How to Write a Letter to a Child - Compassion International

How to Write a Letter to Your Sponsored Child

So…you want to write a letter to your sponsored child.

Because you want to be a “good” sponsor.
You want the letter to be perfect.
And you want to stop feeling guilty for not writing.
You want to let your sponsored child know how special she is and that God loves her.
You want to give this letter-writing thing one more chance.
You want to say just the right inspirational thing to change your sponsored child’s life.
You want to get the letter writing over with.
But you just can’t get started.

You want to write. You plan to write. But you never get around to doing it. It’s almost like you don’t know how to write a letter to a child.

A Kenyan girl stands in front of a chalkboard with letters written on it

There’s no formula for writing a letter to your sponsored child. We have letter-writing ideas and letter-writing prompts for you. And we have plenty of reasons for why you should write, but honestly, all this can get to be a bit too much. It can be paralyzing. Or it can just feel too time consuming and not really worth the effort.

Here are some thoughts to keep in mind when you’re thinking about writing a letter to your child. Hopefully, they’ll help you beat procrastination and overcome the hurdles that keep you from sending a letter.

Write Something. Anything.

What you say doesn’t matter as much as just saying something. Don’t worry about length or content. Even a quick, “Hello, I am thinking about you today!” or “God loves you” can mean the world to your child.

a daughter and mother read a letter together

Asking Questions Counts as Saying Something.

What is your favorite color? What games do you like to play? What would you like to be when you grow up? Ask your child simple questions to get a conversation going, and be sure to answer any questions they might ask about you.

You’re Not Writing a Cover Letter, College Entrance Essay or Shakespearean Sonnet.

It’s okay to write like you speak, digress, use simple words and dot your I’s with hearts. Don’t over think things. Just be you. There’s a reason God connected you with your sponsored child, and it wasn’t to put the weight of responsibility around your neck.

two haitian boys standing together

You Don’t Have to Tell Stories Like Grandpa in The Princess Bride

Talk about the birds you see in your backyard, what breakfast cereal sounds like when you pour milk on it, or the 5k you’re running this weekend. If it’s worth telling your closest friends and your closest “How do I know you again?” acquaintances on Facebook it could be worth a mention in a letter. Well…maybe not. ☺

Imagine The Smile

For most of the children in our sponsorship program, getting a letter is a cause for celebration. Hey, it’s actually true for our own kids. When you keep the smile in mind, you realize it doesn’t really matter what’s inside the magical envelope.

African child pulling a photograph out of an envelope

It’s Not Her. It’s You.

Letters from your sponsored child may be short, infrequent or seemingly insincere — there are several explanations for why this can happen — but it’s your expectations that set the stage.

Your experience and comfort with letter writing is not the same as your child’s. There are language, age and cultural differences in play. Rise above them, and rely on what we've said. You might not always see how God is working through your letters, or realize that He’s working on you, but keep writing anyway.

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