FAQs - For Current Sponsors

My sponsored child

We’ll let your sponsored child know they’re sponsored as soon as possible. You should receive an introductory letter from your sponsored child within three or four months of signing up to sponsor. Note that although your sponsored child will now know they’re sponsored, they won’t know anything about you until you begin to write to them.

Send your child an email now.

When our staff take photos of the children they do encourage them to smile. However, in some cultures, smiling for the photograph is not the norm. In other cases, the children may have never seen a camera or have rarely been photographed. They tend to take the practice very seriously. 

Yes, but… We want you to have the opportunity to develop a meaningful relationship with your sponsored child in a way that is safe, secure and fulfilling for both of you. Because of this, we ask our sponsors to abide by the following standards while participating and partnering in World Vision’s Sponsorship program:

- In order to protect children’s security and privacy, please don’t post your sponsored child’s last name or child ID number on the internet or social media sites. For example, it’s fine to update your Facebook status by saying “I just sponsored a little girl named Maria from Bolivia!” – in fact, this is encouraged! But it’s not okay to post her photo and say “This is my 12-year-old sponsored child, Maria Cruz, from a little town named Tiraque in Bolivia.”

- And remember that we discourage direct, unmonitored communication with your sponsored child or family without World Vision’s knowledge. This includes contact through the internet or social media (e.g. Instant Messaging, Facebook, Skype, etc.).

- We’re fully committed to protect the security, privacy, and dignity of the children whose parents/guardians and community leaders have graciously allowed to be a part of our child sponsorship programs. Children have the right to be completely secure from the fear or reality of any potential abuse (either physical or emotional) resulting from an inappropriate contact by a sponsor or any other person.

Learn more about World Vision’s policies on Child Security and Child Protection.

Although it may seem your sponsored child is now at an age when they should be able to write, it’s possible not many children in the community can write well or write a complete letter in English. Also, the standard of education in rural areas is not as advanced compared to those in urban areas where children start school earlier. A disadvantage to living in rural areas is that children need to be fully grown in order to walk the distance to school, many of which are a far walk from home. Because children in rural areas generally start school late, their ability to read and write is limited. This is one reason why letters are sometimes written by a family member or helper on behalf of the child. 

Oftentimes, listing your questions instead of writing them in a paragraph can make it easier for our staff and volunteers to translate and get answers too.

There could be a variety of factors that contribute to this. A few to consider are:

- Your child lacks motor skills to draw

- Your child doesn't know how or what to draw

- Your child was interrupted from play or chores at the time

- Your child wasn't feeling well at the time (hungry, ill, etc.)

- Your child wasn't feeling artistic at the time

Each year, we’ll send you a progress report in the mail updating you about your child’s health and educational status. This report will also include a new photo, so you can watch your child grow up.

If it’s been more than a year since you last received a progress report, we will be glad to communicate with the national office for you. Please give us a call at 1.800.777.5777.

We understand circumstances arise that make it difficult to continue sponsorship. We would love to work with you to make adjustments to your account so you can continue your relationship with your sponsored child if you would like to. Give us a call at 1.800.777.5777 and we can let you know about options such as a temporary reduced rate or putting your sponsorship on hold. And if you would like to cancel your sponsorship we are happy to assist you with that.

Communicating with my child

Yes! Being a child sponsor is also about building a wonderful friendship. Exchanging letters, cards, or sending emails is a great way to connect with your sponsored child. Be sure to ask your child some questions to get the conversation started! Find more information on sending mail and get ideas on what to write.

Note: For the protection of the children, sponsors, and our staff, we read letters that are exchanged between sponsors and their sponsored children. The letters are reviewed to ensure people do not threaten children, put their lives in danger, or try to develop inappropriate relationships.In many of the countries where we work, Christian expression is restricted so we monitor the letters to make sure nothing written could endanger the child or family. We also review letters to our sponsors to ensure they do not receive inappropriate solicitation of funds from children's families.

When writing your letter, it's important to consider your sponsored child's environment and culture. For example, it’s best not to write about the things you own since your child might have very few possessions. But do write about yourself, your family, and friends.

Please look for the Sensitive Area Alert icon under your child’s picture in My World Vision for more explanation. If your child lives in an area that welcomes Christianity, please feel free to share your faith and spiritual encouragement with your child.

However, if your child lives in a community where Christian expression is restricted, please don’t refer to Jesus or send Christian tracts or Scripture in your messages. Doing so could jeopardize World Vision’s work in your child’s country, or even endanger the child or our staff. If you have any doubts about what’s appropriate in your child's community, please give us a call at 1.800.777.5777.

Our overseas staff prefer that letters are written in English. The only exception would be if you fluently speak the same language as the child. Please don’t use a translation service (such as Google Translate). Also, we ask that you in keep in mind that our staff translating the letters may only be fluent in English and their country's official language.

Because your sponsored child may live in a remote location, delivering and receiving a reply to your letter may take three to four months. But the joy of hearing from your child is well worth the wait!

