Which Child Sponsorship Organizations Have the Best Sponsorship Programs?

Child sponsorship is one of the best methods for helping families living in extreme poverty rise out of poverty. And by best we mean cost-effective.

It’s also a great activity for kids to participate in to learn important life lessons.

According to a poll of top development economists, child sponsorship is the most effective long-term development intervention for fighting poverty and helping the poor. It not only addresses a child's immediate physical needs, improving children's lives, it also builds self-esteem and self-respect in the marginalized. But not all child sponsorship organizations and child sponsorship programs are created equal.

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Which Organization Has the Best Child Sponsorship Program?

If we consider the effectiveness of a sponsorship program as a proxy for determining which program is best, we must rely upon empirical research for measuring effectiveness rather than organizational self-assessments, donor impressions or individualized accounts of impact.

Fortunately, we have an independent, empirical and peer-reviewed research study published in the April 2013 issue of the Journal of Political Economy to help answer the question.

In 2008, Dr. Bruce Wydick and two colleagues, conducted research on the effectiveness of international child sponsorship to help kids escape poverty. The research team envisioned the research would be a comparative look at several child sponsorship programs. However, we were the only child sponsorship organization to accept the invitation to participate in the study.

So, rather than comparing sponsorship programs of separate organizations, the research team focused exclusively on researching the adult life outcomes of formerly sponsored children in our Child Sponsorship Program against the outcomes of children who were not part of the program.

Data was collected on more than 10,000 individuals in six countries between 1980 and 1992; children enrolled during that time were adults when the research was conducted between 2008 and 2010.

The research found that Compassion-sponsored children were more likely than their non-sponsored counterparts to complete primary, secondary and tertiary education, and as adults, were more likely to be salaried employees, more likely to have white-collar jobs and more likely to be community leaders helping improve entire communities.

Because empirical research specifically comparing child sponsorship programs doesn't exist, the best child sponsorship program can't be categorically determined; however, a strong argument for our program being the best sponsorship program helping children living in poverty is that it has been scientifically validated as effective.

There's still another way to determine the top child sponsorship organization or best child sponsorship program. It's a values based approach.

Compassion Supported Children:

Spend an average of 4,000 hours in safe, nurturing programs

Stay in school up to 1.5 years longer than unsponsored peers

Are up to 18% more likely to have salaried employment in their adult years

Are up to 40% more likely to finish secondary education

Are up to 80% more likely to graduate college

Are up to 75% more likely to become leaders in their communities

What is the Best Charity to Sponsor a Child With?

The best charity to sponsor a child with is the one that best matches your values. Although there may be similarities between child sponsorship programs there are also many differences to consider.

For instance, some child sponsorship charities take a broad community development approach while others focus on child development that ultimately benefits the whole community. Some will accept government funding while others rely completely on donors for program support. Some child sponsorship charities may be faith-based and some may not be.

Of course there are other points of comparison and contrast to consider, so ultimately, the best charity to sponsor a child with is the one that places its priorities where you place yours.

To help you make the best decision for your circumstances, priorities and values, consider these six questions before deciding which charity to sponsor a child with.

  • Who implements or administers the program?
  • Who most directly benefits from your financial support?
  • How often does the child participate in the program?
  • What does the child experience in the program?
  • What if the sponsored child has unique needs?
  • What is the role of the sponsor?

At Compassion, child sponsorship works to release children from poverty. Our program is implemented by thousands of local church partners tailoring our holistic child development model to the contextualized needs of the children they serve.

When you sponsor a child with us, the beneficiary of your support is your specific sponsored child. The family may receive additional or indirect benefits, but our focus is the one child.

The minimum standards for our Child Sponsorship Program dictate that each church-run child development center provide four to eight hours of programming each week, at least 48 weeks out of the year, and that individual child attendance be taken each time the center is open.

Through our Child Sponsorship Program we address every major aspect of a child's well-being, every element that he or she needs to survive, develop and thrive. We work to address each child's spiritual, economic, social and physical needs. A child with unique needs will benefit from additional and specialized assistance provided by our healthcare, medical, and food and nutrition initiatives, which is particularly important during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Within our Child Sponsorship Program the sponsor's role is to participate. Engaged and active sponsors help children to flourish. Beyond the monthly financial support, we ask that sponsors pray for their sponsored children and write letters a few times a year.

How Does a Child Benefit From Sponsorship?

Through our sponsorship program we address every major aspect of a child's well-being, every element that he or she needs to survive, develop and thrive. We work to address each child's spiritual, economic, social and physical needs. Our program provides:

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that unlocks the potential within their heart

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to defeat illiteracy and provide critical skills

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to protect against malnutrition

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to fight back against disease and sickness

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through a local church to overcome fear and hopelessness

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to protect from crime, violence, and danger

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Best Child Sponsorship Organizations

Compassion International is a leading Christian charity and one of the best child sponsorship organizations around. The well designed program is implemented by thousands of local churches in low- and  middle-income countries where Compassion works, and Compassion's board of directors, global partners and church partners have established clear child protection policies to keep every child in our program safe.

When you become a child sponsor, the beneficiary of your support is your sponsored child. You are encouraged to correspond with your sponsored child through regular letters and your sponsored child will correspond with you as well. This is encouraging for both parties, especially the child. Sponsored children learn that someone in another country loves them and support their dreams.

Compassion is a Christian organization and is known as one of the best child sponsorship organizations because of what the child receives as part of the program. Sponsored children receive food and clean water, medical care, educational opportunities, access to improved sanitation, training in life skills, and the opportunity to develop a lifelong relationship with God.

What makes Compassion International different than other child sponsorship organizations? There are three major distinctives.

  • Church Driven – Compassion works exclusively in partnership with thousands of local churches. The church leaders live in their communities and know how to best meet the needs of the children.
  • Child Focused – Compassion is focused on the individual child and his or her holistic development.
  • Christ Centered – Jesus Christ is the heart of Compassion's ministry to children in need.

When considering which charitable organization is the best child sponsorship organization for you, consider Compassion International. You will see a child’s life changed from your generosity.

For additional information, read our Child Sponsorship FAQ.