New Letter Guidelines

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  • Announcement
  • Updated 3 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

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Posted 4 years ago

  • 11
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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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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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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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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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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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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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