If we cannot commit to a full-year sponsorship, should our gift be a one time donation?

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Each year at VBS, our children's ministry collects an offering from the participating children as our mission project. Last year $150 was given, so I'm not sure that we will even raise a full year's support for a child. Would it be better to give a one time gift if we are unable to commit to a full year's support? I think it would encourage the VBS kids in their giving if we had a specific child's picture to share, making their gift more tangible for them to understand. We set goals to meet each year (again, giving them a visual of how their giving can make an impact). I was planning on reporting our givings as number of months of sponsorship given. But I am wondering about the impact of providing support for a specific child only to leave them without a sponsor in just a few months. If that has a negative impact on the Compassion child, then I'd rather just give  one-time donation or perhaps look into the clean water supply options as incremental giving goals. I hope that makes sense! Just wondering what would be our best plan of action if our total amount given is between $100-$200.

Thanks!
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Bethany Blair

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Posted 5 years ago

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Jennifer

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That's great that you are encouraging the children in this direction!  I'm a sponsor, but I'm sure a Compassion rep will answer you shortly.  Compassion aims to build one-on-one relationships between sponsors and children, so I think your thinking is correct that it wouldn't be the ideal approach.  However, our women's group opted for Compassion's "Water for Life" project, which fits nicely in your donation range.  A donation of $79 will buy a water filter for a family that will last for 1,000,000 gallons -- enough for them and others for life!  While you don't get information about the specific family served, I'm sure Compassion could provide you with one of their stories about a child impacted by it that your children could relate to.  You could even have some sort of display, donating for glasses of water during VBS!  Pretty cool that your group can potentially transform the lives of two families!

(Here's one testimonial, but there are probably some that are more child-accessible!)  http://www.compassion.com/sponsor-e-news/thank-you-letter.htm
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Andrea Watt

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The child development program through compassion is a one-to-one sponsorship where they want you to write letters and develop an ongoing relationship to support an individual child with love and prayer as they grow up. They don't "require" you to sign up for a length of time but the idea is to develop a bond with a child. Others could tell you better but I know that the children who do have sponsors that write letters are always very happy to receive them, and that children whose sponsors don't write always wonder why.

Maybe instead you could donate to the child survival program? I think you still get information about some of the mothers and small children you help but it is a combination support with others. However this way you wouldn't be sponsoring for a few months and the then child looses their sponsor, you would be donating to a particular center. 

Or you could call Compassion about giving a gift to a particular child development project, instead or sponsoring a child the gift would help all the children at the project.

Another possibility: if there is someone you know who does sponsor an individual child and regularly writes them maybe your VBS group could send a one time child or family gift to purchase something for that child with the idea that the sponsor would bring their thank you letter for the children to see when they get it back (usually a few months like a regular letter response). Or if you went with the idea of gifting the money to a project maybe you could pick a project of the child someone in your church sponsors. That child could be the "face" of the project for the VBS kids.
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Susan

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Hi Bethany! Andrea and Jennifer have put it so well and given such great advice that I am just going to jump in and mostly validate what they have already said. The Compassion program is a one-to-one supporter and child relationship. Having a consistent supportive relationship is very transformative in the life of a child in poverty. That is the ideal that we are shooting for, but we understand that sometimes things come up and supporters aren't able to continue. If you know from the outset that you will not be able to continue for very long, we recommend doing a general donation that is not directly connected to a child. However, that's not to say that there are not options to help bring the donation to life for the children. I have seen some excellent VBS programs that incorporated the Water for Life program that Jennifer mentioned and has links to. This would be a great option because each filter is just $79. You could also introduce the offering as part of a Mt. Kilamonjaro theme (I'm not sure if you have chosen a theme yet) loosely based on the Compassion trek up the mountain to raise funds for clean water. The Water of Life filter demo kit also helps bring the need for clean water to life. Just let me know if you need one, and I would be happy to order one for you for free. :)
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Bethany Blair

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Thank you for the info! I think the Water for Life will be the best option for us. The videos on your site will be great for us to use. If we could recieve the demo kit in time for our VBS, that would be so great! I'm not sure if it's a rush, though - our VBS begins Monday, July 20th. What info do you need from me to place the order (if there's enough time for us to receive it)?
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Bethany Blair

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Actually, I found the site to order the demo kit on the Compassion website. Thanks for directing me to that. I think that will provide a great, memorable visual for our kids to see the impact their giving can have. Thank you!!
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Teresa Dawn

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I would suggest a general donation, but if you really feel that having a photo of a child could encourage in the giving, there could be a couple options...
Maybe 1) Donate to the unsponsored child fund which supports the kids who don't have sponsors yet... then show them a photo of a few unsponsored kids from the website so they know who is benefitting,  or 2) if you don't mind a much older 'child', ask Compassion for a young man/lady that is graduating in the next 6 months or so :)  If you did this, you could have the VBS kids shower him/her with letters before they leave the program. 
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Denise Bailey

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Bethany, if you were willing to write to a child and send them little paper items, like book marks, booklets, post cards, stickers etc. you could ask for a correspondent child and send the $150 as a family gift and then you will receive a picture of that child with what they buy for the family and you could keep up the correspondence and next year send another gift to the same child.  Sometimes financial sponsors drop the child but it is not common in my experience with correspondent children.  You have to write to the child at least 3X per year, preferably more often.  Just one more idea for you.  There is a Facebook group for Correspondent Sponsors and you could email Susan (above) at:  socialmedia@compassion.com  to request she add you to that group for ideas of what to write and send.

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