New Letter Guidelines

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  • Updated 2 years ago
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Hi All!

I have an exciting announcement to make! I know this has already been re-posted by other sponsors from the pre-announcement that was made on our Facebook group for correspondent sponsors. I wanted to post this in a prominent place on this site so that everyone is aware. This information will also be posted on Compassion's main website www.compassion.com

As you may know, in order to best serve the children in our program, we regularly conduct research to identify where improvements can be made. Recent research showed that the greatest frustration among sponsors and their sponsored children was the length of time it takes to receive letters. And, in a similar study of children, Compassion found that parents placed a preference on their children receiving letters over gifts. They said letters conveyed the love of the sponsor in ways that gifts could not. 

This was a wake-up call that we needed to speed up the letter-writing process in order to deepen the your relationship with your sponsored child. Our goal is for all sponsors and children to be able to send and receive letters quicker. 

Beginning April 11, 2016, all original letters between sponsors and children will be digitally scanned, translated and emailed. Children will receive high quality prints of your letters. You will receive letters by email and, if you choose, a scanned printout by postal mail. Letters will also be stored in your MyAccount. 

This increases the letter delivery process by up to 50 percent, allows Compassion to increase the number of sponsors without slowing down our letter delivery, and will cost less money to implement—saving ministry funds and using them more effectively.

In the new letter-writing process, Compassion will deliver extremely high quality scans of your letters directly to your child’s country office. New printers installed in each
field office print your letter, which will be forwarded to your child’s center for delivery. Compassion has implemented printing and paper standards in each of our offices, and monitors these processes for quality. 

In order to facilitate the digital letter delivery process, Compassion has made the following changes to our letter writing policy:

  • All of your correspondence should include a personal letter to your child. Enclosures received without a personal letter cannot be sent along to your sponsored child.
  • Your letter and any enclosures should be completely flat and made of paper. 
  • Letters and small paper gift items should be no larger than 8.5” x 11."
  • Total number of items (including stationery) should not exceed six sheets of paper, including your letter to your child. 
  • If we are unable to send an item or if the items are in excess of six sheets, we will make every effort to notify you via email. These ineligible items will be donated or discarded at the discretion of Compassion's child correspondence staff. 


Compassion provides translation for the letter you send to your sponsored child up to the maximum of six sheets per letter. The “six sheets” rule is replacing the 1/4” thick rule that has been our standard in the past. Please note, only the following items will be physically delivered to your child, up to a maximum of six sheets. 

  • Stickers (flat, not puffy or foam)
  • Bookmarks
  • Musical greeting cards
Some flat paper items enclosed with your letter will be scanned and sent electronically with your letter. The following scan-friendly items will be scanned first, digitally sent to your child’s country office for printing, and then delivered to your child:

  • Letters
  • Photos
  • Postcards
  • Greeting cards
  • Coloring pages
  • Paper crafts
Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns. We believe that the majority of our supporters will be very pleased with these changes but it is still a transition. We are here to walk through these changes with you.
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Susan, Sponsor and Donor Relations, Social Media

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Posted 3 years ago

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Angelee

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So, we cannot send our 1/4 in packages any more?
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Jenn Leasher-Lucas

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So if I'm mailing stickers (I put their cute little pictures on sticker paper) could I also send these pages I made back in March?
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C Sanders

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I applaud Compassion for taking a risk & trying to advance this process, even though I'm not sure they've nailed the best approach quite yet. I find I'm writing far less often, too -- I think that's just part of the fallout of a different approach. (And I just got a form email this week saying that the last packages I did send my kids at the beginning of April - just before the deadline - didn't go through:// So disappointing!)
This seems to be a blended step on Compassion's part -- to serve the kids, speed up the contact frequency & save money on shipping. They know far more of the impact of those elements on the kids than we possibly can & I love what they've done in their history to facilitate compelling personal relationships with people all over the world. I hope that focus will continue as they sort through the gaps & complexities of this process. I know for my part, it's an amazing feeling to go to my mailbox & get a handwritten letter from a friend. A scan may help the system go more smoothly (& printing the online letters directly in country totally makes sense!!), but scanning & printing handwritten items is just by it's nature less personal. An email from a friend is wonderful, and so is the hand written card I just received from one of my mother's best friends - but a printout of a scan of the handwritten card wouldn't have communicated the same thing. I've wondered if they've considered maybe a slower process for snail mail & a faster approach for letters sponsors write online or scan in themselves. I wish it were possible to streamline all electronic correspondence & allow small packages to go through together (I.e. Letters & stickers) instead of separately. Wherever this process lands, I hope it will ultimately speak love & value to both the kids, their sponsors & their families. Grateful for all Compassion does to try to serve these kids in the best ways possible!
Connie
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Adam

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Hi Rodney! I'm sorry that you're disappointed with the changes in being able to send more of a variety of small gifts to your kiddo. I used to send a lot of paper gifts too, but I think that one of the reasons that Compassion might have decided to limit the items we were able to send was to help streamline the letter processing so that they would be able to process a higher volume of letters as more and more children enter into the program. But, I just want to encourage you that your letters mean so much to your sponsored child and help to bring hope and joy into their world. Your words of encouragement have such a profound impact on your sponsored child's life, and like Heather mentioned I think the new system will really be awesome once all the kinks get worked out with the new system and we are able to correspond back and forth with our sponsored kids in just weeks instead of months! Also, we can still send monetary gifts to our kids for things like toys or clothing or other needs they may have and the great thing about these gifts is that they help to stimulate the child's local economy as well!

