By MOHI on Mar 25, 2021 10:00:00 AM
Looking to make a difference in the life of a disadvantaged child and help uplift their entire community? There’s perhaps no better way than through child sponsorship.
But there are many organizations to choose from when it comes to sponsoring a child in Africa or other parts of the world. So how can you be sure you’re making the best decision for you and the child?
Here are a few questions to consider when you begin your research toward choosing the right Christian child sponsorship organization.
How does the sponsorship program work?
Gaining an understanding of how the organization is run and how your sponsorship experience will play out is the first step in helping you make an informed decision. In most cases, the structure should look something like this:
- The Christian child sponsorship organization will have partnerships with local agencies and/or community leaders to identify the areas and children with the most need.
- The organization will have a list of children awaiting sponsorship that you can get to know and form a connection with based a variety of factors and circumstances.
- The sponsor’s monthly donation is used to provide the child with hope and sustenance through things like food, medical care, education, and the opportunity to hear the life-changing message of Jesus Christ.
- Sponsors will have the opportunity and easy access to regularly communicate with their child. Whether through letters, cards, or even virtually through mobile apps, the bond formed here is at the heart of any Christian child sponsorship organization. In many cases, the organization also arranges trips so sponsors can meet their child in person for a more profound impact.
- While sponsors can choose to end their support at any time, Christian child sponsorship typically ends when either the child reaches a certain age or they graduate from the organization’s program.
Is the organization fiscally responsible?
Perhaps the most important element of any charitable organization is financial efficiency. Every potential child sponsor wants to know that the organization they support delivers the highest impact with the money they receive. When researching which Christian child sponsorship organization is the best fit for you, start by ensuring they are accountable with their funds and have a good track record.
You can quickly and easily get a sense of how the organization spends its donations and sponsorship funds by checking out Charitynavigator.com. It’s a ratings website for charities with details breaking down the financial aspect of the organization. Ultimately, the majority of a Christian child sponsorship organization’s funds should be going toward charitable programs as opposed to fundraising and other admin costs.
Also, be mindful of how transparent the organization is:
- Do they have a website where they clearly state how they spend their donations?
- Do they produce a publicly-facing annual report?
- Is their mission clear?
- Do they provide a staff page and governance structure?
At MOHI, for example, 84% of the funds go to providing medical care, spiritual development, paying school fees, and operating costs like paying the teachers and social workers, while only 16% is used for administrative fees.
Are they truly faith-based?
Many sponsorship programs are run by faith-based organizations, and certainly if you’re looking for the best Christian child sponsorship organization, their religious identity should be front-and-center. When looking for the right organization, find out things like:
- The role faith and religion play in the overall child sponsorship program
- Is it open to all faiths? No faiths? Exclusive to Christianity?
- Are the organization’s curriculum and programs built on spiritual and Biblical foundations?
What area(s) do they serve?
Christian sponsorship organizations are located in countries all over the world, the most prominent being in undeveloped nations in Africa and Asia. But poverty has no borders, and children are in need throughout every corner of the earth. If you have a regional preference for your child sponsorship, be sure to research the program and make sure they operate in your preferred area
Does the money go toward individual children? Or toward community development?
Some programs send your donations directly to the children, while others use the funds to improve the communities where they live. If you have a strong preference, you’ll want to check how your potential Christian child sponsorship organization is structured.
In both cases, the sponsors should receive updates from the sponsored children on how the donations are improving their lives.
What do other sponsors say about their involvement with the organization?
Sometimes the best way to vet a potential Christian child sponsorship organization is to see what your fellow sponsors have to say about their experience. The organization itself can tell you how great they are through their marketing and development efforts, but there’s no better endorsement than hearing it directly from another sponsor.
Look for organizations who regularly publish testimonials that speak to the true impact of their efforts.
Regardless of the Christian child sponsorship organization you choose, remember that sponsorship is more than just financial support. The unbreakable bond and lasting relationship you build will encourage and uplift your child as they complete their education, strengthen their faith in Jesus Christ, and gain an enduring hope for a better tomorrow.