We reviewed all the top child sponsorship organizations. Keep reading to see our top picks for 2020.
Millions of Christians participate in monthly support programs for kids called “child sponsorship.” There are many excellent and trustworthy organizations that facilitate this types of programs. This page will answer some frequent questions about child sponsorship and off our suggestions for programs that deserve your support. Ministry-To-Children is an online only ministry – we do not accept donations or have personal connections with any of these groups. We just want to help you (and your children’s ministry) get the facts before your sponsor a child.
What is the best sponsor a child program?
As a new sponsor, what matters to you. Are you trying to have the most contact with the child? That means some of your sponsorship donation will be spent on the staff needed to facilitate the letters, emails, or gifts. Are you trying to make the most impact? Then find out which charity project have the best proven outcomes. Are you concerned with child-evangelism? Then look for programs that partner with local churches.
Our top pick for groups that share the Christian message.
Of all the major groups that let you sponsor a child. Only Compassion and Samaritan’s Purse emphasize spreading the Christian Gospel as part of their sponsorship program goals. Most of the groups listed below started with a Christian ethic, but they do have evolved in their approach. When you donate to Compassion you give the world hope in Jesus Christ as well as the helping meed their needs.
Compassion International’s holistic child development through sponsorship program is designed to release children from economic, physical, social and spiritual poverty. Compassion revolutionized the fight against poverty by rooting its program for children exclusively in local churches and is the only sponsorship program to be validated through independent, empirical research. Compassion partners with more than 6,500 churches in 25 countries to release over 1.8 million children and young adults from poverty in Jesus’ name.
Compassion International is a Christian humanitarian aid child sponsorship organization dedicated to the long-term development of children living in poverty around the world. Compassion International, headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, functions in 25 countries such as Bolivia, Colombia, Mexico, Haiti, and Kenya.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compassion_International
Our top choice for trust among Christian churches.
This organization is known and supported by a wide majority of churches in America. They do not shy from their Christian message and have very high scores from independent charity review groups. You can’t sponsor a child individually, but you can sponsor projects. They also serve children in over 100 children each year through their Christmas gift program – which is a smaller way to sponsor a Christmas gift for a child.
Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan’s Purse has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God’s love through His Son, Jesus Christ. Emergency relief meets desperate needs of victims worldwide. Operation Christmas Child delivers more than 10 million shoebox gifts to poor children in more than 100 countries each year. World Medical Mission sends doctors, equipment, and supplies to underprivileged countries. Community development and vocational programs in impoverished villages and neighborhoods help people break the cycle of poverty and give them hope for a better tomorrow. Vulnerable children are rescued, educated, fed, clothed, and sheltered, letting them know that God loves them, Jesus died and rose again for them, and they are not forgotten.
Samaritan’s Purse is an evangelical Christian humanitarian aid organization that provides aid to people in physical need as a key part of Christian missionary work. The organization’s president is Franklin Graham, son of Christian evangelist Billy Graham. The name of the organization is based on the New Testament Parable of the Good Samaritan, in which Jesus uses a parable to teach people one form of the Golden Rule; “love your neighbor as yourself”. Samaritan’s Purse works in more than 100 countries around the world.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samaritan%27s_Purse
Top choice for highest ratings at both charity review sites.
This is a smaller charity, only about 1/6 the size of the big three sponsorship minsitries, but they have an excellent track record and can help you sponsor a child internationally.
Unbound partners with families living in poverty, empowering them to become self-sufficient and fulfill their desired potential. When you sponsor a child, young adult or elder through Unbound, you invest in personalized benefits that support goals chosen by the sponsored individual and their family.Unbound Mission Statement
Unbound, formerly the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging, is a nonprofit sponsorship organization headquartered in Kansas City, Kansas. Unbound was founded by lay Catholic workers acting on the Gospel call to serve the poor. Its sponsorship program provides basic necessities such as food, education, clothing and access to medical care to children and elderly in some of the world’s poorest communities. Today, Unbound sponsors support more than 300,000 children, youth and aging persons in 18 countries.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unbound_(nonprofit_organization)
Great reviews from both Non-Profit database websites.
