For Existing Sponsors

Here are some helpful tips to make the most of your sponsorship!


Letter-writing guidelines

Thank you for taking the time to write to your sponsored child! Your letters remind your child that you love and care for them. Children of the Nations has established specific letter-writing guidelines to protect our children and allow for building positive relationships between sponsors and children. All mail is screened at our USA office. This includes reading and documenting all letters— both coming from and going to children.

Please follow these simple guidelines to help make the most of writing to your sponsored child. 


1. We suggest writing once every one to two months, as it may take several months for you to receive a response. All mail is sent to and from our countries with staff and Venture teams. Therefore, the mail only goes when staff or teams go, which may be once every one to three months, depending on the time of year. Please do not wait for a response before you write again. However, please do not send more than one letter per month.

See the journey your letter takes to get to your sponsored child by clicking on the image below.

Or, read about your letter's journey to your sponsored child and the journey of your child's response letter to you.


2. You can use your own stationery or right-click and download one of our letter templates (downloading is preferable to opening the template in your web browser):

Letter Template for Africa (Malawi, Sierra Leone, Uganda)
Letter Template for the Dominican Republic and Haiti
Letter Template for University/Vocational students in all countries


3. You may include photos and a single sheet of stickers with your letters. (Note: If you send items that do not adhere to our policies, those items will be donated to our warehouse and distributed to the country where there is a need for them.


4. Please double-envelope your letter if mailing to our office. Address the inner, unsealed envelope with your child’s name and reference number on the center of the envelope and your first and last name on the upper left corner. Address the outer envelope with the COTN address, P.O. Box 3970, Silverdale WA 98383.

5. If you are writing to a child in the Dominican Republic or Haiti, please leave room in your letter for translation.


6. Things to include in your letters:

  • Write about things that your sponsored child will understand, such as family, pets, work, church, hobbies, tastes in food, music, and activities.
  • Encourage your child’s learning and relationship with the Lord. Include Bible verses and remind your child that God loves them and that you are praying for them and their family.  
  • Send photos of yourself and your family. Dress standards may be different in your child’s country, so please send pictures where everyone is dressed modestly.
  • Send photos of places you visit. This will be educational for your child. 
  • You may also send a single sheet of stickers and decorate your letters with stickers, stamps, and other fun things. 

7. Things to avoid in your letters:

  • Politics or governmental issues. In many of the countries where we serve, families have very strong views regarding politics. Mentioning these issues often leads to anger or resentment—the opposite of the hope and love COTN’s ministry focuses on bringing to the children we serve.
  • Discussing money and possessions, as these things may cause your child to feel jealous or ashamed, or become fixated on material things. Share positive achievements in a way your child can relate to.
  • Asking your child if there is anything they need or desire. Your sponsorship meets their needs and they are taught not to ask for things. We will communicate any needs with you, should they arise.
  • Your address, email, phone number, Facebook page, or contact information of any kind.
  • Sending money or items other than photos and a single sheet of stickers. COTN can accept these items as general donations, but not for individual children.


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Gift-giving options

Here are some ways you can give that will benefit all the children in COTN's care. (Note: Items will be distributed wherever the need is greatest, and cannot be designated for a specific child.)

1. Order books. Choose books from our wish lists, to be sent to your child's country and benefit all the children there. (Note: purchases are not tax-deductible.) Just follow these easy steps:

  •     Click one of the following links for your child's country: Dominican RepublicHaitiMalawiSierra LeoneUganda (use your Amazon Smile account if you have one)
  •     Purchase books one country at a time, to keep them organized for shipping
  •     Choose the option to have your books shipped to the Gift Registry Address (Children of the Nations, 11992 NW Clear Creek Road, Silverdale WA 98383). 

2. Donate resources by checking out the most needed items right here.

3. If you are traveling on a COTN Venture trip, you may bring small gifts for your sponsored child or a child sponsored by someone in your family. Please review the COTN gift policy for more guidelines on purchasing and giving gifts to your sponsored child while on a Venture trip.

4. Assemble SmilePacks. This is a great activity to do with your coworkers, Sunday school class, family, or Bible study group. You can gather supplies to be sent to a child in Africa or the Caribbean, meeting their physical, educational, social, and spiritual needs. Click here to learn more.

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FAQs for Sponsors

1. What specific benefits does my sponsored child receive?

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

$36 a month: Village Partnership and I Love Baseball Program. Your monthly gift will help a child living with parents or caregivers who cannot adequately provide for them. Needs vary by village and family, but typically include some combination of: educational assistance, extra food, medical care, Christian mentorship, clean water programs, resource distributions, and more.
$43 a month: Family-Style Children’s Home. 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. Some of the benefits your student will receive are: tuition, room, board, transportation, books, and materials, depending on their individual needs.

2. Why do we have rules for gift giving?

While we appreciate the intent behind gifts, limiting gift giving helps the children and in-country staff by: (1) Promoting equality. It's common that some children and staff receive an abundance of gifts while others receive nothing. (2) Supporting the in-country staff's role in our children's lives. Our gift policy seeks to respect the authority of the in-country staff as the best people to make decisions regarding the children's welfare. (3) Encouraging Christ-like behavior by promoting honesty and inclusiveness while discouraging jealousy and secrecy. You can learn more about why we have rules for gift giving by reading one of our favorite books, When Helping Hurts.

3. Why does COTN allow Venture participants to bring gifts when they travel in-country?

According to local customs in the countries COTN serves, it is often expected that visitors bring gifts. Still, gifts from Venture participants have rules. Please see the entire gift policy here for details.

4. 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.

See the full list of sponsorship FAQs here.

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Other ways to stay involved

1. Shop on and designate part of each purchase to Children of the Nations.

2. Clip your Box Tops for Education and mail them to COTN (COTN Education Dept., P.O. Box 3970, Silverdale WA 98383), to help develop libraries for the children.

3. Read children's stories and more on the Children of the Nations blog.

4. Gain first-hand knowledge of your child's country by going on a Venture trip.


Getting to know your sponsored child better can be a rewarding experience for you and the child you sponsor.


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