These "improvements" to Compassion have been going on for over a year. OVER A YEAR. Why is it all taking so long?

  • 4
  • Problem
  • Updated 3 years ago
  • Solved
Archived and Closed

This conversation is no longer open for comments or replies and is no longer visible to community members. The community moderator provided the following reason for archiving: old posts

These "improvements" to Compassion have been going on for over a year. OVER A YEAR. Why is it all taking so long? It makes no sense whatsoever. Billing issues, numerous types of letter issues, missing matching fund issues, not being able to send money to correspondence children issues...they're all things that should not take this long to sort out for a large organization. How can these possibly be considered improvements? The letter writing was supposed to be faster yet I've been waiting on letters from two of my kids that are "in process" since the beginning of February. And they're in ENGLISH so they don't have to be translated.
Photo of Marci L. Ficht

Marci L. Ficht

  • 74 Posts
  • 36 Reply Likes
  • frustrated and fed up.

Posted 3 years ago

  • 4
Photo of Shannon Massey

Shannon Massey, Employee

  • 1974 Posts
  • 333 Reply Likes
Hi Marci, 
First of all, I want you to know that I completely understand why you are frustrated. To be completely honest, we are all very frustrated as well. We strive to serve our children and our sponsors to the very best of our ability, but in times like this we feel like we are completely unable to do so. With that said, we are are very sorry. There are many reasons that we are behind, but there are two main ones. First of all, Compassion has been working on this major upgrade for many years. We needed to completely design a special program that we could use that would allow us to serve the growing amount of children and sponsors in our program. With that said, because we literally had to build this program from the ground up, we integrated the new system in steps, and like you said we began doing so roughly a year ago. As we began to use the new system, like all things, we discovered some bugs that needed to be worked out. And thus, we have been working on those. Regrettably, because the system was designed for Compassion and is different than all other programs, it takes some time to get these figured out and fixed so that they do not continue to happen. On top of implementing the new system, we are going through a massive loss with India closing. We are currently processing the exit of roughly 145,000 children in India, which is the same amount that we process in an entire year. This in itself has caused some delays and backups in processing. Nonetheless, we are counting on our supporters to be just that, supportive. We know this hard, but it is hard on all of us. We sincerely apologize that things are taking so long. In the long run, we are confident that when all the bugs are worked out we will be able to far exceed any expectation that you have of Compassion. We all look forward to that day! Thank you for sticking with us as we get through this very rough time!
(Edited)
Photo of Marci L. Ficht

Marci L. Ficht

  • 74 Posts
  • 36 Reply Likes
What am I supposed to say? I AM supportive...of my children....I love my kids!!! I have lost my supportive feeling for the organization. I think I'm entitled to be angry over this mess without making me seem like an ingrate. Your sponsors are choosing other programs to start sponsoring children with. I'm not the only one. I will never give up my Gadiel, but I think over a year of being patient is asking a lot. I DO NOT KNOW MY COMPASSION CHILD ANYMORE. Instead of sponsoring another Compassion child, I'm now sponsoring two boys with another organization that seems to have their act actually together. If I am the bad guy for saying this, so be it. But you ARE losing potential sponsors....and current sponsors are looking elsewhere while you keep asking us to be supportive. You do know that in this high tech age, blaming it on the IT department is a bit ridiculous? Maybe at first they could be given the benefit of the doubt because it's a new system they're installing, but for OVER A YEAR?! If they ARE that bad, you might want to consider additional hires who know what they are doing.
(Edited)
Photo of Jennifer

Jennifer

  • 122 Posts
  • 146 Reply Likes
I've had many moments of frustrations myself, but I've also been involved in organizations (industrial) with ground-breaking projects that don't go at all as planned and go over time and over budget... It is really tough on the employees to have to keep fighting at problems with so little accomplishment and know that people are upset and losing confidence.. You have reasons for frustration, but I doubt there is anything you can say that they aren't already acutely aware of. This too shall pass and hopefully confidence will return.
Photo of Jennifer

Jennifer

  • 122 Posts
  • 146 Reply Likes
The words I've written don't seem to reflect what I'm remembering experiencing. But if you've been through one of these 1-1.5 year projects you don't forget!
Photo of Marci L. Ficht

Marci L. Ficht

  • 74 Posts
  • 36 Reply Likes
Thank you, Jennifer...I'm not giving up Gadiel so I hope it does pass...and soon. :)
Photo of Steve

Steve

  • 73 Posts
  • 56 Reply Likes

Marci, first, I completely agree with you about rolling out new software.  I have been responsible for IT projects.  In the case of Compassion, the upgrades were necessary and should have been designed, tested and implemented in a far better manner.  In fact, I will go so far as to say nearly transparent to the users/sponsors. 

