Tips for Sponsors

Are you already a sponsor? Here are some helpful tips to make the most of your sponsorship.


Write to your sponsored child

Thanks for taking the time to write to your sponsored child! Your letters remind your child that you love and care for them.

When writing, you can use your own stationery or right-click and download one of our letter templates (downloading is preferable to opening the template in your web browser):

Letter Template for Africa (Malawi, Sierra Leone, Uganda)
Letter Template for the Dominican Republic and Haiti
Letter Template for University/Vocational students


Basic letter guidelines

  • Items sent must fit into no more than one 6-by-9-inch envelope per month.
  • The contents of this envelope must weigh less than one pound.
  • The value of the items you send must not exceed $25.

Things to include in your letters

  • Decorate your letters with stickers, stamps, and other fun things.
  • Write about things that your sponsored child will understand, such as family, pets, work, church, hobbies, tastes in food, music, and activities. Encourage your child’s learning and relationship with the Lord. Include Bible verses and remind your child that God loves them and that you are praying for them and their family.
  • Send photos of yourself and your family. Dress standards may be different in your child’s country, so please send pictures where everyone is dressed modestly.
  • Send photos or postcards of places you visit. This will be educational for your child.
  • You may send items such as stickers, gum, sports trading cards, Band-Aids, hair ribbons/accessories, seed packets, socks, pencils, pencil sharpeners, pens, toothbrush and toothpaste, hard candy, deodorant, etc.

Things to avoid

  • Please do not discuss politics or governmental issues.
  • Please do not discuss or send photos highlighting money and possessions. Discussing these things may cause your child to feel jealous or ashamed, or become fixated on material things. Share positive achievements in a way your child can relate to.
  • Please do not ask your child if there is anything they need or desire. Your sponsorship meets their needs and they are taught not to ask for things. We will communicate any needs with you, should they arise.
  • Please do not include your address, email, or contact information of any kind.
  • Do not send expensive items or money. COTN can accept these items as general donations, but not for individual children.

Mailing your letter

Please double-envelope your letter or package. Address the inner envelope with your child’s name and reference number on the center of the envelope and your first and last name on the upper left corner. Address the outer envelope with the COTN address, P.O. Box 3970, Silverdale, WA 98383. Add photos of envelopes properly addressed

All mail is sent to and from our countries with staff and teams. Therefore, the mail only goes when teams go, which may be once every one to three months. We suggest writing every one to two months, as it may take several months for you to receive a response. You do not have to wait for a response before you write again.


FAQs for Sponsors

What specific benefits does my sponsored child receive?

Your donation will help meet the physical, educational, social, and spiritual needs of your child. Your donation will go into our sponsorship fund and your child will receive the benefits of their program through your contribution. Every child in our program is assigned multiple sponsors to meet all of their needs.

$32 a month: Village Partnership (Sierra Leone, Malawi, Uganda, Dominican Republic, and Haiti). Your monthly gift will help a child living with parents or caregivers who cannot adequately provide for them. Needs vary by village and family, but typically include some combination of: educational assistance, extra food, medical care, Christian mentorship, clean water programs, resource distributions, and more.
$43 a month: Family-Style Children’s Home (Sierra Leone, Malawi, and Uganda). Your monthly gift will help an orphaned child living in one of our Children’s Homes. Housing, food, medical care, schooling, clothing, and spiritual discipleship for your child are all included
$50 a month: University/Vocational Program. Some of the benefits your student will receive are: tuition, room, board, transportation, books, and materials.

May I send gifts to my sponsored child?

You may send items with your letters to our USA office, as long as they fit in one 6-by-9-inch envelope per month. The contents of this envelope should weigh less than 1 lb. and have a monetary value of less than $25. We will also identify special Christmas and summer camp projects each year. If you visit your child, you are welcome to bring gifts, as long as they are appropriate and their total value does not exceed $25. (See our gift giving policy here.)

Why do we have rules for gift giving?

While we appreciate the intent behind gifts, if directions are not followed, direct gift-giving can cause several problems for your child. These include: (1) causing jealousy among other children; (2) undermining the authority of parents and in-country staff; (3) breeding dependence and materialism; (4) taking the place of more urgent needs; (5) misuse or misinterpretation of the items and their meaning.

How can I learn more about my sponsored child?

You can learn more through writing letters, visiting your child on a Venture trip, and reading our blog and other resources on our website. You will also receive regular updates about our programs through emails and newsletters.

How long should my sponsorship last?

Our desire is to see these young adults actively contributing to their society and becoming leaders. The length of commitment depends on the requirements of the specific area of study your student has chosen. If we determine your student no longer requires support or leaves the program, within 30 days we will send you a profile of a new student for you to consider sponsoring; your sponsorship will automatically transfer to this student unless we hear from you.


Meeting your sponsored child

Visiting your child can be an exciting and encouraging experience for both you and your sponsored child. You can join an existing “Visit Your Child” trip or set up a trip of your own by visiting our Venture trips page.





Further Reading

You can learn more about the cultures of Africa and the Caribbean, and how to properly engage with your sponsored child, by reading some of the following books. Enjoy!

Foreign to Familiar

Sarah A. Lanier

This book is all about understanding the differences between cold-climate cultures (like the US and Europe) and hot-climate cultures (like Africa and the Caribbean).

The Big Truck that Went By

Jonathan M. Katz

This book details the world's response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and how in many ways the relief efforts resulted more harm than good.

When Helping Hurts

Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert

This book shows how sometimes the best intentions can go wrong when we intervene in other cultures, and provides solutions for doing international missions right.