I started sponsoring Jessica in Ocumicho, Michoacan Mexico 6 months ago. Initially, I was only going to sponsor her every month. However, after just 2 heartwarming letters and pictures from Jessica, I decided to utilize ChildFund's amazing business model and infrastructure in order to "take things to a different level". Some sponsors only do the $28/month and leave it at that. That's fine, because now another child has been sponsored. However, there are so many things a sponsor can do beyond just the monthly sponsorship to have an even bigger impact on their child, their community and the world. Here's are some other things I have started or completed in only the first 6 months of sponsoring Jessica. Regular letters and pictures - hard to explain the feeling, but AWESOME! Scheduled $50 birthday and Christmas monetary gifts. It is amazing to see the impact and joy such a small gift brings to these wonderful children. You are also really moved how the children allocate the money - food, educational tools and always themselves last. This takes the experience to an incredible level most people have never experienced. Send special monetary gifts if possible in addition to the scheduled monetary gifts. Same effect. Amazing! ChildFund processes these monetary gifts for a flat $3.50 handling fee. Such an amazing, cost effective and easy to use sponsor tool to utilize! The money goes monthly to the national offices, converted to local currency and hand delivered to your child. So, where can a sponsor go from there? I have chosen to do 2 other things to help make an impact. I established a university fund for Jessica. $600/year totaling $5,400 when she is ready to attend. It's invested in America Movil stock that is owned by Carlos Slim in Mexico (richest man in the world). Jessica is very excited trying to decide what type of bachelor's degree she wants to achieve. Very, very exciting! Lastly, I decided to "kick it up one last notch". I have created "The Ocumicho Project" plan with the help of the wonderful ladies at ChildFund. The project's goal is finding sponsors for the remaining 45 children in Ocumicho still without sponsors. My coworkers and friends can literally call the ChildFund 800 number, reference "The Ocumicho Project", get set up as a new sponsor and have one of Jessica's classmates immediately moved into their new sponsor account! All I can say is amazing! The journey is just getting started! What other company (profit or non profit) would offer these existing sponsor tools and new opportunities for their sponsors??? Incredible company! Incredible group of people! Get on board or the train is leaving the station without you! :)
I had to cancel my donation to childfund. They still deducted from my account anyway. The person was not pleased that I had to cancel. I have donated for many years and am unable to do so for a while. Resent the additional guilt forced on me by the person I spoke with.
ChildFund I. 05/18/2016
Hello – We’re sorry to hear about this experience, and we would like to make every effort to resolve it. To do so, however, we need a way to connect with you. Would you please reach out to Sponsor Care directly at 1-800-776-6767 or email us at email@example.com? Regardless of where we land, please know that we really are grateful for your care in having sponsored a child in the first place and understand that sometimes circumstances change such that you are no longer able to continue the sponsorship. Please be assured that we thank you for all of your support.
Rating: 5 stars
Many of the one-star reviews seem to be based on misconceptions. I have been sponsoring children through ChildFund International, previously named Christian Children's Fund, for 44 years. I am convinced that it is a very good organization that does good work. Your sponsorship is not a matter of handing money over to the family. As Childfund explains in the article at https://www.childfund.org/uploadedFiles/public_site/media/publications/CW-Summer2013.pdf
"your monthly donation is combined with those of other sponsors in your child's area to benefit the entire community, so that children have what they need to thrive."
As I understand it, some of the money is spent directly on the child, paying for school fees, etc. but a good part is spent on things that benefit all the children in the community. This is far more effective than just handing out money. Money that you send as a gift to the child or the family does go directly to them and they report back on what they spent it on. Once a year, you receive a report telling what has been done at the project in the past year. These include initiatives in the area of education, health, and income self-sufficiency.
I understand the disappointment in not receiving enough letters, although I admit to being guilty of not writing often enough. Some children will be more interested in writing than others. In the early years I had a number of children who did not write much. Although I know this is probably not fair to the younger children I always request an older child rather than a baby when it is time to get another child so that the child will be more likely to be able to write to me. Also, so far I've had 4 girls in Uganda who liked writing letters and whose letters do not require translation because they write in English. Sometimes I'll even get a letter from a cousin or other relative with whom my sponsored girl has shared my letters. Because of this good experience, I've always selfishly asked for another girl in Uganda when one graduated out of the program. Perhaps this is coincidence or perhaps children in English-speaking countries in Africa are more interested in communicating with other English-speakers.
I also sponsor a girl in Vietnam who doesn't say much when she writes but I am glad to sponsor her because I went to Vietnam on a ChildFund tour and was able to see first-hand what ChildFund is doing there improving schools, building health clinics, improving sanitation, creating sustainable income generation activities, and getting the communities to take ownership of activities to improve the lives of the people.