 That said, this is a ministry to bring Jesus to the children in poverty.  Your commitment to Gadiel is still what it’s about, as you know.  When April 15th rolled around this year I thought the same things you did.  I have struggled with getting letters and gift acknowledgements (still have issues), but I have had the privilege of meeting three of the kids we sponsor.  If for no other reason than to hear “my” seven-year-old girl praying for ME or to seeing what goes on in Compassion projects all over the world...I will never be the same!  Forgive me for sounding like Peter, but I believe because I have seen.  Don’t give up on Gadiel or Compassion.

 Let me add, that the group of people who handle the social media inquiries are impeccable.  Yes, we have to rely on them more than I think we should have to, but they do a wonder (and difficult) job.  If I had their job, I would hope I’d have the restraint NOT to say, “You think you’re frustrated!?  We’re here to honor God, deliver children from poverty, and assist the sponsors in their ministry.  Explaining why the system needed to be changed and didn’t meet expectations is not how we want to spend every day.”     

 Marci, I’m not criticizing you in any way!!!  You wrote what I was thinking.  But it doesn’t change the fact that you’re making a difference in Gadiel’s life.  I’m betting it’s worth it.

(Edited)
Photo of Steve

Steve

  • 73 Posts
  • 56 Reply Likes
I don't know why this system won't let me edit my post, but it was Thomas, not Peter that needed to see evidence.  "Doubting Peter" just didn't sound right.
Photo of Sarah

Sarah, Official Rep

  • 5177 Posts
  • 1129 Reply Likes
Marci, you absolutely are supportive of your precious kids! I can tell that just by looking at the number of letters you send to each of them :). You've supported Compassion's ministry for quite a few years, and I completely understand how frustrating it has to be for you and other supporters, both new and seasoned, to patiently hang in there through these massive upgrades and changes to Compassion's systems over the last year. It's been incredibly difficult for our staff to go through this as well, and we truthfully struggle to understand why this season of change with both the system and major issues like our issues with the Indian government have had to be so difficult for both staff and sponsors and happening at the same time. Please know that Shannon was not trying to blame the IT department; in fact, we are beyond grateful for the incredible work they come in to do each and every day to fix the issues that we have seen with the system. This has been such a massive upgrade that we have had to do it in phases over the past year. We have literally been going through changes from a system that was built for us in the 90's with 90's technology to one that will serve us for many, many years to come with much better technology, and that is a very difficult thing to accomplish. Though there are many things that need fixed as you mentioned, we are also seeing incredible successes! We could tell you story after story of how God's hand has been on this project day after day, even though it seems like there are so many issues. Many sponsors are receiving their letters faster than ever before, and we have also been able to see children sponsored more quickly and enroll a greater amount of children who are in desperate need of the benefits Compassion's program provides. That being said, it sounds like you've had quite a lot of problems with the letter part of the system specifically. I do see those two letters in February that are still in progress, and I am going to check on what is causing the hold up with them being placed on your account. Your letter preferences are set to receive the original letters from them, which you should receive in the next few months, but I am also going to email the digital copies of the letters you are waiting on so you can at least read them! If there is anything else specifically that you are having trouble with concerning your sponsorships, please do let me know! It sounds like the letters are what have been the biggest issue for you, and I would like to help as much as I can. We do care about serving our sponsors to the best of our ability!
Photo of Marci L. Ficht

Marci L. Ficht

  • 74 Posts
  • 36 Reply Likes
Hallo, Sarah and THANK YOU!!! I got your email and I LOVED the letters!!!!  Thank you for doing that for me.  :)  THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!

