Digital Scans of Letters for Quicker Response Time

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  • Updated 3 years ago
Recently I received a letter that was a scan of the original instead of the actual original.  With it came a letter saying that it is part of the new letter system (that some of us have been waiting for for a couple years ;) ) that will increase the delievery time of our letters to and from our child.  Instead of international mail, the letter was emailed and then printed in Ontario and sent to me.  (This was Compassion Canada, but from what I understand, this is something that all branches will be doing shortly). 

I have to be honest, the scan quality was so good that I wouldn't have even noticed it was a scan if it hadn't been for the letter from Compassion that came with it! What a terrific way to speed things up!

Only a couple days later I received some concerning news regarding one of my children in a letter.  I inquired to Compassion Canada and, because of the more urgent nature of this child's prayer request, I also asked them if they could send a message to her with the inquiry from me so that it'd arrive quicker than a letter.  The staff told me that yes! Absolutely they could do that in this particular case, BUT that with this new letter writing system, if I sent an online letter without any paper attachments (A Canadian online option) my LETTER would likely arrive just as quick if not quicker than the inquiry they put in!  Wow!  What a HUGE time saver from the old letter process.  I sent my message both ways :)

I do have one question to add to this: Will there ever be a way to receive the letters as emails in the same way we do with our LDP kids? I used to think I'd hate this option, but when my LDP students letters came as an email I was pleasantly surprised to find I love it!  It would save postage and save even more time via mail.  I'm in Canada and even mail from the USA takes 2-3 weeks to reach me usually and I have had a letter get lost in the mail before.  I understand it probably wouldn't work as an all-over change as some people don't have Email etc, but if we could opt in by choice the same way we do to get the Compassion magazine or our tax receipts digitally if we want it might work? Or no?
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Teresa Dawn

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Posted 3 years ago

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Adam

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Hi Teresa! I'm so glad you had a great experience with this new letter system and I really appreciate you to posting this! I heard about this new system a few weeks ago and honestly my first thought was that I would miss getting the original letters with, you know, the eraser marks and the smudges and all of that :) from my kids but the way you describe it sounds like it's really awesome and top notch! Everything else about Compassion is top notch, though, so I wouldn't expect anything different. :) There's something about holding a letter in my hands, though, that one of my kids also held that I really love but, I have to say, if I had a choice between the slower delivery times with the original letters vs. the faster deliver times and getting the scanned letters I would most certainly choose the latter because my relationship with my sponsored kids is so much more important to me than getting the original letters. It really is a great way to speed things up and I think it's a great move for Compassion to make. I would love to see it here in the states as well! By the way, you're an awesome sponsor! :)
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Angelee

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I'm just the opposite.   Yes, the conversation would go faster, but I'm all for sending the letter later.  I WANT their letter in my hands.
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Teresa Dawn

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I'm with you all in that I love having originals and not sure I would have wanted it before experiencing it (both the new CDP letters and the LDPs which I've gotten digitally for years) but now I'd sacrifice the originals any day for the scans :) I've found that the piece of paper itself isn't NEARLY as meaningful as the WORDS on the paper. 
It' so much easier to build a relationship with a faster response time for me and knowing that when I respond to their prayer requests for exams etc, it's not a thing of the past already.  I feel like this way I'm sacrificing a small token of a relationship for a greater relationship itself and I love it :D
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Angelee

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I'd go for the scans if they sent the letter later...  That's all I'm saying.
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Adam

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Angelee, as you know from my comments above, I can certainly see where you're coming from. The thing I think about with them doing it both ways is it seems like that might cost more and take more time to process the letters that way. Getting the scan system all set up and maintaining it seems like it would be a huge undertaking and it must require some very good equipment to facilitate the high quality scanning and printing of millions and millions of letters.