Jen, it's so awesome that you write to over twenty kids! You rock! Thanks for being such an awesome sponsor!

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Sally

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Jenn, the stickers would be mailed, but I am pretty certain the paper craft would be scanned.

 C Sanders, quite a few people got that email about packages and the social media team said not to worry, that it appears to be a miscommunication. I image someone from Compassion will reply Tuesday when they are back in the office. Here is what one of the Social Media gals posted:
"Hey everyone! It's very possible that this was actually a human error, and though I am still checking on it, please don't be too worried about this over the weekend." and  "All of the items you sent that were postmarked before the change occured (April 11) were procesessed according to the old guidelines. As I am updated on this, I will let you know!"
(Edited)
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Sarah, Sponsor and Donor Relations, Social Media

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Jenn, those pages you mention above would be scanned and sent to the children that way, but the stickers will still physically be mailed to them. C Sanders, like Sally mentioned, the letters that were sent previous to the change in guidelines were indeed sent through the physical mail. Part of the reason we are also making changes to the letter system is so that we can open the Compassion benefits to even more children worldwide. The money we will be able to save with this new system is making that a possibility :)!
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Teresa Dawn

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Thanks for posting this here too Susan!!!  I am super excited for the change!!!!  18 more days!
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Jennifer

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Teresa have you heard if there is a similar cutoff date in Canada? I just have a few items to unload.
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Teresa Dawn

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I believe it is a global date as I know the changes are affecting Canada too, and in fact Canada seems a bit ahead as I'm already getting digital letters, but no I have not had any official news saying that April 11th is the cut-off date for them too as far as mailing stuff.  I did go ahead and quickly send my stuff to the Canadian office too, just in case.
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Teresa Dawn

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It should maybe also be noted that the following items:
  • Stickers (flat, not puffy or foam)
  • Bookmarks
  • Musical greeting cards

    Will not be translated.  So it is best to send them with pictures only, send to English speaking kids, or send them already written in your child's language. :)  (Just a heads up)
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Anna Birschbach

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So those three things are the only things that are not paper that can be sent? So no like journals less than 1/4" thick or something? And also, do we still need to put our sponsored child number and our sponsor number on everything?
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Teresa Dawn

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@Anna, no the journals will no longer go through.  The stickers and bookmarks and stuff still need to be paper (laminate on the bookmarks is okay, but no velvet/puffy stickers metal bookmarks etc). 
Yes, you should still put your sponsor number etc on the items you sent :) Hope that helps. 
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Anna Birschbach

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Okay thanks! :)
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Douglas Root

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I am getting ready to send birthday and Christmas cards to my kids and just want to verify.  I would normally send a special store card (like the Compassion cards at Family Christian Stores) to my children along with a few photographs that I printed of me and my family.  But, with the new guidelines, the cards and the photographs will be scanned and printed in-country in color on paper and given to my kids.  Then the originals will be thrown-away.  Is that correct?  But, if I send a musical card it will still be mailed to my child, is that correct?  What if the card is a pop-up type of card, that when you open it something opens?  What will happen to cards that are not just flat pages?

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Susan, Sponsor and Donor Relations, Social Media

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Douglas, we are able to send pop-up cards and they will be mailed to the children along with the musical cards, bookmarks, and stickers. I am so sorry for the disappointment with these new guidelines. One thing I would recommend doing that has worked well is making full page collages with captions for your children and then attaching the full page as an attachment to an online letter. 
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Deb Blickenstaff

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Thanks for posting Susan.  Will you be changing the Q&A section of the letter writing section on the web cite to reflect these changes.  I look forward to getting the letters from the children sooner!:)

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Anna Birschbach

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Okay I will do that. Thank you. One more question. I just started sponsoring a child. How long does it usually take for a sponsorship package to come in the mail?
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Sarah, Sponsor and Donor Relations, Social Media

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Once your first donation is processed, it usually takes between two and three weeks for you to get the child's welcome packet in the mail. I looked for an account under your name and email, but was unable to find one. Did you sign up at an event recently?
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Anna Birschbach

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I am actually under a different name on Compassion.com. Try Pat instead of Anna. Same last name. And I would tell you the email but then everyone on here would see it and I don't want to share it.
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Sarah, Sponsor and Donor Relations, Social Media

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Found you :). Looks like Luis's sponsorship was officially processed on March 29, so it will still be about two weeks before you can expect his packet to arrive in your mailbox.
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Anna Birschbach

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Okay. Thanks! I can't wait to meet him! :)
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C Sanders

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Thanks for the update, Susan. Wow, that's a big change!