I want you to know that I DO appreciate all that Compassion does and I know all this mess has been very difficult for you and the other staff. Which is why I have tried so hard to be patient. I just became frustrated when I realized that I've lost my connection with Gadiel....my boy. We used to be so close. He was finally starting to send me actual letters that weren't copied from the board with canned sentences or repetitive. I was learning about his life and it was wonderful!!!! And then it all came to an abrupt halt with the improvements. My girls normally send letters on a regular timetable, probably because they are just the form letters, easy to fill out, and don't need translated. (Which is why I was concerned over the amount of time it was taking to get the "latest" letters.)

I do have my account settings set to hard copy in addition to the ones in the system...the reason is that when I lost my Arthur (his project was shut down), everything of his was erased from my account. I lost it all....thank goodness I had the hard copies in a folder. So I don't want that to happen with my Gadiel or the girls!!!! I know it takes longer to get the hard copies, so no worries on that....I have the digital copies on the site until I get the hard copies.  But yes, you are correct in saying that my problem is not receiving the letters that keep me close to my children. I will try to be patient. 

Again, thank you for sending me the letters that were stuck in the system. :) What a wonderful way to wake up this morning!!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!
(Edited)
Photo of Marci L. Ficht

Marci L. Ficht

  • 74 Posts
  • 36 Reply Likes
STEVE!!! STEEEEEEEVE!!!!! I hope you see this. I answered you yesterday...I have no idea where my response went?! 

Basically, thank you for your response and I think it's fabulous that you got to see your children!!!!! I wish I could do that but for now, I rely on stories from those that have visited their poppets to make me smile and see the good that we do for the children. You said April 15th...does that mean you just got back? Can we read about your travels anywhere?! And I will never give up on Gadiel...even if we never, ever exchange another letter or photo, I will always sponsor him and will always send him family gifts to help out his single mom and younger brother. I love this family.  

Please let me know if you have a blog or something where you post pictures and stories? :)
Photo of Sarah

Sarah, Official Rep

  • 5177 Posts
  • 1129 Reply Likes
I'm so glad I could get those letters to you! I also discovered one from Gadiel, which I am going to email you as well :)! I completely understand what you mean with your relationship with Gadiel. My girl in Bolivia has always been such a great writer, and this past year has been difficult for us with the changes. It is getting better slowly though, and I am praying that it will for you and Gadiel as well!
Photo of Steve

Steve

  • 73 Posts
  • 56 Reply Likes
Thank you for your interest in "my" kids. No, I don't have a blog. I thought about creating one, but I feel like a proud grandfather always showing off pictures of his grandkids. I'm also not sure about privacy concerns. I would love to post pictures of my oldest girls in their new rooms. If it works, here's a link to pics from our visit this month in Peru.
https://www.facebook.com/steven.j.ben...
Photo of Steve

Steve

  • 73 Posts
  • 56 Reply Likes
Thank you for your interest in "my" kids. No, I don't have a blog. I thought about creating one, but I feel like a proud grandfather always showing off pictures of his grandkids. I'm also not sure about privacy concerns. I would love to post pictures of my oldest girls in their new rooms. If it works, here's a link to pics from our visit this month in Peru.
https://www.facebook.com/steven.j.ben...
Photo of Marci L. Ficht

Marci L. Ficht

  • 74 Posts
  • 36 Reply Likes
Sarah - GADIEL'S LETTER WAS EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED!!!!! THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART!!!!! Oh how I miss that kid. :)  I pray that your own correspondence gets better, too. If you read the message below from Mr. & Mrs.Hughes, we might get lucky and get letters as quickly as a few weeks in the future!!!!!! 
Photo of Mr. &  Mrs.Hughes

Mr. & Mrs.Hughes

  • 43 Posts
  • 27 Reply Likes
I for one am getting really excited about the new system. I started sponsoring as a teenager, perhaps fourteen years old. That was to many years ago to think about.it was in the early seventys. The changes that the new system has made already are huge. Just the fact that there is this site to go to and get help is a big difference. The letter turnaround time has been cut from six to eight months to three months just three years ago, to a few weeks.. I received a letter from Guatamala on March 31 that had been written in early March. Maybe I can see the difference because I had to take some time off, and have just come back last fall. If you have continued steadily, or have just begun, the improvement may not be as apparent. Also a year isn't that long to build a it system, the corp. I'm working for has been trying to upgrade for more than two years and still isn't right.
(Edited)
Photo of Marci L. Ficht

Marci L. Ficht

  • 74 Posts
  • 36 Reply Likes

Thank you for your reply. I'm so very happy that you are getting your mail so fast. You are very lucky. The letters that Sarah so wonderfully just emailed me were written before Christmas. I would be OVERJOYED with letters with a two or three week turnaround. I would be happy if they would just go back to the two-month turnaround before the "improvements." Hopefully that will come to pass for EVERYONE and not just a few. Because while I'm happy for you (I am!!!), it just makes me all the more frustrated that I have to wait for a letter for five or six months. 

