I have always received vague letters and no photos

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  • Updated 10 months ago
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I have sent a few letters to my sponsored child and have received replys in the time manner expected. I have donated funds to her family, sent birthday gifts, and Christmas gifts. I have also sent her several pictures of our family. My heart is in the right spot and goes out to her and her family. My problem is that I only receive short vague letters from her that are so generic and vague that I question their authenticity. Almost like someone is writing a letter that could be sent to anyone and everyone. I know with my sponsored child’s age, she receives help from a tutor to write letters. I am almost certain, having three kids of my own, that she is not involved with the words in the letters. An adult is writing 100% of the letter. My questions aren’t answered, I never get questions asked. There is no personal bond other than the one we are making up in our minds and hearts. I thought with giving gifts over $60 that we would receive pictures. I have given well over that in a couple offerings and have never received another picture. My wife has already checked out and wants to cancel, questioning the authenticity. I told her on our last letter we’ll give it one more chance. This was the “one more chance” and this most recent letter is more vague than the last. We are on the last straw and I am pulling the plug based on this final plea for something worth while. Thank you.
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David Hewitt

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  • unsure about compassion

Posted 12 months ago

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Brandy Rijhket

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Wow, I'm really surprised. If you call Compassion's mail number they can look into the gifts and ask the child write back and send a picture. I didn't get a thank you or picture after sending a family gift, so I called Compassion to follow up. They said they would send a request to the center to ask for a picture and it could take about 6 months due to translation, lack of camera, etc. However, I did receive a picture and thank you letter about 2 months later. I hope you contact them and get a response!
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Shannon Massey, Employee

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Good morning David, 
I am so sorry that you are feeling such disappointment over these letters from your sweet kiddo, Sela. I completely understand how upsetting and disheartening it can be to feel as though you are pouring your hearts out and are getting so little in return. In addition, anytime you send a gift of $60 or more, we do promise a picture and a special thank you note in return and I am so sorry that you have not received what you are entitled to. 
I did look through your letters from Sela and I do agree these are very vague and do not have much detail, nor has she ever mentioned your gifts. Many of our children struggle with the concept of writing a letter. You are probably the only person your child will ever write a letter to, and sometimes children have trouble grasping the concept of having a “conversation” by mail. When children receive their letters, they often take them home and put them in a special place. When it is letter writing day at their project, often they may forget to bring your letter back and may not have any references to your letter’s content. Sometimes the staff will write a list of suggestions or letter samples on the board to help the children in their letter writing. This is one reason letters can sound scripted or unoriginal; out of a deep desire to communicate with their sponsors, children will copy the samples or follow the list word for word. If you have specific questions for your child, we suggest that you keep them brief, simple, and number and highlight each question. This will call the staff’s attention to your questions. I would encourage you to try this and see if it is helpful! :)
Secondly, I do see that the gifts you have given were on August 11th 2017, and they do actually have a full six months to get a picture taken and send you a thank you note for these very generous gifts. This means that is you do not hear anything by February 11th 2018, we would be more than happy to send in an inquiry to make sure one is on its way. The only other gift that you guys had given over $60 was for Christmas last year and I do see that your donation was given to our Christmas fund, and not directly to Sela. This means that your gift was given in honor of Sela, but split between all the kiddos in the program. All Christmas donations are combined and then divided evenly among every child in our program. We typically suggest that sponsors give an amount of $25 per child, if they are able. With this fund, we purchase a meaningful gift specifically for each child and help purchase gifts for children who are not yet sponsored or whose sponsors are not able to give. We do this because we want every child to receive a gift and to be included in a special Christmas celebration at their church-based center. I am so sorry if we were not clear about this last year when you had made this donation, that a picture would not be provided for the Christmas gift. 
David, please know that we truly appreciate our sponsors and all that you do for our sweet kiddos. I pray that you will try my suggestions and that this is able to enhance your relationship with Sela. If we can help in any other way, please let us know! 
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Susan, Sponsor and Donor Relations, Social Media

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Scott, 

I am so sorry to hear that you are questioning the authenticity of our program and considering cancelling as a result. I can hear the disappointment and frustration in your post and I can certainly help you with whatever you decide to do on your account.  It is the staff's job to make sure that the child is responding to the sponsor's letters and answering any questions that the sponsor has asked. I can see that you have sent several letters asking numbered questions and that your child has not responded to those questions in his next letters. For this reason, I am sending an inquiry to ask our staff in that area to pay closer attention to these questions and make sure that Gabriel writes about them in his letters to you. I will also request a new letter from him that responds to the questions in your last letter. As a courtesy, I am adjusting your support so that you will be not be responsible for the monthly payments for the next two months while we wait for a response from our field office. I would like to ask you to please allow us a little bit of time to work this out with our field staff. If you still would like to cancel, let me know and I will make Gabriel available for another sponsor. 
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jla