I'm a little disappointed that the ideas I've been gathering from Compassion's Pinterest boards since we sponsored our kids won't be usable now & that a good portion of the paper items I bought for my kids (that fell within the 1/4" rule) will need to go to someone else, but I do love that Compassion is keeping the primary focus on letter-writing!

These relationships with our kids are precious. I really am sorry to lose the gift of getting to send them hand-made cards, sweet surprises, etc, but I understand this will probably save Compassion money out of our sponsorship dollars to do away with the bulk of the shipping charges & I love the thought of the whole process being streamlined. :)

A couple of questions:
1. I didn't notice anything in the post about how long sending & receiving letters will take with the new system. Can you update us on that, too? A faster turn-around time would be great news!
2. Can you please post a picture of what a scanned card or "paper craft" will look like? :)
3. Will we be able to scan & email our own things in to Compassion now also? That would make this feel like way more of a win on the sponsor side of things! :))
4. If stickers are sent through the mail, will they be delivered at the same time as the scanned letters? (I picked out Mickey Mouse stickers for my kids to go along with a letter telling them about my Dad who was named Mickey after him. Will they still get delivered in the same package as my letter?:))

Thanks for your help! Cheering you guys on as you make the best decisions possible for the kids!
(Edited)
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Debbie Skacel Tovar

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The ladies who answer on here are the social media specialists with Compassion, and the will read your concerns.  They are our go-between for the sponsors and Compassion, and pass on our concerns on things.  As far as you getting the actual letter, if you go on your online account, on the right, there is a place where you specify if you want the copies mailed to you, and if you want the actual letter mailed to you (but they do add on a few months for you to get that).
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RonandAmy Rippo

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Thank you! I just updated my preference to receive the original as well as the email, so I can pray for those concerns quicker, but still get their little hand colored drawings.
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Adam

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I just did the same thing! Thanks for the reminder about this option Teresa!
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Emily

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Ron, Amy, and Elaine, I'm so sorry for the disappointment in our new letter system. We understand that there are more issues happening than we had anticipated and we deeply apologize for this. With any new system upgrade, there are bound to be glitches that arise but please know that we have teams working hard to fix these problems. We're also checking for quality of the letters going through the new system to ensure they're being translated correctly, not missing any fields, and scanned right. So this is part of our system not being up to the speed we want it at yet but we feel that this step is important. We are still within the 2-3 month time frame for letters to be delivered both ways but we're excited for when we're fully through this transition and letters begin traveling as quickly as we created this new system to move them. Some letters are already going through the system very quickly as Teresa mentioned, and we're thrilled about this! 

I'm sorry that you received letters that were shrunk and didn't seem high quality. I want to encourage you that this is not the norm for the new system. The reason you saw this was because our new system requires a QR code to be put on each letter for processing. Our projects wanted to steward well the resources they had for the old system and thus were using up old stationary still when the new system was deployed. Our old stationary has to be shrunk to fit the QR code and so the letters did not stretch on the entire page. Rest assured that our new stationary is beautiful and is high quality and fits the page. Also be encouraged that this was only happening for letters to our sponsors and not letters to the children. The letters your children are receiving are lovely and so special, they love them :). You should begin to receive this new stationary for future letters. 

In regards to the blank pages and your online account showing there should be 4 pages but only seeing 2, this is because the other 2 are the scanned back pages and are blank in most cases. If you see that a letter should have more pages than is currently showing, please disregard the extra pages it says you should have as there's nothing on them. If there is, it will show on your My Account. We are aware of the current issue where some letters however, are not viewable at all for sponsors or are missing certain pages that do have writing or drawings on them. Please email us at socialmedia@compassion.com with your child ID number if this happens to you and we can email you the letter.

Again, I'm sorry that this transition has been rough but I pray you see the positive impacts it has on the relationships with your children once the waters settle and smooth over and our system is running as intended. We appreciate your grace and patience. 
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Peter G Oliver

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All though this blog was written 4 months ago I have only just seen it now It's important that the children know that you love them .One way is to see that the letters there a.s.p.and also to be patient in waiting for a reply . For many years I was a children's leader at a Christian youth camp mistakes will be made but kids know if you really care about them. I believe new system 3wks online 4wks by paper is the right approach kids must be allowed to write IN THEIR OWN TIME.Peter.
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Tammy

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Thanks for the great info!  I have a couple packages ready to send (according to the old guidelines).  I was going to send them at the beginning of April, but maybe I will need to send them sooner so they are processed the "old way".  :)  Will all packages received before April 11 be processed as previously?

