Change Makers

Facts about how child sponsorship works

So, you’re interested in sponsoring a child, but you’re on the fence because you’re not sure how it works — or if it works. Here are some basic facts about how World Vision child sponsorship works and why you won’t regret investing in a child’s life.

When you sponsor a child through World Vision, you join a movement of 604,000 people in the United States who give up about $1.30 a day to impact a child for a lifetime. World Vision child sponsorship is Christ-centered, child-focused, and community-based. We’re serious when we say that for every child sponsored, four more experience the benefits.

World Vision child sponsorship facts

  • For every child sponsored, four more experience the benefits because funds are pooled for their community rather than sent directly to the child’s family. This means you can make an even bigger impact.
  • Each community faces unique challenges needing unique solutions. We partner with governments, churches, and other local groups to address a community’s short- and long-term needs.
  • World Vision child sponsorship programs focus on improving the physical, emotional, spiritual, and social well-being of the most vulnerable children.
  • Worldwide, our donors support 3.8 million children registered in World Vision sponsorship program communities.
  • About 604,000 generous donors in the U.S. sponsor more than 780,000 children in dozens of countries.
  • In 2018, we used 86 percent of our total operating expenses for programs that benefit children, families, and communities.
  • Our goal: work ourselves out of a job after around 15 years in a community or until development is being driven locally and sustainably.

How does child sponsorship work?

We believe the most effective way to help one child is to strengthen their entire community. Of our 40,000 staff worldwide, 99 percent of them are native to the country they work in. Local World Vision staff start by meeting with families and local leaders to set goals together. We want the community to build a better future.

This journey plays out in three phases.

1. Building trust and laying the groundwork

We listen to community members to understand the issues hindering children from reaching their full potential. Community members nominate vulnerable children for the child sponsorship program. Each child is matched with only one sponsor. This one-to-one connection is a powerful way to share God’s love as you pray for your child, write them letters and emails, and send photos and small packages to encourage them.

2. Building hope and skills

We partner with local churches, governments, and other groups to address their short-term and long-term needs. World Vision sponsorship projects are designed to meet the most pressing needs in a sponsored child’s community, like clean water and improved sanitation, better income opportunities for parents, and improved agricultural production.

Your monthly sponsorship gift is combined with other donations, including grants, to invest in long-term resources for your sponsored child, and their whole family and community, including clean water, nutritious food, healthcare, and education. In 2018, we used 86 percent of our total operating expenses for programs that benefit children, families, and communities. All projects are regularly measured against these goals and objectives. The point is to make sure that children are healthy, are receiving appropriate education, and receive spiritual nurture.

3. Building confidence for the future

Over time, you will get to watch the impact of your donation on your child, their family, and their entire community, celebrating with them along the way.

Your result is real, lasting change for your sponsored child and those around them. Enjoy sharing the journey and seeing proof — through email correspondence and annual progress reports in their community — that your support is changing lives and allowing your sponsored child to dream about the future.

Equipped with new skills, resources, and hope, the community takes ownership of its own future while World Vision phases out and moves to other vulnerable communities. Our goal is to work ourselves out of a job after about 15 years in a community or until development is being driven locally and sustainably.

How do I sponsor a child?

Here’s how you can sponsor a child:

  1. Look at the children who are waiting for a sponsor like you right now.
  2. Sponsor a child whose story, interests, and circumstances resonate with you. You can even pick a child who shares a birthday with you or a family member.
  3. Your sponsorship donation is pooled with other sponsors for maximum impact to fund programs that benefit your sponsored child and their community.
  4. Along the way, you can build a relationship with your sponsored child and their community through letters, photos, videos, prayer, and more. Read these child sponsorship FAQs.
  5. Sponsors who have the flexibility and resources can even arrange a visit to meet their child. It’s a life-changing experience — and we’ll help you arrange the meet-up.

Sponsoring a child is the most personal, effective way to fight poverty. When you sponsor a child in need, you build a special relationship that encourages your child with hope for the future. It’s also an opportunity to live more generously or model faithful giving for your own children. Everything we do has one aim — the sustained well-being of children. Your support helps pursue the physical, emotional, spiritual, and social well-being of vulnerable children.

Child Sponsorship

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Mayerly Sanchez, World Vision communications manager for Colombia visits Caracole community near the Venezuela border in Cucuta. As a sponsored child she was active in a youth peace movement that was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Colombia has long been affected by violence and conflict.
From the Field

A sponsored child’s life in Colombia comes full circle

From the Field

Former sponsored child now helping lead refugee response in Bangladesh