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How Do I Sponsor a Child?

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  • Written By: Lainie Petersen
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 06 July 2018
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    Conjecture Corporation
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To sponsor a child through a charitable sponsorship program, you should first investigate the reputation of several programs, review your obligations under the program, and then select both the charity and the child you wish to sponsor. Fraudulent child sponsorship charities have existed in the past, so it is a good idea to focus your selection efforts on the reputation of the charity that manages the program. Once you have determined the integrity of a program, you can then consider other factors involved in sponsoring a child, including the way the program operates and your ability to maintain contact with your sponsored child and his or her family.

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Unlike making donations to a charity that uses your money toward its general expenses, when you sponsor a child you have the opportunity to interact directly with a charity's client. In some cases, the funds you provide through a child sponsorship program directly benefit a child and his family, while in other cases your money is pooled with other sponsorship payments and charitable funds to provide assistance to a community. It may also be possible for you to make additional payments that can directly benefit a child. For example, you may be able to provide a child with holiday and birthday gifts, needed clothing or materials for school, or a child's school tuition. As a general rule, you will receive pictures of your sponsored child and will be able to exchange correspondence with your child and perhaps with the rest of her family.

Some charities are better than others at managing their funds and reducing administrative expenses. You should research the reputation of a charity and evaluate its financial documentation in order to determine whether most of your funds will directly benefit the child whom you decide to sponsor. Unfortunately, some charities may encourage you to sponsor a child primarily as a marketing gimmick, and the child may receive little or no direct support from your contributions. Choose to sponsor a child through a sponsorship agency that has a good reputation and that is scrupulous about filing tax documentation.

The decision to sponsor a child requires an ongoing financial commitment. Choose a child sponsorship agency that requires a monthly payment that you can afford. You should also find out about the services provided by the child sponsorship agency, including whether your child will be encouraged to remain in school and whether the child will continue to receive decent food and medical care. If you are concerned about the religious affiliation of a child sponsorship agency, ask about this before committing to child sponsorship. In some cases, the agency has a religious affiliation but also respects the religion and culture of the population whom it serves and does not attempt to proselytize.

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