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I am having these same issues and have been noting that I haven’t received pictures. It has been over 6 month and until this month I’ve received generic pictures of the community which have been duplicated in letters making me doubt the validity of compassion as well. I’ve noted this I. My recent contributions and just recently got what I think is a picture of my child but again I’m not sure. Nor was it noted as such. I’m thinking I should contribute closer to home where I can see it benefiting my community.
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Glenda

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Very true about contributing to those in need in the USA. Many here have leaky roofs, slum lords with no heart, Education system taking declines in the inner cities(I have friends who are fed up with the education administration), children with limited resources. Children are our future no matter where they live. I hope that Compassion does seek to improve their policies and procedures with communication with the beautiful children we sponsor. My church donates to both, overseas and locally.
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Susan, Sponsor and Donor Relations, Social Media

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jla, I am so sorry for the confusion and dissatisfaction you are feeling in regards to your sponsorships. We do not have photos of all of the thousands of the Compassion student centers around the world. In cases, where a photo is not available, we pull images from the community overall. I would have been more than happy to send you photos of your children's centers, but we regrettably do not have photos of those areas on file. I noticed the most recent letter you received did have a photo on it. This photo is on the stationary that we use with all children in Rwanda. It is generic and not necessarily of your sponsored child. However, if a photo comes at the end of a letter or in a photo update, it will be of your sponsored child specifically. We process full child updates every two years. We are doing our best to communicate quality information more regularly with our supporters. We appreciate your feedback in this regard and will continue to work hard to improve our program. 

All that said, it sounds like you are feeling a pull towards supporting your own community. There are great needs all over the world and we encourage people to give and help wherever they feel led. I noticed that you had asked elsewhere to cancel so I went ahead and just closed out your account. Thank you so much for everything that you have done for these precious two children over the last year and a half! Blessings to you in this New Year! 
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jla

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Blessings to you as well. I am a little surproised as I had only asked to cancel one of my two girls but will look for local opportunities elsewhere. Thank you for continuing the work you do!
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A. May

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Christina, I really don't need a picture. In my mind I always pictured a leaky roof being fixed. Thanks.
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Glenda

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I have received one introductory letter from my little lady Finane in Ethiopia. That was in October. I have sent monetary Birthday gift along with four short letters. I would like to see her with the gift and more letters. Thank you, Glenda
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Sarah Heacock Schreffler

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I so understand, Glenda. It is HARD to slow down to the pace of Compassion and wait for those responses.  I have had to change my mindset that it is about them -- the children I sponsor. I am sending encouraging notes to them and praying for them that they prosper.  Not to get something in return. Yes, I want to hear from them and love on the little pictures they send, rejoicing in their victories. But I am not going to hear back before I write my own next letter, so this is not going to be a give and take correspondence so much as a giving to overflowing correspondence and I search for things to take pictures of and send to enrich their lives.  Everyone likes to know they are remembered and prayed for.
(Edited)
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Teresa Dawn

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You will I'm sure.  Kids have a letter day every 60 days and will write if they have received a letter from you in that time.  Sometimes when you first start a sponsorship it's slow as they don't get their first letter from you for a bit (they have to go to translation, then be delievered (sometimes this involves a long process if your child lives in the middle of nowhere without roads etc but is quicker if your child is in a city), and then it will be given to your child on their next letter day (which is once a month for most projects.)  And then there's the return trip for their letter to you too.  However, if you continue writing as often as you have been, you'll find that the delay gets shorter and you'll start getting a letter every couple of months and be able to build that relationship with them :) I'll pray you get a letter very soon from your child!  And also, like Kristen mentioned, some kids, depending on how long ago they were registered, have previous photos on file that staff will email you if you ask for them :)
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Glenda

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Great thank you!! This gives me hope and to continue writing her and praying.
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Bre Boswell

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I’ve been sponsoring since June 2016 and I have reciepts 7 letters from my child (she was 7 when we started and now 8). With the new software updates it has taken a bit longer 1-1.5 months for translation but sometimes i get a letter from her 3 weeks after she wrote it! Just me patient like others have said! It is worth it. I too had to wait 6+ months for a gift thank you and picture. Compassion reached out and I should have it soon. Remember the kids sometimes go on break (mine was away for easter), so they miss letter writing day. A lot are younger so you’ll just need patience and to keep encouraging them!
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Bre Boswell

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I’ve been sponsoring since June 2016 and I have reciepts 7 letters from my child (she was 7 when we started and now 8). With the new software updates it has taken a bit longer 1-1.5 months for translation but sometimes i get a letter from her 3 weeks after she wrote it! Just me patient like others have said! It is worth it. I too had to wait 6+ months for a gift thank you and picture. Compassion reached out and I should have it soon. Remember the kids sometimes go on break (mine was away for easter), so they miss letter writing day. A lot are younger so you’ll just need patience and to keep encouraging them!

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