Nov 25 2011

4 tips for new sponsors to improve the sponsorship experience

We recently asked people on our Facebook page to tell us one thing new sponsors can do to improve their sponsorship experience. Thanks to all who contributed!

We’ve collected and organized these tips in the following order:

1) Keep visual reminders of your sponsored friend.

Joy, CFCA sponsored child in Kenya, displays photos from her sponsors

Joy, a CFCA sponsored child in Kenya, displays photos received from her sponsors.

Jen Paquin Higgins: “We make a little photo collage every time we send a letter with photos of the animals where we live [in] that time of season or any activities we’ve been doing so they really feel a part of what’s going on in our lives. Sometimes we take photos of us with the letters or drawings they send us [so] they can see we got them and that we are proud to show them off at our work or on our refrigerator.”

Maria L. Conti: “like to put [drawings from my sponsored child] on my fridge.”

Harrison Garcia Ruiz: “I think pictures are very important to share [with] each other because your sponsored child and sponsor could feel closer [despite] the distance.”

Paula Kiger: “I keep a map near my desk with the geographic locations of our family’s two sponsored children in Guatemala marked. It has helped me be a lot more aware of how things may impact them (like weather, tropical storms, etc.) and just helps me have a more literal “grip” on the truth of their existence.”

2) Get creative with your letters.

Rosi, CFCA sponsored child in India, reads letters from sponsor

Rosi, a CFCA sponsored child in India, and her parents sort through letters received from her sponsor.

Patty Yardley: “I have used clip art on-line to enhance my letters and printed them to make them look like a picture book. That way they can see the words and the pics together. I also paste pics of my kids, etc… in the letters when I talk about each of them and what they do.”

Pauline Gakii: “A letter in your handwriting, your family’s pictures, works miracles. 10 years later I still have my sponsor’s letters, pictures n poetry books that they sent often. I always received a letter every holiday, presents for my birthday, Christmas greeting cards. This made me feel like a daughter to them. It’s the most memorable experience that can never be erased from my heart.”

Kristina Vance: “All of the children I’ve sponsored have loved photographs… I like to send postcards of my area, which helps them see what my life is like, both the mundane and the interesting. Even though I live alone, my child likes to read updates on how my family is doing. Depending on the age of your child and if you know their language, my child is learning English and wanted me to write some English for her, so now I write two versions of each letter – one in English and one in Spanish.”

Ann Trombly: “I volunteer teaching English to adults, which has given me a huge awareness of just what a difficult language English is. And what an enormous challenge it must be to translators! Keep your letters simple and concrete. It is more likely that your true sentiments will come through. (I was lucky to be given a child who speaks Spanish, which I had taken in school 20 years earlier. But I found I was able to translate her letters myself – and with quite a bit of practice – could write to her myself in Spanish. Not a challenge everyone can take on – but how nice to come up with a line or two – especially a blessing – in your sponsored friend’s native language.”

3) Keep your friend in your prayers.

Kim Moore: “Pray for your child and let God’s grace bless you and your family through your sponsored child…and oh how the blessings abound!”

Kristina Vance: “I make sure my child knows I think of her and pray for her every day, even when I can’t write.”

4) If possible, meet your friend in person.

Briana and Linda Utrie visit their sponsored child, Carlos, and his family in Honduras

Briana and Linda Utrie visit their sponsored child, Carlos, and his family in Honduras.

Elysa Terracciano Koss: “I know this is not feasible for everyone, but if at all possible, go on a mission awareness trip [MAT]. There is nothing like face-to-face contact with your sponsored child and family to make that relationship come alive. We are so grateful to have been able to go on two trips to Guatemala and to have spent time with our sponsored children, some members of their wonderful family, and dozens of other sponsored children and aged. We hope to go again sometime in the future. It will be like returning to family members. In addition to meeting your sponsored child, you have the opportunity to see the amazing work being done by dedicated CFCA staff to help countless others in the region. It is a truly humbling experience, and one you will not forget.”

Judith Brown Meyer: “I would agree strongly with the MAT suggestion. There is such an amazing bond that one cannot explain. The hosts and the families are so wonderful. You feel like a rock star and are treated like one. To know that you mean so much and people of such small means do all these things to make you welcome is an absolute blessing. It’s almost like entering the gates of heaven, or that’s what it was like for me. You receive so much love from all the people at the projects. When I met my amiga Sayra we had such a strong bond.”

Theresa Hasken: “If at all possible attending an MAT is a life changing experience …not just for the sponsored children but also the sponsors. Meeting them face to face is an awesome experience…..the kids really do become a part of your family and you part of their family.”

Suzanna Vermeul-Wilson: “Attending a MAT trip would be at the top of the list. It is so important to meet your family where they are at and this just isn’t possible without that experience. Attending a MAT trip also puts life into perspective and helps us to know what is truly important in life.”

Paula Kiger: “I agree – an MAT if it is all possible is incredible – mine and my teenager’s totally transformed my understanding of the sponsorship experience.”

It’s not too late to leave your own tips! Add a comment below or go to the Facebook post:

3 thoughts on “4 tips for new sponsors to improve the sponsorship experience”

  1. My sponsored child lives in Guatemala; I live in upstate NY. In the past, I have saved pictures from the newspaper showing how we deal with major snow events. I explain what the snow removal equipment does, and always include pictures of children playing in the snow, skating, playing hockey, people ice fishing, shoveling and carrying their groceries home from the store.

    1. I, too, love the idea of sharing “community” happenings by means of newspaper clippings! Wonderful idea, Margaret! Thanks for sharing. : )

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