Thank you!
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Teresa Dawn

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I'm not staff but Compassion is closed for the long weekend, so not sure that they will answer for a few days and I do know the answer to that is "Yes"!  But you'll want to mail it out quickly to make sure it gets there before that!
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Bethany Schmitt

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I would getting them there before the deadline. When it changes its a done deal no grace period.
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Jamie Riemersma

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Susan, does this mean that magazines can't be sent?  I just got a subscription to National Geographic Kids and Little Kids magazines for two of my kids.  I'm thinking the NG Kids probably doesn't fit the guidelines anymore, but the Little Kids is actually only 6 pages, and each page looks to be within the size guidelines, so I'm hoping that I can still send that one through?
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Teresa Dawn

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Sadly no, they won't go through as is.  But they will if you remove articles from them and send them a bit at a time.  The Little Kids one is unfortunately one page too many because it has to be "5 sheets of attachments" at the most due to the fact that the 6th sheet has to be a personal letter.  (You can write a 6 page letter (or even 12 pages if you print back and front as that is 6 paper sheets), but 5 attachment sheets plus the letter is the rule now to get to the 6 sheets.  Attachments that are not accompanied by a letter will not be sent now.
(I'm not Susan but they are closed for the long weekend so I am unsure if you'll get a response for a few days and I've read the answer to this from the Compassion staff on facebook)
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Jamie Riemersma

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Thanks Teresa.  That actually gives me a bit of hope.  I don't think it will be so bad removing the articles and sending them that way.  The kids can still get them, even if it is a little more work for me, and the subscriptions won't be wasted as I feared they would be.
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Teresa Dawn

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You're welcome :) I should have added, they will be scanned and then printed for the kids so they get their faster but I've seen photos of what the kids get and they are using VERy high-quality scans on really good semi-gloss paper, They are BEAUTIFUL, even photographs come out amazing... I don't believe a magazine would lose anything by being scanned and the kids will receive them quickly :D
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Mr. & Mrs.Hughes

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Cut the smaller magazine apart at the binding write a note on the back of the front cover or the back cover whichever has the most empty space, and presto! A six pages mailing with personal note. Scan articles from NG, eliminating ads,(actually w/o ads NG isn't much anymore) write a note in place of ads, send six pages at a time. There you go!compliance with the new rules.
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Teresa Dawn

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Also, if anyone is interested in knowing, I've already received a couple of the scanned letters FROM the kids because in Canada they have that up slightly sooner.  It arrived as a .pdf (which USA has said most likely theirs will be .pdf's too) and was wonderful quality!)
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Beth Hays

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I'm super frustrated!! I have several TUBS of things (chapter books, paper airplanes, etc) that I have collected for years for my 30 sponsored and correspondent kids. Now I will have to send chapter books 5 pages at a time?!?

I do appreciate timeliness. But that doesn't feel like a trade off for quality and connection. I am sad. Very sad. I wish we could have either option-either the scanned letters or the 1/4 thick rule for paper goods
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Susan, Sponsor and Donor Relations, Social Media

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Debbie, you are welcome to let people know if you want. I realize that not everyone reads both group's content. I honestly had not planned to officially tell people to hold off, but we would greatly appreciate people in both groups being more considerate with the amount that they are sending. Thank you, Debbie, for your kindness and willingness to work with us through this transition!  
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Debbie Skacel Tovar

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Nope, that's ok :)  Things are ugly enough there right now (and getting the same way here).  Was just mentioning to someone else that I spend time in two other Christian groups on fb, and they are so kind and uplifting.  Kind of NOT like the Compassion groups right now......hope things settle down one of these days :)
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Teresa Dawn

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If it helps, you won`t get a package from me haha.  I mainly send online to my USA account kids due to the cost of international postage.  My Canadian sponsored kids each got a greeting card in all this and some got some booklets, but I sent those a month or so ago now :)
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Jenn Leasher-Lucas

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I was a little disappointed but I'm ok now. I was just wondering when people were told, thought maybe I had missed it. I would have if I didn't have these messages coming to me. Thank you and please know I'm not bashing, I'm looking forward to the new system and building stronger (and faster) bonds with my kiddos!
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Sharon

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Debbie, I don't see what's so bad about the other Facebook group.... the non-official one....
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hawkeye

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I'm curious if we get digital letters now, what happens to the originals?
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Emily

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Invites were sent to both of your email addresses we have on file, Ali and Beth. Be sure to check your spam and junk folders. 
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Doug & Glenda Dupler

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I would like to be added to facebook too.  Thanks!
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Susan, Sponsor and Donor Relations, Social Media

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Glenda, I just sent you an email invite. 
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Ali

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Could you please try to resend mine? I be checked my junk, and spam and there isn't an invite. Thank you!
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Susan, Sponsor and Donor Relations, Social Media

