We assign the highest reasonable amount of available resources to the direct benefits of sponsored friends, which is why more than 93 percent of our expenses go toward program support.
Here are some ways sponsors and supporters can help us keep our overhead low:
1) Use our Automatic Payment Plan.
Sponsorship contributions made through CFCA’s Automatic Payment Plan are safe, secure and reduce our costs.
Printing, postage costs and bank fees continue to increase and currently average 84 cents for each sponsorship payment made by check. In contrast, the cost for an automatic bank withdrawal is less than 3 cents.
Automatic payment also helps sponsors to:
- Save on postage and the time it takes to mail their contribution.
- Never miss a payment ñ their contribution is automatically processed each month.
- Reduce paperwork ñ electronic payment is environmentally friendly.
Click here if you want to sign up online. (If you haven’t already, you will need to log in to your online sponsorship account.)
Enter the amount of your monthly sponsorship payment and click “Make payment.”
A pop-up question will ask, “Would you like your sponsorship contributions paid automatically each month?”
Choose “Yes,” and your first monthly payment will be added to your contribution basket. You can adjust the amount and the frequency of your payment, if you prefer to pay on an annual, semi-annual or quarterly basis.
As you proceed through the checkout process, you will be able to choose which payment account you want to use (or add a new one).
2) Write eLetters.
An eLetter is not an email, but an easy way for you as a sponsor to write a letter using your online sponsorship account. We then deliver that letter on your behalf.
This saves CFCA money and time because our staffers do not have to drive to the post office to pick up an eLetter!
The eLetters feature can be accessed from the “My Sponsorships” page when you log in to the website. You can choose from several different backgrounds that are updated to reflect the current season and significant holidays.
Because the letter will still need to be translated and hand delivered, it may still take several weeks to reach your sponsored friend, but it guarantees the letter will reach the project and saves on the cost of postage.
3) Avoid large packages.
We ask that sponsors send nothing larger than an envelope 9 by 12 inches and more than an inch thick. We also ask that it weigh a pound or less. This is still considered a letter size by international mailing guidelines.
Anything larger may cause your sponsored child’s project to be charged high customs fees, which would reduce the amount available to help the community. (CFCA projects are instructed not to accept mail with high customs fees.)
Large packages are also at a constant threat of being damaged or stolen in transit, and they cost our staffers in terms of time.
In Kenya, for example, it can take three to four hours to clear one parcel through customs!
4) Consider donating to the sponsorship assistance fund.
Started after Hurricane Katrina, the sponsorship assistance fund helps support benefits for children and aging friends whose sponsors are unable to continue because of financial or other reasons.
While we look for new sponsors, benefits will continue uninterrupted. The fund helps support the cost of these benefits.
It also provides temporary assistance for sponsors to help them continue their sponsorship support, even in the face of a job loss, health problem or other crisis.
5) Stretch your contribution through matching gifts.
We are especially thankful to our sponsors and donors who have doubled and tripled their contributions to CFCA through matching gifts from their employers.
To see whether your company has a matching gift program, and to facilitate your gift request, please use our online search tool.
CFCA designates 100 percent of gifts through employer matching gift programs to our scholarship program. Your donations to CFCA will allow young women and men to achieve educational goals, serve their communities and build a path out of poverty for themselves and their families.
6) Share your sponsorship experience with a friend.
We take a grassroots approach to spreading the word about our sponsorship program. We don’t rely on expensive advertising such as television commercials to find sponsors.
Instead, we rely on the enthusiasm of our sponsors to recommend us and share us with others. And we appreciate every one of you who tell others about our work.
In 2011, more than 1,000 sponsorships were credited to sponsors just telling their friends about us!
7) If you’re in Kansas City, volunteer by preparing letters.
Kansas City-area residents volunteer their time to process letters from sponsored children, youth and aging friends to their sponsors.
We’ve been blessed to have so many dedicated volunteers and are grateful for the important role they play in our outreach and in helping keep our overhead low. In 2011, these volunteers donated about 9,000 hours and handled approximately 1.4 million letters.
Volunteers range in age from teenagers to senior citizens. A core group of volunteers has a set schedule and comes in once or twice a week. Others come in monthly or occasionally as part of a service group.
Please contact us to sign up or learn more.
Ultimately, all these tips are to direct more support to the sponsored children, youth and aging friends we serve around the world. Thanks so much for your help!