will help a child living with parents or caregivers who cannot adequately provide for them, by assisting with their physical, educational, medical, and spiritual needs.
  • $43 a month: Family-Style Children’s Homes (Sierra Leone, Malawi, and Uganda)
    Your monthly gift will help an orphaned child living in one of our Children’s Homes.
    Housing, food, medical care, schooling, clothing, and spiritual discipleship for your child are all included.
  • $50 a month: University/Vocational Program (Sierra Leone, Malawi, Uganda, Dominican Republic)
    Your monthly gift will empower a student by helping them to get a good education.
    Some of the benefits your student may receive are: tuition, room, board, transportation, books, and materials, depending on their individual needs.

 

How does COTN ensure my support benefits the child or student I sponsor?
We have competent staff in each of our countries who make sure our programs are operating effectively. There are strict financial accountability guidelines in place.

 

Does all of my monthly donation go directly to my child or student?
Your donation will go into our sponsorship fund and your child or student will receive the benefits of their program through your contributions. It is our desire to meet the needs of all the children and students in our care.

 

How long should my sponsorship last?
You may sponsor your child through high school, the University/Vocational Program, or trade school, depending on the child. Our desire is to see these children grown and actively contributing to their society. (For some, this might be 18 years old, others older.) If we determine your child no longer needs support, or if your child moves out of the area we serve, within 30 days we will send you a profile of a new child for you to consider sponsoring; your sponsorship will automatically transfer to this child unless we hear from you.

 

How important is prayer in COTN sponsorship?
Very—we not only desire your financial support; we highly value your prayer support as well. Your child or student sees prayer as important and will be praying for you.

 

How can I learn more about my sponsored child or student? 
You can learn more through writing letters, visiting your child or student on a Venture Trip, and reading our blog or other resources on our website. You will also receive regular updates about our programs through emails and newsletters. 

 

How can I communicate with my sponsored child or student? 
Specifics for letter writing can be found at cotni.org/for-existing-sponsors. Your child or student will respond to the letters you send (please limit to one per month), and we will send you a new photo of your child or student every year. We encourage you to write letters to your child or student, but please do not send more than one per month. Along with your letter, you may include photos and a single sheet of stickers. Larger items cannot be sent. Where needed, our in-country staff will translate letters both coming and going. It may take several months to hear back from your child or student, as our mail is sent with staff or teams traveling to our countries.

 

May I send gifts to my child or student? 
You may send photos and a single sheet of stickers with your letters to our USA office. We will also identify special Christmas and summer camp projects each year, for you to give toward. You may also give toward items within the COTN Gift Catalog, which will benefit your child or student and many others. For more gift-giving ideas, visit cotni.org/for-existing-sponsors. (Note: Items will be distributed wherever the need is greatest, and cannot be designated for a specific child.)

 

Why do we have rules for gift giving? 
While we appreciate the intent behind gifts, if directions are not followed, direct gift-giving can cause several problems for your child or student. These include: (1) undermining the authority of parents and in-country staff; (2) breeding dependence and materialism; (3) taking the place of more urgent needs; (4) misuse or misinterpretation of the items and their meaning; (5) causing jealousy among other children and students.

 

Why is COTN no longer permitting sending gifts to the children? 
We know gifts are sent with the best intentions, but the sending of gifts to our children can cause unintended harm and complication for COTN's children and staff. We want to continue to respect the authority structures set up in our countries. Our children are best served when we coordinate their needs through our in-country staff. Sending gifts to specific children also creates inequality. Some children inevitably receive many gifts while others receive nothing. This can cause jealousy and even self-esteem issues among the children. Lastly, with the growth of our programs, receiving and managing the details and the costs of transporting gifts to our countries has become problematic.
 
 
How will I let my child know I love them if I can’t send gifts? 
You can still write to your child and include photos and a single sheet of stickers. This will help children focus on the relationship built through letter writing, rather than on the gifts. Writing letters can create a deep and personal relationship. The children also highly value your photos, and proudly display them. 
 
 
My child writes the same thing every time. How can letter-writing be improved? 
Our staff are helping the children improve their writing. For many of our children, especially the younger ones, English is difficult. It’s usually their second or third language. We encourage you to ask 2-3 specific questions in your letters. Our staff are teaching the children to look for your questions, repeat them back to you, and answer them. Thank you for your patience as this is taught.
 
 
Will my child receive the specific items I give through the COTN website? 
Items will be distributed wherever the need is greatest, and cannot be designated for a specific child. Your child will benefit from these items when he or she has a need that these items meet. Having a priority list of needed items (cotni.org/for-existing-sponsors) allows our staff to prioritize distribution of items based on children’s needs.
 
 
How will I know the children are receiving the items I give through the COTN website? 
We have set up a plan for reporting on item distributions, and will email sponsors these reports when they take place.
 
 

What can I expect to receive regarding my sponsorship?
You will receive an update from your sponsored child or student once a year and an updated photo at Christmas. You will also receive response letters from your child or student when you write.

 

Can I visit my child or student? 
Yes! Visiting your child or student can be an exciting and encouraging experience for both you and your sponsored child or student. We greatly encourage it. For more information on joining an existing “Visit Your Child” trip, or to set up a trip of your own, visit cotni.org/venture/trips or contact us at venture@cotni.org or 360-698-7227.

 

How do I update my credit card information online?
You can update your credit card information online by logging in to your 'Partner Profile.' Log in by clicking on 'My Account' (in the top right corner of this website) and entering your password. From your profile, click on the 'Gift Info' tab and then click on 'Edit Settings' next to your recurring gift. On the next screen, you can update your credit card number and CVV, its expiration date, and/or your billing address. (Please note that you must enter your entire credit card number to update any information on this screen.) Save when you're finished.

If you have not yet established your 'Partner Profile,' or cannot access your profile, please call 360-698-7227 for assistance.

 

Why does COTN need to do SmilePacks® events, resource drives, etc.? Aren't the children who are sponsored guaranteed to have food, clothes, etc.? And if they are, then where do the food and other resources go?

While sponsorship provides for the needs of the children already in our care, packaged meals and donated resources allow us to provide for children who do not yet have sponsors, and to help children who attend our schools, live nearby, and take part in partnering programs. 

For example, not all of the children who attend our schools are enrolled in our sponsorship program, but almost all of them eat meals at school. COTN uses the meals you package to feed these students and, sometimes, other children who are not directly involved in our programs but live nearby and have a significant need. 

In addition, COTN uses donated resources and packaged meals to provide for the needs of children who are enrolled in our programs but do not yet have sponsors. When a child enters our care, they do not have a sponsor waiting. We take children into our care by need and in faith—trusting that sponsors will soon follow and the needed funds will come in. While these children await sponsorship, your donated resources and packaged meals greatly help to meet their needs.

 

If you have further questions, please contact our sponsorship department at sponsorship@cotni.org or 360-698-7227, or visit this page.