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Hi Ali! I am so sorry but Facebook will only allow me to send one invite per email address. Please email us at socialmedia@compassion.com and we will try to add you manually. 
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Erik Davison

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I have a new sponsored child. I'm looking forward to writing her, but I want my letter to get there as quickly as possible. Would it be quicker at this point to wait until April 11? 
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Teresa Dawn

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I'm not sure... it'd all be a random timing thing of when it reaches them, and also what country the child is in, some are starting it earlier it seems.  But.. you could write now and again after April 11th!  These kids LOVE getting letters and certainly won't mind more than one! 
If you are writing just one right now though and want to get it in with the new guidelines to make sure it's scanned and goes quick, I'd wait if sending online, but since it's the date Compassion receives it by rather than when you send it, you probably don't have to wait right until the 11th if you are sending snail mail.
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Erik Davison

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I totally would write more than one if it wasn't a new child and an introductory letter (i sent my other child 3 in the last 2 months). I want her to get the first letter first if that makes sense.  I use the online method so I suppose I will wait for April 11! :)
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Teresa Dawn

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One of my recent new kids is going to think I'm crazy.  See, I have a few letters that I send to all my kids when I get them and the intro letter.  And this was around Christmas so I sent a Christmas letter and then my normal monthly letter...well I was writing to the other kids and didn't think about waiting... until one day I was checking my account and realised that since he got the "new kid" letters and intro letter and whatnot... well he's getting 11 letters sent in 3 weeks... oops!  I hope the intro one comes first somehow lol... 
(Edited)
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Bethany Schmitt

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Never wait to write! Send that first letter.
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Sara Hill Loggins

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So the items (coloring pages, postcards, greeting cards, etc.) that will be scanned and not sent directly to the country office, will those items be donated to a local school or shelter or preschool for other children to use or will they be tossed into garbage? 
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Teresa Dawn

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Anything that can be donated will.  I'm thinking things like greeting cards that have personal letters written in them could not because of privacy reasons and the message intended for someone else, but that's just a guess.  I know they said they will donate as much as possible
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Bethany Schmitt

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Anything that can be donated will be. I have seen the scans and as for letters you can't tell the difference between the real and the scan.
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Kristin Gulledge

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Wow, not much warning on this.  I only found out about this via the Acts for Compassion on FaceBook.  I am like Beth Hays except that I only have one tub of gifts and only ten kids I write to.  Is this only for correspondence kids or for all sponsored kids?  Really bummed about the greeting cards.  I went shopping last year and bought three year's worth.  How are they going to scan in a greeting card that is special (a pop up or includes stickers)?  I bought the really cool Hallmark ones.  What about baseball/soccer cards?  No mention about those.  I would buy paper dolls for the girls and sports cards for the boys.  I just wish we had more of a warning.
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Teresa Dawn

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I have 2 years worth for 50 kids :) And also for Christmas cards, but I'll likely donate them elsewhere.  Pop-up cards are no longer going to be allowed to go through at all for that very reason (they can't be scanned).  For stickers I'm thinking they'll detach the stickers and send seperately and then scan the cards.  sports cards and paper dolls will also be scanned.  If you have some you want to mail immediately they'll probably still make it before April 11th and go through as originals (if they don't the kids will still get the scanned versions and the originals will be donated to a charity in the USA.
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William Blair

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I have a friend on Facebook who works in the letters department that I asked how things are going with the new system being put into place and she tells me they are receiving so many boxes of items to mail to sponsor children. It sounds like they are overwhelmed even though she didn't use that word,it sounds like they are. The items will get to the sponsor kids but it may take longer because of the high volume sent now.
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Susan, Sponsor and Donor Relations, Social Media

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Jenn, I am so sorry but Facebook will only allow me to send one invite per email address. Do you have another email that I could send it to? Otherwise, you are welcome to email us at socialmedia@compassion.com and we'll add you manually. 
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Emily

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I'm sending an invitation to your email right now, Jenn :). I would suggest removing this comment if you don't want your email to be public. 
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Jenn Leasher-Lucas

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I dont know how to delete it but I don't really use it.
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Emily

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I removed it manually for you, just in case for your security, Jenn :). 
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Jenn Leasher-Lucas

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Just saw this, thank you Emily!
I'm hoping, like me, people have settled into the new compassion guidelines. I think once I realized i was upset that I wasn't able to send "things" I opened my eyes to what I still had were amazing potential for real relationships and friendships. That trumped having to throw away finished letters with attachments and donating items to our church kids (which were a hit).
I am looking forward to seeing a letter from my child in the new fashion!
Special thanks to Teresa Dawn for her fast responses and helpful insight!
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Debi

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Quick question... Will the online letters start being sent overseas by electronic delivery (i.e., more quickly than before) on April 11, or is that already in place?
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Sarah, Sponsor and Donor Relations, Social Media

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Debi, the go-live date for the whole system is April 11.
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Beth Hays

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I cried when I read this morning that the letters and goodies I sent out this week may not make it to them. Chapters of books, homemade paper crafts, laminated paper dolls, etc. for 30 kids.

