Sponsorship FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What specific benefits will the child I sponsor receive?
How long should my sponsorship last?
How important is prayer in COTN sponsorship?
How can I communicate with my sponsored child?
Will my child write to me?
What other opportunities will I have to learn about my sponsored child?
May I send gifts to my child?
Can we visit our child?
How does COTN ensure that my support actually benefits the child I sponsor?
Does all $32 or $43 go directly to my child?
Why does COTN need to do meal packaging events?  Aren't  the children who are sponsored guaranteed to have food?  And if they are, then where does the food go?

 

What specific benefits will the child I sponsor receive?
The child you sponsor through COTN will receive opportunities and services that are not available to most of the world’s poorest children.  Every child in our program is assigned multiple sponsors, which enables us to provide quality care.  For a few of the specific benefits, see below:

  • $32 a month: Village Partnership (Sierra Leone, Malawi, Uganda, Dominican Republic, and Haiti)
    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: Full-Care Children’s Home (Sierra Leone, Malawi, and Uganda)
    Your monthly gift will help an orphaned child by supporting a full-care program in our children’s homes.
    Housing, food, medical care, schooling, clothing, and spiritual discipleship for your child are all included.  

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How long should my sponsorship last?
Our desire is to see these children actively contributing to their society. (For some, this might be 16 years old, others 18 or 21.) If we determine your child no longer requires support or if a child moves out of the village or area where our program operates, we will contact you regarding sponsoring another child.  We also have University Student and Skill Center programs for qualifying students. More information will be sent to you regarding these programs if the child you sponsor qualifies.

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How important is prayer in COTN sponsorship?
Very—we not only desire your financial support; we highly value your prayer support as well.

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How can I communicate with my sponsored child?
We encourage you to write letters to your child. Our in-country office will serve as a translation base, and we will translate letters both coming and going. It may take several months to hear back from your child as our mail is usually sent with staff or teams traveling to our countries.

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Will my child write to me?
Yes, your child will communicate to you throughout the year through letters, drawings, and an annual photo, in addition to responding to letters you write to them. The more you write to your child, the more they will write back!

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What other opportunities will I have to learn about my sponsored child?
You will receive regular updates on your child and our programs through emails and newsletters. You can learn about where your child lives, read stories about the villages and children COTN serves, and see photos on our news page at www.cotni.org/news.

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May I send gifts to my child?
You may send items with your letters to our USA office in no larger than a 6x9-inch envelope (Children of the Nations, PO Box 3970, Silverdale WA 98383). We will also identify special Christmas, summer camp, and back-to-school projects each year. We do not encourage sponsors to send packages directly to our countries as our in-country staff may be charged a customs fee. * If you visit your child in-country, you are welcome to bring a gift.

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

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How does COTN ensure that my support actually benefits the child 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 to ensure that funds are used appropriately.

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Does all $32 or $43 go directly to my child?
Your donation will go into our children’s fund and your child will receive the services/benefits in their program through your contributions. It is our desire to meet the needs of all the children in each of our programs.

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Why does COTN need to do meal packaging 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?
We use the food to feed the children in our programs as well as children in partnering programs (outside of COTN) who have a need. When a child enters our program, they do not have a sponsor waiting and, in fact, some children may not have a sponsor for quite some time—even a year or more. At any given time we may have hundreds of children in our programs who do not yet have sponsors. We can't realistically provide for a child in our program without funding, but we can't get sponsorship funds without having the child to promote. So, we enter children into our programs by need and faith—trusting that the sponsors will soon follow and the needed funds will come in. But seeking to be good stewards, we can't overextend ourselves either, meaning we don't have unlimited "open enrollment" for adding children to our programs. There are approved capacities for each program set by our international office, and the countries cannot go above these without proper approval. All this being said, in each of our programs, there are many children without sponsorship dollars coming in.

Beyond the above, sponsorship funds do not adequately fund all that COTN does to provide care. Providing for a child socially, physically, spiritually, and mentally comes at a heavy monthly cost. We have always had the philosophy that COTN needs to build the organization with a number of "nets" so that we can (even without full funding) continue to provide in each of the areas outlined above. These "nets" include our meal packaging events, resource gathering, our SmilePacks® program, Venture Team projects, church shoe drives, other nutritional and medical programs, etc. If we relied solely on sponsorship funds for all of our programs, we would be more of a relief organization—able to do just so much as funds were acquired. For example, all of our sponsorship funding could easily be appropriated toward education alone if we really did all that we desire to do in this area. Two other areas that warrant addressing are 1) acquisition of funds and 2) retention of sponsors. While we are pleased with our results in these two areas (especially in light of the current economy), the reality is that not every sponsor pays every month. Also, on average ten percent of our sponsors drop their sponsorship (mainly for economic reasons) and when a sponsor drops, we obviously lose the funding until a new sponsor is acquired.

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