I think we've all felt discouraged at one time or another about not hearing from our kids in a while. It seems like Compassion is trying to address that in the best way possible while also being wise with their resources so that more can be invested into the programs for the kids.
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Teresa Dawn

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As much as I love the originals, I think I would not want both copies.  I'd be too disappointed when I open my mail and there's a letter in it and I open it up excitedly and "Oh, I already got this letter in the mail 3 months ago." lol!  That's totally just me though I'm sure haha! 

I would be worried about the cost for Compassion though.  Already by doing it this way, it will unfortunately take up double the paper and ink, once for the copy the child writes on, and then for the printed photocopy that reaches us.  More than likely they make up that cost with the savings on international postage and they probably get some good deals on bulk paper and ink, but if they also send me the originals, there would be only extra costs for the extra paper and ink and no savings, so I'd be concerned the money got taken from the kids instead :(

Ideally though, it'd be nice if every sponsor could have a choice between faster letters or original copies, but I don't think it would be feasible to have the choice or get both so the faster letters get my vote :)

PS: I've heard talk that this update might result in earlier photo updates etc for us too :D
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Susan, Sponsor and Donor Relations, Social Media

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Hey everyone! Compassion Canada is a little ahead of the game on this as the USA is just now moving into a season of updating and implementing changes in our mail room over the next several months. I regrettably cannot give you very many details as much of this is changing as we speak and will not be implemented officially in the US until January. However, I will try to share what I can and keep you updated as these changes become more clear.  
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William Blair

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This should decrease expenses from now on when it's fully up and running.I just got back from the Bolivia tour and one of the sponsors works in the letter processing department in Colorado.In case anyone doesn't really think letters make a difference here's one example.Raquel from the country office is a tours specialist and was a sponsor child.She shared her sponsor's letters with us.We read them and they were amazing the way they loved and encouraged her along the way.One other thing is our sponsor kids and their families consider us family.
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Adam

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That's really encouraging, William. Thanks for sharing that.
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William Blair

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Well,we've waited this long for the changes to come.We just don't like waiting here in the good ol' USA. LOL
It will be great to hear from them sooner so we'll know how they are doing.A lot can happen between letters.Like I posted earlier I just got back from Bolivia.This is where you can find yourself in limbo between 2 worlds for a while.
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Sharon

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I get the reasoning behind this, but it's disappointing. Holding that letter in my hands and knowing that it's traveled all the way from South India to South Carolina has always been part of the richness of the experience, IMO, and now that is yet another part that will be missing. I know no one cares about that in light of cutting costs, but.....yeah. Sigh.

I know a big reason cited for this is the faster turnaround time for letters. Well, I'm patient. I don't mind waiting. Lol. In all honesty, it's unlikely to do much for improving the conversation with most of my kids. Some of them are older (pre-teen and teen-age) and are still not writing on their own; a sibling or project worker writes for them. (I am aware that formal schooling leaves much to be desired in some of those countries.) Some of them write a completely generic letter, nearly word for word the same, every time. One writes every six months, despite the fact that she gets a letter from me once a month, and it's been this way for years. All that to say that despite Compassion's best efforts to speed up letters on the stateside end of things, there is, unfortunately, more to improving the quantity and quality of the conversation than just increased speed. The country centers have to get on board with the letter writing guidelines, too.
(Edited)
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William Blair

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Hi Sharon.I believe everyone here understands how you see this.It's great to have the actual letter they wrote and even though the letters can be the same each time the staff are working on this.Letter writing use to be a common thing here in the U.S. and in other countries it never was common.In most countries they always communicate verbally so letters is something they have to get use to.One of my sponsor kids in Bolivia showed me the letters I wrote to him and he didn't say anything about them being written online instead of my handwriting.He so appreciated what I spoke to him about in my letters.Come to find out we have some things in common.He reminds me of when I was 12.The same things on our minds at that age when life doesn't seem certain and we're unsure of what to do with our lives.

I'm looking forward to the new system so I can see how my sponsor kids are doing sooner.Have you been able to visit your sponsor child? If not I hope you do.Once you do everything changes.I'm here and there at the same time.