To make your decision easier, we've included a list of child sponsorship FAQ's below. This will hopefully clear up any queries you have before committing to sponsoring a child in the third world.
How does child sponsorship work?
As a sponsor, you make a monthly contribution to your chosen charity. This money does not go directly to the child or even their family. It funds the projects that are most needed in the area where they live. So you help not only the child you are sponsoring but also their family and their community.
Child sponsorship – NOT adoption Don’t be fooled into thinking there are any legal rights or obligations attached to becoming a sponsor. This is not the case, sponsors have no legal rights over the child whatsoever. You cannot interfere at all with the child’s upbringing and education, nor take the child out of their country. Charities advise you refer to yourself as a “friend” in letters to the child, and this is exactly what you are – a caring friend who helps provide for the child, their family and community.
Who can sponsor a child? Anyone who can afford the regular monthly donations can sponsor a child. There are no restrictions – old, young, married, single, groups, schools, classes, teams, associations etc., are all suitable sponsors.
Who should I contact to become a sponsor? Any of the charities mentioned on this website – see the Which Charity? page. All are UK registered and offer child sponsorship in many countries around the world.
How much does sponsorship cost?
Generally, sponsorship costs between £12 and £20 a month depending on the charity (although some accept less), but obviously you can donate more if you wish. On average, 80% of this money is spent directly on projects in your sponsored child's community. The remaining 20% is spent on administration, campaigning and finding new sponsors to raise additional funds. (See the Which Charity? page for details of each charity's minimum monthly contribution and their admin fees structure)
Can I sponsor a child through DontBuyIceCream?
No, DBIC is not a charity. We simply promote each of the charities involved in child sponsorship, and aim to answer any sponsorship questions you may have.
How can I be sure that my money will be spent in the child’s community? All registered charities are independently audited and regulated by the Charity Commission to ensure all funds are managed and spent appropriately. The Charity Commission is established by law as the regulator and registrar for charities in England and Wales. Their aim is "to provide the best possible regulation of charities in England and Wales in order to increase charities' effectiveness and public confidence and trust". For this reason, we only include UK registered charities on our Which Charity? page.
Can I choose the child I sponsor? Some sponsors have a particular affiliation with or have visited a country they would like their sponsored child to be from, or prefer to sponsor girls to boys. Any such requests will be met if possible. Alternatively you can leave that decision to the charity who would choose for you the child from the community in greatest need of your support.
Will I be the only person sponsoring that particular child? Generally, yes, however some charities allow one child to be sponsored by more than one sponsor.
What do I receive when I become a sponsor? You'll receive a welcome pack containing photos and a profile of the child you are sponsoring. This also includes information about the sponsored child’s family and community, and the projects the charity is working on in the child’s area. This is all on top of the great feeling you'll have that you're "doing your bit".
Does child sponsorship cause problems within the community because only a few children are sponsored? No, quite the reverse, because helping one child has a knock-on effect for the whole community. This is because the children in the projects go home and teach the rest of their family, who in turn help to teach the community.
Do the charities take all children from a family into a sponsorship project? Not normally. Instead of taking 4 children from each of 10 families they would normally take 1 child from each of 40 families. In this way they can impact 40 families instead of only 10.
How often will I hear from my sponsored child? As a sponsor you will generally receive about two letters per year from the child you sponsor or someone writing on their behalf – like a school teacher or project worker. You will also receive copies of any newsletter or magazine published by the charity concerned.
Can I write to my sponsored child?
Yes, it is actively encouraged by all charities involved in sponsorship. The charities offer guidelines about what to include in your letter, and more importantly what not to include, so you don't inadvertently offend anyone due to cultural differences, or by inappropriate reference to material possessions etc. All letters are sent to the charity who pass these onto the child concerned. Children love to hear from their sponsors and many find it easier to write back if they are already receiving letters, but please remember that many of them have never been to school and cannot write letters yet! It is recommended you write to your sponsored child 3 or 4 times a year, but obviously this is not compulsory.
Can I send gifts to the child I sponsor?
Generally, yes. However, the sending of large or expensive material gifts is discouraged so as to avoid any rivalry, jealousy or animosity between the children. Therefore gifts should be small, light and inexpensive. The charities offer advice on what type of gifts to send and some have their own catalogues containing suitable gifts.
Can I visit the child that I sponsor? Yes. You can arrange to visit your sponsored child via your charity who will help to facilitate the trip as much as possible, although obviously you will have to finance the trip yourself. Visiting a project can be a valuable, fulfilling and educational event, enabling you to develop a real understanding of the context of your charity's work. You will see the projects that you are helping to make possible through your sponsorship and see the difference the work is making to the children’s lives. There are certain visit guidelines and protocols that must be followed to ensure that visits are conducted safely and in a way that will benefit both child and sponsor.
How do I pay? Direct Debit is the safest, easiest and most cost efficient way to pay your donations. The process is protected by the Direct Debit Guarantee.
What is the Inland Revenue’s Gift Aid scheme? This enables your charity to claim back from the Inland Revenue the tax that you will have paid on the money you donate - making your donations worth almost a third more at no extra cost to you. Completing a Gift Aid declaration does not affect your tax status or commit you to supporting your charity's work for a specified length of time. If you pay tax at the higher rate you can claim further tax relief in your Self Assessment tax return. We strongly recommend that all sponsors sign up to the gift aid scheme, everyone's a winner - except the Revenue!
How long will my sponsorship last? You may sponsor a child for as long as you wish, there is no minimum period. As the charity’s work is generally on long-term projects, it is hoped that you will want to remain a sponsor for some time. Children are normally sponsored until the end of their secondary education, generally sixteen or eighteen. However, circumstances can change during your sponsorship: the child's family might migrate to another area, the charities work within that community might come to an end or simply your financial circumstances could change. You can stop sponsorship at any time, no questions asked.
The above answers may vary slightly for each charity. Therefore we've included below links to each charity's FAQ page. Please just click on the relevant logo.
"Each year 40 million people die from hunger and hunger-related diseases. This figure is equivalent to more than 300 jumbo jet crashes every day with no survivors - and almost half the victims are children."
DontBuyIceCream.com Child Sponsorship Homepage : Is It For You? : Sponsorship Experience : Which Charity? : Stats & Facts : Additional Info : Contact Us