While this is a smaller non-profit, they have excellent ratings for their “sponsor a child” program. Their ministry extends beyond the children and helps entire families in times of crisis through sponsorship programs
Food for the Hungry is a Christian humanitarian organization ending all forms of human poverty by providing life-changing development programs, disaster relief, and advocacy. Since 1971, Food for the Hungry has been going into the world’s hardest places with an exit strategy: to respond to human suffering and graduate communities of extreme poverty into self-sustainability, all within a decade. By creating context-specific solutions in education, agriculture, health, livelihood, clean water, and disaster risk reduction, the nonprofit focuses on transformational development, investing in children as the key to lift entire communities out of poverty. With 98% of staff working in their country of origin, Food for the Hungry works side-by-side with local leaders, churches, and families to implement innovative solutions. The organization currently serves more than 14 million people in over 20 countries worldwide.About Food for the Hungry Child Sponsorship
Food for the Hungry (also known as FH) is a Christian international relief, development, and advocacy organization with operations in more than 20 countries. Food for the Hungry was founded in 1971 by Dr. Larry Ward. Food for the Hungry’s stated mission for long-term development is to graduate communities of extreme poverty within 10–15 years. The organization does this by going to some of the hardest places with an exit strategy, empowering local leaders and walking “together” with them, as they lead their communities into being thriving, self-sustainable places to live. The organization’s name “Food for the Hungry” was taken from Book of Psalms 146:7: “He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry.” Food for the Hungry is a charter member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, since February 1, 1980.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_for_the_Hungry
Our top pick for global poverty fighting impact.
World Vision has become a very inclusive organization, offending some traditional Christian groups but opening the door to a much wider impact in nations that do not accept Christian mission work. They also recieve more donations annually than the others in this list. World Vision is active in over 100 different countries. So if you are looking to sponsor a child in Africa or India, they will have the most options.
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. Motivated by our faith in Jesus Christ, World Vision serves alongside the poor and oppressed as a demonstration of God’s unconditional love for all people. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.About World Vision Child Sponsorship Program
World Vision International is an Evangelical Christian humanitarian aid, development, and advocacy organization. It prefers to present itself as interdenominational and also employs staff from non-evangelical Christian denominations. It was founded in 1950 by Robert Pierce as a service organization to meet the emergency needs of missionaries. In 1975 development work was added to World Vision’s objectives. It is active in nearly 100 countries with a total revenue including grants, product and foreign donations of more than $2 billion (2017).https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Vision_International
Our top pick for their long record of helping children globally.
This is one of the pioneering groups in children’s educational and nutrition programs around the world. They have an excellent reputation for transparency and showing results. They were one of the first global charities that used the “sponsor a child” format for fundraising.
Save the Children invests in childhood – every day, in times of crisis and for our future. In the United States and around the world, we are dedicated to ensuring every child has the best chance for success. Our pioneering programs give children a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. Our advocacy efforts provide a voice for children who cannot speak for themselves. As the leading expert on children, we inspire and achieve lasting impact for millions of the world’s most vulnerable girls and boys. By transforming children’s lives now, we change the course of their future and ours.About Save the Children’s Sponsor Impact
The Save the Children Fund, commonly known as Save the Children was established in the United Kingdom in 1919 to improve the lives of children through better education, health care, and economic opportunities, as well as providing emergency aid in natural disasters, war, and other conflicts. In addition to the UK organisation, there are 29 other national Save the Children organisations who are members of the Save the Children Alliance, a global network of nonprofit organisations supporting local partners and Save the Children International in more than 120 countries around the world.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Save_the_Children
If you want to sponsor a child in the Americas, this is you best option. This ministry focuses on children living in the Caribbean and Latin America. If someday visiting your sponsored child is important, then this would be a shorter trip.
Food For The Poor (FFP) ministers to spiritually renew impoverished people throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Established in 1982, FFP’s goals are to improve the health, economic, social and spiritual conditions of the men, women and children we serve. Food For The Poor raises funds and provides direct relief assistance to the poor, sometimes by purchasing specifically requested materials and distributing them through the churches and charity organizations already operating in areas of need. Since its founding FFP has distributed more than 63,000 tractor-trailer loads of aid to the poor. We have also built more than 84,000 housing units for people desperately in need of adequate shelter, and completed more than 1,475 water projects that provide lifesaving water and sanitation to hundreds of thousands of people in need.