I'm feeling very betrayed by Compassion. We needed at more time for this transition as sponsors. And now my kids will be the ones that don't get the things I spent hours making. The things I sent because I was told they would be sent over. The communication (lack of) and ridiculous timeline for all involved have disheartened me and in the future I may consider other organizations. I have trusted compassion and sponsored with them for 12 years. Maybe I shouldn't feel entitled. I'm just a sponsor and advocate and correspondent. But I do feel entitled. That I should have been warned with a few months notice at least. I'm not nearly as upset with the system as I am the way this was handled. Which is not how o have felt about Conpassion in the past.

I will still keep currently sponsored kids and write my kids. But I am halting further sponsoring or more than online writing with my kids until further notice. I have to see how this rolls out.
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KristenH, Champion

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Beth, you are such a good sponsor and I'm sorry you're feeling this way. (((Hugs))))
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Sheri Odea

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I feel kind of the same way. Was writing and sending things this weekend and I am so glad I looked for any new changes before I did. Just and e-mail to tell everyone of the changes would have been nice.
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Karen Straube

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I was kind of disappointed when I first heard of this change, but if the money saved goes towards even more services for the children, then I am all for it. I can still send the coloring pages for the younger kids. I won't be able to use the note cards I have, or the Bible verse cards I make up, but after thinking about it for a few days, I think this will spur a different type of creativity. I'm envisioning 8.5 x 11 stationery and incorporating a Bible verse into the page somehow so that it will all scan nicely. I think I read somewhere that sticker pages (along with a letter) can still be sent, so I might try sending several pages of those at a time, but only a few times a year. That way the children can still have them, but most of my letters can be easily scanned.

I've often wondered how much it costs to send all of these materials... $42K saved every week is a lot! I'm glad to know that the money I send for my kids will be used even more for actual hands-on programs and services at their centers. 
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Sheri Odea

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So the stickers won't get scanned? I thought everything would. How about the coloring pages. The ones that are not colored yet. I have sent a page here and there for my child to color. And I have sent paper dolls. Would they be scanned also? I am so confused.
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Jamie Riemersma

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Sheri, in the top in Susan's post is this bit:

Compassion provides translation for the letter you send to your sponsored child up to the maximum of six sheets per letter. The “six sheets” rule is replacing the 1/4” thick rule that has been our standard in the past. Please note, only the following items will be physically delivered to your child, up to a maximum of six sheets. 

  • Stickers (flat, not puffy or foam)
  • Bookmarks
  • Musical greeting cards
Some flat paper items enclosed with your letter will be scanned and sent electronically with your letter. The following scan-friendly items will be scanned first, digitally sent to your child’s country office for printing, and then delivered to your child:

  • Letters
  • Photos
  • Postcards
  • Greeting cards
  • Coloring pages
  • Paper crafts

So, Stickers, Bookmarks, and musical greeting cards will still be sent through.  Coloring pages and paper dolls will be scanned and sent that way.  If it is paper and will fit through the scanner, they will scan it.
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Timothy Oberg

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So Jamie, I'm trying to understand the missing clarity in the new rules. If we send a Birthday card with a letter, photos, a sticker page and 2 bookmarks, all will be scanned and shredded accept the bookmarks will be physically sent on alone?
If that's the case, wouldn't it be more efficient for me to scan the card and photos and email from the website, and just send the stickers/bookmarks alone in an envelope? It's still not clear how or if items will still be physically sent to our child.
Thanks,
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Emily

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Hi Timothy! Yes, our new guidelines require that a personal letter be sent along with the stickers or bookmark in order for them to be sent through. Your words mean so much and our children have expressed to us how valuable the letters and words from their sponsors are, and not all of our sponsors use the online writing tool option. Although you're welcome and definitely encouraged to send a letter online, if you want to send stickers, please send them along with a letter, and it can just be a short note even :). A greeting card will count as the personal letter though so if you want to send stickers and a greeting card, we will scan the greeting card and send it to your child and the stickers will be mailed. 

I'm sorry it's not clear what items will be physically sent. I'm happy to clarify. The only items that will be physically mailed to your child are bookmarks, musical cards, and stickers. All other paper items are scanned.
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Steve

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The statement was made that, “Parents placed a preference on their children receiving letters over gifts.”  Why?  Is this what the kids would say?

 I would like to believe that my kids are glad to get my letters.  I don’t know!!  I’m more certain they appreciate the little gifts.

The phenomenal savings will allow an increase in the number of sponsors.  Maybe it would ease the sting if we could see how the savings will benefit the current sponsored children.  We’re attempting to make a difference one child at a time.  I feel like they have lost something with this change and I don’t think we should ask them to do without anything else. 