Regarding the IT issues - you're not the first to have said that (see above). I've always worked for the government and the last place I worked was for Social Security. I can't imagine if the upgrades to our system for a complete overhaul had taken a year with over a year of issues like these. Two years would have been unimaginable. We just overhauled our entire system with numerous new programs and software to expedite things for our customers and to track operations for quality control. It only took us approximately a month to work out the kinks. They got everything completely running parallel to what we were doing BEFORE switching over so the transition was relatively painless and quick. If there is a problem, it doesn't last long before it is fixed. Ditto for the United States Army where we are constantly making major changes to keep up. I can't even count the number of major overhauls there were in the 23 years I was enlisted.

Again - I am very happy that you get letters so fast and I think it's wonderful that you've been sponsoring children since the 70's. I didn't even KNOW about Compassion until I was in my 40's!!!!  

Photo of Mr. &  Mrs.Hughes

Mr. & Mrs.Hughes

  • 43 Posts
  • 27 Reply Likes
Back then, I was using the money from lawn mowing, and I sponsored very much against my parents will. I had to use my best friend's address so the statements and letters wouldn't come to my parents box. Maybe that was part of the enjoyment, I didn't rebel, ever. I knew the consequences. I learned about compassion from magazine ads. I tried three other charities who used the sponsor format, but compassion was, for me the best. I wasn't boasting about the letter that I got so quickly, I was just trying to encourage you and the team. The letters from Brazil haven't done as well. Maybe it depends on the project and country. I think that the government probably works differently than civilian companies. Especially this rinkydink place I work for.
Photo of Marci L. Ficht

Marci L. Ficht

  • 74 Posts
  • 36 Reply Likes
That is the best "teenager rebellion" I have ever heard!!! Wouldn't it be wonderful if all teenagers "rebelled" in that way?!? How exciting that would have been for you!!! That's awesome...

Yes, rinkydink places would have a bit more difficulty implementing huge IT changes. :)  
Photo of Mr. &  Mrs.Hughes

Mr. & Mrs.Hughes

  • 43 Posts
  • 27 Reply Likes
Back then, I was using the money from lawn mowing, and I sponsored very much against my parents will. I had to use my best friend's address so the statements and letters wouldn't come to my parents box. Maybe that was part of the enjoyment, I didn't rebel, ever. I knew the consequences. I learned about compassion from magazine ads. I tried three other charities who used the sponsor format, but compassion was, for me the best. I wasn't boasting about the letter that I got so quickly, I was just trying to encourage you and the team. The letters from Brazil haven't done as well. Maybe it depends on the project and country. I think that the government probably works differently than civilian companies. Especially this rinkydink place I work for.
Photo of Mr. &  Mrs.Hughes

Mr. & Mrs.Hughes

  • 43 Posts
  • 27 Reply Likes
Back then, I was using the money from lawn mowing, and I sponsored very much against my parents will. I had to use my best friend's address so the statements and letters wouldn't come to my parents box. Maybe that was part of the enjoyment, I didn't rebel, ever. I knew the consequences. I learned about compassion from magazine ads. I tried three other charities who used the sponsor format, but compassion was, for me the best. I wasn't boasting about the letter that I got so quickly, I was just trying to encourage you and the team. The letters from Brazil haven't done as well. Maybe it depends on the project and country. I think that the government probably works differently than civilian companies. Especially this rinkydink place I work for.
Photo of Mr. &  Mrs.Hughes

Mr. & Mrs.Hughes

  • 43 Posts
  • 27 Reply Likes
I just reread your post and realized that you have served our country for your entire life. Thank you very much for your dedication and service to We the People. You are very much appreciated. Cathy
Photo of Marci L. Ficht

Marci L. Ficht

  • 74 Posts
  • 36 Reply Likes
You're welcome.  I love our country and the people in it. :)  

This conversation is no longer open for comments or replies.