Are you already a sponsor? Here are some helpful tips to make the most of your sponsorship.
Writing to your sponsored child
Thank you for taking the time to write to your sponsored child! Your letters remind your child that you love and care for them.
When writing, 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):
General Guidelines for Writing
All mail is sent to and from our countries with staff and teams. Therefore, the mail only goes when teams go, which may be once every one to three months. We suggest writing every one to two months, as it may take several months for you to receive a response. Please do not wait for a response before you write again as it may take several months.
If you are writing to a child in the Dominican Republic or Haiti, please leave room in your letter for translation.
Alternatively, you can purchase a book from one of our Amazon.com wish lists, to be sent to your child's country. This is a great way to send meaningful and useful gifts without all the trouble of mailing them yourself. Just visit the wish list for your child's country (Dominican Republic, Haiti, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Uganda) and have your books shipped to: Children of the Nations, 11992 NW Clear Creek Road, Silverdale WA 98383.
Make sure you use your Amazon Smile account, so a portion of your purchase can be donated to COTN! (Note: Amazon.com purchases are not tax-deductible. If you would like a gift-in-kind receipt, please email us at email@example.com or call 360.698.7227)
Things to include in your letters:
Write plainly, clearly, and decorate your letters with stickers, stamps, and other fun things.
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 or postcards of places you visit. This will be educational for your child.
You may send items such as stickers, gum, sports trading cards, Band-Aids, hair ribbons/accessories, seed packets, socks, pencils, pencil sharpeners, pens, toothbrush and toothpaste, hard candy, deodorant, etc.
Things to avoid:
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 expensive items (over $25 in value) or money. COTN can accept these items as general donations, but not for individual children.
Meeting your sponsored child
Visiting your child can be an exciting and encouraging experience for both you and your sponsored child. You can join an existing “Visit Your Child” trip or set up a trip of your own by visiting our Venture trips page.
You can learn more about the cultures of Africa and the Caribbean, and how to properly engage with your sponsored child, by reading some of the following books. Enjoy!
Foreign to Familiar
Sarah A. Lanier
This book is all about understanding the differences between cold-climate cultures (like the US and Europe) and hot-climate cultures (like Africa and the Caribbean).
The Big Truck that Went By
Jonathan M. Katz
This book details the world's response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and how in many ways the relief efforts resulted in more harm than good.
When Helping Hurts
Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert
This book shows how sometimes the best intentions can go wrong when we intervene in other cultures, and provides solutions for doing international missions right.