What is the suggested frequency for sending family/child/project gifts?

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I sent my sponsored child's family a $1000 family gift last year. I was so encouraged by how well they were able to use it that I would like to do it again this year, and I am also considering sending the maximum amounts for the other categories ($100 child gift and $100 birthday gift, and possibly a project gift as well). However, I read that Compassion does not recommend sending gifts monthly, because it may cause a family to become dependent on the gifts and may also cause jealousy in the community. I am concerned that sending the maximum amounts every year will cause the same problems. What should I do? Thanks!
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Michelle

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Posted 7 years ago

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Lizzie, Champion

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Here is a post that Compassion wrote about monetary gifts- http://blog.compassion.com/give-a-gif...
I would probably not send the maximum gift amounts every year. I think it would cause jealousy and even possibly dependence. Sending a project gift is a great way to bless both your child and many others. I would suggest doing that and some gifts to your child and his family. Hope that helps some! :)
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Becky, Champion

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Hi Michelle!

I have often wondered how 'regular' giving is perceived for family and child gifts. I personally chose to always give Christmas and Birthday gifts (varying amounts depending upon the year). I consider that my birthday gift likely falls into the regular gift category although I am OK with that since in the US it is expected that kids will receive something for their birthdays too. I realized a few weeks ago that I somehow thought I gave a birthday gift to one of my kids and I hadn't, which I immediately rectified (3 months late) as I cannot imagine a child knowing for 4 years I sent a birthday gift and this year I just sent a card without a monetary gift given the expectation I created from previous years. Personally, I have decided that I want my family gifts and other child gifts to be unpredictable to prevent them from being expected. However, I also typically send one (sometimes, but rarely two) family gifts per calendar year. Therefore, I chose to define their unpredictability as varying amount from the minimum up to the former maximum ($250 or 300). Sometimes I have sent a child gift to reward my child for an improvement in school grades or to the family to celebrate the birth of a baby. Last year I chose to send a modest (small sounds insufficient when it still was more than they make in a month there) gift and a much larger project gift as I wanted to donate money, but not seem predictable to my child. I may be massively over thinking avoiding regular gift giving ;-) This year I am debating sending a family gift at the end of this calendar year as I have not sent one yet this year. I am praying about it and as of yet unsure what I will do.

I am curious what some CI employees think about creating a giving expectation across years as well as jealousy in the community from annual family gifts regardless of amount but also if they are the largest amount. My main guess is that if as a sponsor I donated enough to the point my child's family situation improved to no longer need outside assistance then I would no longer be sponsoring my child. Selfishly, I don't want to do that just yet as my kids just became teenagers.
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Haley, Sponsor and Donor Relations, Operations

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This is a fantastic question to bring up, and we are certainly happy to chime into the conversation. The current minimum and maximum limits that we have for monetary gifts were set based on input from our staff members in the country offices. When setting these limits, the staff members took many things into consideration - many of the things that you have brought up: what is safe for a family, what might create a dependency, etc., and in their wisdom asked Compassion International to set those specific gift limits (max of $1000 for family in a calendar year; $100 for Birthday and $100 for a General Gift in a year). It was also the staff in our country offices who ask that we discourage monthly family gifts because 1. the idea that it could create depenency (imagine receiving $100 per month when you family only makes $30 per month), and 2. the cost of delivering a gift (which Compassion absorbs rather than asking the donor to pay through any type of fee) is very real, and the same cost for CI for a $10 and for a $1000 gift, so it is better administratively if we can deliver fewer but larger gifts rather than smaller gifts on a more regular basis. Though our staff members are grateful for and happy to deliver both!

In a nutshell, we recommend that the sponsor give as they are able (amount and frequency), and keep in mind that the gift minimum and maximum amounts have been set by the people on the ground working with the children directly - they see the impact of the gift on the family, community, city, and country. We trust that they have set smart limits and we do not hesitate to encourage sponsors to give as much as they are able, up to those limits. We have seen those gifts absolutely change lives for the better! They are an invaluable way to minister to a family who is breaking the poverty of cycle in their generation.
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Michelle

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Thank you everyone for your responses. I had read that Compassion blog post about monetary gifts, but it didn't answer whether it's good/acceptable to give the maximum amounts annually; it just said not to give a gift monthly. I think giving a project gift is a great way to help the family and others in the area without causing dependence or jealousy, and maybe I will do that as well or in the future. I also think keeping the giving unpredictable is a good way to make the focus about the relationship more than about money or material goods (and the regular sponsorship amount is still going to be consistent, so the child is still provided for). And, I think it would be great if I could provide so much that my child's family would no longer need outside assistance!
I especially appreciate Haley's comment, that the maximums are there for a reason, and that I can trust that the staff members' wisdom in those decisions.
Like I said above, I was so encouraged by how well the family was able to use the gift last year that I would like to send the maximum amount again, and I trust that they will do the same this year as well. Thanks again!

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