Food For The Poor, Inc. (FFP) is an ecumenical Christian nonprofit organization based in Coconut Creek, Florida, United States that provides food, medicine, and shelter, among other services, to the poor in Latin America and the Caribbean. Food For The Poor, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) corporation.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_for_the_Poor
No other organization has a larger global reach than UNICEF. You can sponsor a child directly or support their work parts of the world that need the most help.Through child sponsorship, this organization is helping kids in the toughest situations globally.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in more than 190 countries and territories to put children first. UNICEF has helped save more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization, by providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. UNICEF USA supports UNICEF’s work through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when no children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood.UNICEF Mission Statement
Top Questions about Sponsoring a Child
How much does it cost to sponsor a child?
Most programs ask you to donate $40 per month to sponsor a child. The total amount needed per child varies based on projects, but they often combine donors into a pool to meet the needs of the project. Then you will get occasional requests for special donations, especially around the holidays or connected to disasters. You are always free to donate more than requested amount.
Does sponsoring a child really help?
This is an important question when you choose to sponsor a child. In general, these programs can make a big impact on the life of a child in need of food, education, or medicine. But there is a limit to how much money alone can help some of these situations. Even children who have these advantages still face the systemic problems of their country, family situation, and culture.
A 2017 study found that “international child sponsorship increased monthly income by $13–17 over an untreated baseline of $75, principally from inducing higher future labor market participation. We find evidence for positive impacts on dwelling quality in adulthood and modest evidence of impacts on ownership of consumer durables in adulthood, limited to increased ownership of mobile phones. Finally, our results also show modest effects of child sponsorship on childbearing in adulthood.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_sponsorship#cite_note-9
When I was leading mission work in Haiti, we decided against the child sponsorship model to fund our orphanage. We did encourage prayer sponsors, but we insisted that donors support the project as a whole rather than individual children. It was simply too confusing for the kids who all dreamed of being adopted one day. Many who came on our trips ask if they could sponsor a child, but that would mean diverting resources to organize that process.
Plan International also uses the community development approach. A few years ago they commissioned a study from Sussex University into the impact of their operations. Its 2008 report found there was “anxiety, jealousy and disappointment among those children and families who receive no letters or gifts”. And, notwithstanding the success stories, “the much larger scale of unmet expectations and emotional disappointment for children poses a serious ethical concern and challenge”.https://www.bbc.com/news/world-13697855
Yes, your sponsorship contributions will be used to benefit your sponsored child, their community, and other vulnerable children. We combine sponsorship donations to support community-based projects that improve the well-being of all children in need, including your sponsored child.https://www.worldvision.org/sponsor-a-child/support-center/child-sponsorship-faqs
Can you stop sponsoring a child?
What happens if you sponsor a child and then change your mind? Most programs have several donors designated per child, but the funds are actually pooled into a country or project level. The amount needed for each child comes from more than your donations.
Reality: as Save the Children now discloses, “Your sponsorship contributions are not given directly to a child. Instead, your contributions are pooled with those of other sponsors to provide community-based programming for all eligible children in the area.”
You can discontinue your child sponsorship at any time. … While we hope that you will be able to continue your support of your sponsored child until he or she completes the program, we recognize that circumstances sometimes change. You may discontinue your child sponsorship at any time.https://www.compassion.com/sponsor_a_child/sponsorship-faq.htm
What is Child Sponsorship?
Child sponsorship is a type of fundraising in which a charitable organization associates a donor sponsor with a particular child beneficiary. The sponsor receives updates from the child, typically including photos and translated letters, which helps create the appearance of a personal relationship with the child. The donated funds are generally not spent specifically on the sponsored child but rather pooled with other contributions to fund a variety of education, health, security, infrastructure, or other projects in the child’s community or country. One estimate is that over 9 million sponsors give over US $5 billion to child sponsorship programs. Other sources state the amount of child sponsorship funding is closer to US $3 billion per year.You can read more on Wikipedia about the impact when you sponsor a child.
As a donor, is monthly sponsoring a child tax-deductible?
If the charity is a registered non-profit in the USA, they should send you an end of year donation summary to use when preparing your taxes. Just let your accountant know that you sponsor a child and they will make sure you get the benefits for that charitable contribution.
Sponsor’s gift is tax-deductible. Most child sponsorship programs raise awareness about and seek funding for, specific children who are a part of a charitable class (i.e., needy). So long as the organization retains the right to exercise final control over the funds, the gift is deductible.https://charitableallies.org/news/tax-deductions-restricted/