 

(Edited)
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Jenn Leasher-Lucas

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What's the blog? I'll follow !
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Emily James

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I love Teresa's idea of asking the kids why sponsors should write and I may well ask mine the same.  I just got a letter this week that reads:

"Thank you for the letter.  I received it with great joy" ~Predilien, 16, Haiti (he goes on to say he is the only child out of his ten siblings to stay in school past 6th grade and that he will continue thanks to my encouragement)

My 14 year old in El Salvador has also told me she is proud to be the girl who gets the most letters in her project, one of the largest in ES with over 400 kids.

Although my kids may mention thanks for the stickers and other little extras in their letters, it's the letters themselves they seem to appreciate.  I figure it's likely the same as for us sponsors.  The extra pictures and drawings and occasional crafty things are cute and wonderful additions, but it's the letters from our kids that we truly cherish as we build relationships with them.
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Emily James

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I love Teresa's idea of asking the kids why sponsors should write and I may well ask mine the same.  I just got a letter this week that reads:

"Thank you for the letter.  I received it with great joy" ~Predilien, 16, Haiti (he goes on to say he is the only child out of his ten siblings to stay in school past 6th grade and that he will continue thanks to my encouragement)

My 14 year old in El Salvador has also told me she is proud to be the girl who gets the most letters in her project, one of the largest in ES with over 400 kids.

Although my kids may mention thanks for the stickers and other little extras in their letters, it's the letters themselves they seem to appreciate.  I figure it's likely the same as for us sponsors.  The extra pictures and drawings and occasional crafty things are cute and wonderful additions, but it's the letters from our kids that we truly cherish as we build relationships with them.
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Steve

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Teresa, I found your blog and I loved reading what the kids write back.  Such pure hearts they have!  Since my girls are so young I've asked only basic questions and their letters are primarily form letters.  Although I write once a month, you've inspired me to step it up a bit.  On the positive side, it will be easier to send letters without trying to figure out what little gift to send with each one.
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Teresa Dawn

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@Jenn, it's http://connectedinwriting.blogspot.ca/  and thanks! :)

Thanks Steve as well.  My youngest kid is turning 6 in May :) He's the baby of my sponsor family by two years!  Most my kids are in their teens, but I ask my little one the same questions as he has help with his letters anyways :)

@Emily, thanks!  These are the full set of questions I asked the kids:

1)         How does Compassion help you?

2)         Why is it important for children to have sponsors?

3)         What do you like hearing about in letters the most?

4)         Is there anything else you would like someone who is thinking about sponsoring a child to know?

5)         Is there anything else you would like someone to know about why they should write letters to their sponsored child?

  So feel free to send the same to your kids too if you want!  I had really terrific replies for all the questions!!!
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Adam

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I'm very excited about this change! :) I'm surprised that more sponsors aren't voicing that same sentiment as I've seen many complaints and canceled sponsorships over the length of time it takes to send and receive letters.

In regards to the feelings of disappointment that many have expressed, I can imagine that the mail room staff has been pushed to the limits trying to handle their normal work load as well as set things up for this new system. Compassion was very kind to give us any advanced notice at all of this change, knowing that they would see an increase in mail, even as they are still getting ready for this new system. I'm sure they could not have anticipated receiving huge amounts of items from everyone who heard about it, and I can only image how difficult that must be for them. I have some paper items to send as well but I will not send any of them after hearing about what appears to be a frenzy of many sponsors sending off massive amounts of items to try to beat the deadline. There are needy children in my own community that would love to have those things.

At the end of the day, paper crafts and coloring books are not what is changing the lives of these children. The power of Jesus in their lives through the hearing of the Gospel, the support they get from Compassion's programs and the encouraging words they receive from loving, reasonable adults is what's changing the lives of these children. Compassion is making this change for us and our sponsored children. Lets be supportive and encouraging, during this difficult time, of all the Compassion staff because the most important thing is that we conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel at all times and that we treat others well, even when things don't go exactly how we think they should or how we would like for them to. :)

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Peter G Oliver

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i totally agree with this comment from this sponsor
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Deb Blickenstaff

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I am very excited about the faster turn around on letters.  I thingwill benefit both the children and the sponsors in building the relationship with the children.  One of my children wrote to me telling me that her fater had passed  away in September.  She wrote the letter in November.  I received the letter late February.  I responded right away.  She will probably receive the letter in May.  So in betwenn her telling me that her father passed away and me responding will probably be about 7 months.  I will be glad when this turn around between prayer request  and questions will be dramatically shortened.
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Karen Straube

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Another thought about stickers... it sounds like we can still send them, but another idea is to use them to decorate paper to make stationery for our letters! I had already started using some flower and sea stickers to decorate the Bible verse cards I made, so I think I'll carry that idea on and make some unique stationery with them :)
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Angelee

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Does that mean the 10%  "Tax" on the monetary gifts to the children will be lifted, since you will be saving so much? 