We work in communities that are impoverished and often are located in areas difficult to get to—far from the highways or any other forms of rapid communication with the outside world. Many rural areas don’t have phones, internet or, sometimes, even postal service.

There are other reasons why it takes time to deliver and receive letters:

- Only a handful of project workers and staff members supervise the writing and delivery of these letters—in addition to all of their other responsibilities for providing services to the children in the community.

- Most sponsored children have never written a letter, and they need assistance writing to their sponsors. If your sponsored child is unable to read or write, someone must help them read your letter and write out the response, which takes time. This person may be a school teacher, a family member, or a World Vision staff member. If your child has received assistance with writing, there’ll be a special note on the letter.

- Once the letter is written, it must be delivered to World Vision’s National Office in your sponsored child’s country, then be translated to English. In many developing countries, transportation can be a challenge and travel may be interrupted or impossible during certain times of year due to heavy rains and flooding. Also, often the child's village is remote and can require World Vision staff to travel by foot to deliver or collect a letter. All of this can take a substantial amount of time.

We hope this helps to explain why communication between you and your sponsored child may require some patience and time. However, if you don’t receive a reply from your child within four months after you have written, please let us know by giving us a call at 1.800.777.5777. We’ll check for you with the National Office in your sponsored child's country.

Throughout the year, we’ll mail you fun greeting cards you can sign and return for delivery to your sponsored child. They’re a great way to encourage and connect with your child--children eagerly hope for their name to be called when mail is delivered.

A small donation is suggested to help cover the costs of handling and mailing the cards, but this donation isn’t required in order for the card to be forwarded to your sponsored child.

We print messages on the cards primarily in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Swahili because these are the primary languages spoken in our World Vision offices around the world. Our staff translates the card into the local dialects of the children.

If you’d like to send your sponsored child a letter, but want to avoid the cost of a stamp, you can include a letter with one of these greetings cards. Please note, because of how these cards are distributed, it will likely take longer to receive a reply from your sponsored child than if you were to mail the letter directly.

Learn more about greeting cards.

No. It’s against our Child Protection Policy to agree to ongoing communication between a sponsor and their child after the child leaves our program. All communication must be in overseen by World Vision to ensure the protection of the child, their family, community, and for sponsors as well.

For stewardship reasons, we usually develop one greeting card and design it with an 11-year-old in mind because this is roughly the age of the single largest group of children, as well as the median sponsored child age.  However, for birthdays we typically create two cards:  one for older children and one for younger children. 

Sending gifts

Yes! Your child will be thrilled to receive small inexpensive items that fit into a 6"x9" envelope. Find more ideas on what to send and how to address your package.

Important Note: Some sponsors may want to send Christian tracts, Scripture verses, or references to Jesus. Please do not send these items if your child lives in a community that may not welcome Christian teachings. For the sake of your child's protection and the protection of our staff, we ask that you use sensitivity when sending items. Please look for the Sensitive Area Alert icon near your child’s picture in My World Vision for more explanation. If you have any doubts about what is appropriate in your child's community, please give us a call.

If you’d like to help your child and their family meet extra needs in their lives, you can provide a Special Gift for them. The funds you send could buy a goat, school supplies, clothing, or another much-needed item.

Learn more about Special Gifts or give us a call 1.800.777.5777 to give a Special Gift today. 

Unfortunately, we can’t. We refrain from asking staff in your child’s community what your child’s greatest needs are because this adds time to the process and needs may change. Please allow our staff to talk with the child and their family to determine what they most need. They will always work to ensure that your gift is used in the best way possible for your child, their family, and community. 

Visiting my child

Yes! Meeting your sponsored child face-to-face can be an exciting and moving event for both of you. Be sure to contact our U.S. office at least three months in advance of your trip.

Learn more about visiting your child.

While we encourage sponsors to meet their child face-to-face with an in-person visit, unfortunately, bringing your sponsored child to the U.S. for a visit is not permitted for several reasons, including:

  • The safety and well-being of your child
  • The culture shock experienced by your child
  • Your child's readjustment to his or her own lifestyle can be difficult

Share sponsorship with others

Share the joy of sponsorship by finding sponsors for kids who are waiting for help. Create your own customized fundraising page and write your story, include photos, set a goal, and if you like, you can even choose the country, age, and gender of the kids. Then share a link to your personal page with your social network and invite your friends and family to sponsor a child! Get started >

Or, become a Child Ambassador and be a voice for vulnerable children by initiating opportunities to share child sponsorship with others in your own community. Through one-on-one conversations, working with your church, local businesses, or civic organizations, or hosting a booth at an event, there are so many ways to get involved. Experience World Vision's work in the field on an international trip, connect with other Child Ambassadors for encouragement, and learn about global issues that help you grow in your faith, compassion and abilities. Learn more > 

Contact us

Sometimes you just need to talk to a real person. We're here for you.