Sunday, March 3, 2013

Responsible Sponsoring

There's something really exciting about clicking the "Sponsor This Child" button at the Compassion website. You've probably thought and prayed about it for a while (or maybe you felt led to do something and you just KNEW it was the right thing at that moment), and you've looked at the many beautiful faces on the site, and you've selected a child and *boom* now you are a sponsor.

Those of us who sponsor know there's a little "high" that comes from pushing that button. You're making a difference for that person. You're doing something great. It's a bit...well...addictive.

So...I'd like to take a minute to advocate responsible child sponsorship. As much as I want every person who is financially able to sponsor at least one child, I do want people to remember that these are indeed children. These are little people with souls and feelings...feelings that are easily hurt because they have been let down before. People who deserve not only our compassion, but our respect and our commitment.

What do I mean by responsible sponsorship? One of the beautiful things about Compassion International is the way they promote relationship building between sponsors and their children. Children become aware of you as their sponsor. They learn your name. They learn about your family. Hopefully, you are taking the time to write your children (if you are not, please take a minute to read this blog post by Michelle at "Blogging from the Boonies!  You'll start--I promise!). They are developing a real relationship with you, and through that relationship they are learning that they are important!

So what happens if they are dropped by their sponsors?  I know it happens, and sometimes it truly cannot be avoided. Life happens and there are circumstances that are beyond our control. Sometimes sponsors really do have to drop a child. But, I really encourage sponsors to PRAY HARD before dropping a child. To that child, it is rejection all over again. I guess what I'm saying is...these kids aren't playing cards to be passed know?

Okay, so let's say you are thinking you'd love to help Compassion but you're pretty sure you can't sponsor for more than a month or two....should you choose not to sponsor?  Hmmmm.  I think only God can answer that for you, but I have a few thoughts. One is, think outside the box... If you have cable, consider cancelling it and signing up for Netflix or Hulu.  Or just ditch TV all together, I promise there's nothing good on anyway.  (Really. We don't really need to see Duck Dynasty, do we?? It's more depressing than entertaining...). Or, try getting a class to go in together and raise enough money to sponsor for a year...then do it again the next year and the next and the next...

Or, consider sponsoring a child who is older, and close to graduating from the program.  That sponsorship will be much shorter in commitment time than a young child who has at least a decade to go in the program.

Other ideas: hold fundraising walks, runs, garage sales, set up an ETSY shop, bake sales, collect your loose change, put all your birthday money toward your compassion kids, ask for money for sponsoring in lieu of birthday and Christmas gifts...  God will provide if you are creative in looking for ways to continue sponsoring.

However, if you don't have the time or money to commit to a child sponsorship....consider a one-time donation, instead. Children without sponsors need that money to continue the program. You are helping IMMENSELY without the commitment. You will miss out on the joy of the relationship with a unique child, but you will be helping in a great way, and possibly in the way in which you are needed at that precise moment.  Consider Compassion Child Survivor Programs, or the Aids initiative.

You can still help, even if you can't afford to sponsor full time. Please help, even if you can't afford to sponsor full time!  God will use what you give... he blesses every gift that comes from the heart, even the widow's mite (Mark 12:41-44).


  1. Great thoughts!! I know whenever we've added a kid, it's been with so much prayer and examining the budget. And we consider these kids as non-negotiable once we have them. So other stuff has to go if we're tight. But God has been so kind and we've always had the money to sponsor our kids!! And He's been adding more kids to our numbers. It's been amazing to see Him work.

    1. Thanks, Hannah! I think I was led to write this to myself :D because it truly is a temptation to try to pick up as many as possible. I have to remind myself there are so many ways to help!