Creating a one-on-one relationship between you and your sponsored friend is at the core of the CFCA sponsorship experience.
You form a relationship through the exchange of letters and photos.
And, while many sponsors are now taking advantage of the eLetter feature on the CFCA website, there is still something special about sending handwritten letters and cards through the mail.
To help you send those special mailed letters, we take a moment to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about sending mail to sponsored friends.
1. Can I use Forever Stamps?
Forever Stamps were issued into standard circulation in the United States in 2007, when several rapid increases in postage rates made it inconvenient for customers to keep up with the current rate and constantly having to purchase new stamps.
The Forever Stamp is always valued at the current U.S. postage rate for a 1-ounce envelope.
Currently, the postage rate is 46 cents, which is far less than the average international mail rate. While it is allowed to use Forever Stamps on international mail, one stamp would be insufficient for the actual cost of the mailing. Additional postage is required (see No. 2 below).
2. What is the cost of sending international mail?
According to USPS.com, the cost of sending a 1-ounce envelope internationally is $1.10 U.S.D. This would require at least two Forever Stamps with an additional 18 cents in postage.
If the envelope contains several sheets of paper, photos, stickers or other items, it may weigh more than 1 ounce, and would need additional postage.
(Editor’s note: Thanks to Leah Olszowy, whose comment at the end of this post noted that the post office now has an international forever stamp that costs $1.10 and covers a 1-ounce piece of mail to anywhere in the world!)
3. Can I send a box?
When sending items to sponsored friends, we ask that all items be no larger than 9 x 12 inches and that they weigh less than a pound and be under an inch thick.
A 9 x 12 envelope is considered a standard-letter size by international mailing criteria.
If a mail item exceeds this size, the CFCA field project accepting the item may be asked to pay high customs fees in order to accept the item.
When this situation occurs, the project staff is instructed not to pick up the mail item.
Unfortunately, we do not have a way for the sponsor to pay the customs fees at the receiving end, so we ask that sponsors follow the suggested mailing size.
4. Can I mail something overnight or use an express mail service to send something faster?
We understand that the estimated six- to eight-week mailing time can be frustrating. Or perhaps a sponsored friend’s birthday came sooner than remembered.
But when sending items by overnight or express mail, typically a physical address and a signature of receipt are required by the companying delivering the item.
Most of the addresses on our project mailing labels (the pink stickers) are post office boxes, and many overnight and express mail services do not deliver to P.O. addresses.
It is also quite costly to send anything overnight or through an international express mail service.
Another thing to consider is that part of the six- to eight-week estimate includes the time it takes for letters to be sorted and translated.
Many sponsored friends live some distance away from the CFCA office, so the letter is hand delivered by our project staff after it has been translated.
It’s always important to remember that your sponsored friend will still appreciate the gesture whenever your item may arrive.
Did we answer all your mailing questions? If not, leave us a comment and we will quench your thirst for mailing knowledge!