I still haven't gotten my Christmas photos of their gifts, and one of my children has passed on.  Are they ever coming?
(Edited)
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Susan, Sponsor and Donor Relations, Social Media

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Angelee,

Yes, it is possible that this will allow us to decrease the administrative fee on sending gifts in the future. Thank you for asking!

I am so sorry you still have not received the thank you letters and photos for your generous gifts. Regrettably, since Natacha passed away earlier this month, I cannot guarantee that a thank you letter is coming from her or her staff members. I do not see one on the way. I am so sorry for your loss. :( 

I am sending an inquiry to check on the thank you letter and photo for the gift you had sent to Ashli. Regrettably, it looks like your gift for Darlin was not sent until November so it hasn't quite been six months in her case. 
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Rachel Hoffman

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I understand that this change will mean quicker correspondence for sponsors and a financial savings for the organization. And those are good things. But Compassion has a responsibility to the sponsors to notify us when there is a change in the terms of our agreement. Couldn't we have been sent a notice regarding these changes? We probably received a dozen inserts in our letters regarding Compassion Sunday. Couldn't we have gotten a little insert regarding the changes in what can and can not be mailed now? My husband and I presented a Compassion Sunday at our church on March 20th and now realize that we unknowingly misled new sponsors when we told them they could mail small paper gifts. How is it going to look to new sponsors when their first communication from Compassion in Colorado is "sorry, your child won't receive these gifts because we just changed the rules. "? Yes, I understand that the changes will foster better communication and save money. But this is terrible customer relations.
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Adam

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I think it will be fine, Rachel. :) Everyone will understand. This is good news! It's not bad news. You probably told them at your church that the letters take 2-3 months to travel back and forth. Won't they be excited to hear that the letters will travel so much quicker now? Besides, we can still send paper gifts like coloring pages and stickers; just not quite as much variety of things as before. I'm sorry you're upset. I hope you will feel better. Thank you for doing a Compassion Sunday (high five). It sounds like you're a great sponsor! :)
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Noelle

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This is great!! I didn't know about these changes before today, but am very excited about this.  This will be so helpful for prayer requests (and especially time sensitive prayer requests!) 

I do have one question...I often send my sponsor and correspondence children handmade greeting cards.  I use rhinestones and ribbons to decorate these.  Can I still use embellishments on cards?  Or if I do, will the children only receive a photograph of the card?  I am just curious.  Either way, my sponsorship is not based on cards and embellishments, but spreading the Gospel and Christ's love! :)

Thanks so much for all you do!
(Edited)
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Sarah, Sponsor and Donor Relations, Social Media

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Hi Noelle! Because the greeting cards need to be able to go through our scanners, I highly encourage you not to use too many embellishments like you mentioned on the cards from now on. I'd hate for them to get caught in the scanner and ruined. The children will receive a scanned copy of the greeting cards you send from now on. I'm so glad you are excited for the changes! Prayer requests were one of the things I was most happy about too :)!
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Jenn Leasher-Lucas

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Sarah, I'm sorry to ask another question. I thought it was ok to send stickers, if we send 5 sheets of stickers and a card will it all be mailed or am I totally wrong about all of it? You are probably repeating your self a lot and I apologize if I'm making you do it again
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Susan, Sponsor and Donor Relations, Social Media

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Hi Jenn! Yes, stickers will be physically mailed to the children. You are welcome to sent up to six sheets of stickers at a time. 
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newsponsor

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How often these 6 sheets can be mailed? Once a month? Or no limit?
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Emily

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Newsponsor, there is no limit to how often you can mail letters to your child. Once a month is a great amount though! Then your child has something to look forward to each month :).
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Keeli

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When I first heard about the new guidelines, my mind started racing about how this would affect me and what I could no longer send. Then, it struck me...it's not about me. It's about the children. Embrace change for the greater good of the children. The children and their parents have spoken. While I know my child enjoys and appreciates the extras I've sent, I know my letters and my words are what help him the most. He has told me this several times. 

My sponsored child inspired me to blog. I will be posting creative and fun letter writing ideas that comply with the new guidelines if you need some inspiration to help your transition. Yesterday and today I am posting my 2 favorite, meaningful paper crafts I sent my child if you need inspiration for one last craft within the old guidelines.  perfectlylucky.com 

God has led the heart of CI to make this decision, and I am sure there have been many prayers made, many discussions held, and this decision was not taken lightly.  I ask that you pray for CI's mail room and support staff to have a smooth transition. I am sure they are completely overwhelmed. They have been successfully doing what they do for a very long time - they know what works. I ask that you have faith and trust  in CI's decision. This new process would not be happening if it was not for the sole benefit of our precious children around the world. 

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