As to the complaints about dealing with ChildFund about sponsorship or money issues I have always found the people at the 800 number very helpful. If you want to end or change the money deductions from your bank or credit card they will take care of it for you. For questions about the child, they may need to forward them to the country office. That will take longer for a response.
I have been sponsoring children through ChildFund International, previously named Christian Children's Fund, for 39 years. Sponsoring a child through this organization was one of my priorities when I first started working and I have not been disappointed. Some children left the program for various reasons but I was able to sponsor a girl in Uganda from secondary school through Medical School. She is now involved in AIDS vaccine research. I also sponsored a boy in Brazil until age 18 and was glad to receive his letters telling of career plans which only would be possible because of the assistance he had received through this organization. In recent years ChildFund has moved more and more towards helping children in their communities. They have been focusing in helping the communities move forward with improvements to livelihood, sanitation, medical and water safety conditions. Though sponsorship is still a key part of this, they are adding many other initiatives. I am very impressed with the direction that they are taking and the work that they are doing.
Be cautious... I have been sponsoring a child since last March and was surprised to receive correspondence thanking me for my 'generosity' for sponsoring another child - this was news to me! When I inquired further they provided a ridiculous explanation that the 7 year old girl I had been sponsoring all this time was no longer in the program since she had received training in beauty (?) and was employed in a beauty salon - this was a 7 year old child in a remote village in Ethiopia! Employed in a beauty salon?
I have been attempting to cancel my sponsorship but ironically there is no information or link for THAT on their website. Be very cautious - I am so disheartened and the many ratings on BBB and other non-profit reference sites makes me question their integrity as well.
ChildFund International 12/18/2015
Hello – We’re sorry to hear about this experience, and we would like to make every effort to resolve it. To do so, however, we need a way to connect with you; would you please reach out to Sponsor Care directly at 1-800-776-6767? Or you could email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Regardless of where we land, please know that we really are grateful for your care in having sponsored a child in the first place, and we’d appreciate the opportunity to make things right.
I made a specific donation of buying 10 goats. I get a card in mail that say thanks for purchasing 3 goats. I inquire about it and they give me some nonsense answer. I follow up again a couple weeks later and nothing. After my third follow up they tell me my order was correct, but I get the feeling they just wanted me to go away.
Either these guys are a fraud or poorly managed, either way they have gotten my last dollar.
Review from Guidestar
Childfund definetely does door to door fundraising campaign as it used to be not on the website and now it is as it states in FAQs . I have been a donor for 3 years and actually signed up through door to door and I had been really happy. My little girl from Guatemala is doing great and I'm planning on visiting her next year.
My boyfriend has been sending money, allegedly to a child. From day one I told him to be careful with these charity organizations. I myself donate a good amount of money to different organizations to people in need, orphans, animals in the United States. I have personally been involved with orphans in the U.S. and their living conditions. We are in so much shortage that now foster parents should step in until the state governments can find some place for the orphans.
What bothers me the most is that Anne Lynam Goddard receives over quarter of a million as salary, living a luxury life in London, (most probably sending her kids to expensive private schools in London, I suppose); this is outrageous.
I think that donors should do a diligent research about where their money goes and how much is actually spent on "charity" rather than financing a luxury life for the CEO, almost tax free.
After I told my bf about the CEO and her salary, he was so upset that he wanted to call her (I didn't let that happen), however, he is convinced that all he donates, in fact, doesn't go to the "kid" he is sponsoring. I only hope that at least some of that goes to the kid, once the CEO's salary is set aside.
ChildFund International 02/02/2015
Thanks for your comment. Please be advised that our CEO, Anne Goddard, does not live in London but in Richmond, Va., where our headquarters is located. The salary of our CEO is comparable to that of CEOs of other international nonprofits. One thing to note is that these CEOs are running multi-million-dollar international operations that endeavor to change the world. That means the CEOs have to bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the position. Because this question is asked on occasion, we’d like to share with you a Charity Navigator report about the compensation of CEOs in the charity world: http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=studies.ceo#.VM-hXC7eI2A ChildFund places a high emphasis on stewardship and accountability. Last year, we devoted 83.5% of revenues to program services for children; 9.2% was used for fundraising so that we can reach more supporters and 7.3% went to management and general operations. You'll find these numbers and more information about what those funds accomplish at this link, where you can also read our annual report: https://www.childfund.org/Accountability/
A year ago, while on vacation in Branson, MO, we enjoyed the Texas Tenors Show. During the intermission they requested that we consider sponsoring a child from a selection of ChildFund International needy children in the lobby. I selected a 6 year old Zambian girl. i am enjoying helping her and her family. Though she doesn't speak English, her grandmother and also a family friend write and keep me informed about Agness. For the price of a movie and snacks, you can provide a needy child some where in the world with a better life and education. I highly recommend ChildFund. It is a worthy organization.
I support a 6.5 year old girl in Brazil and have been doing this for about 2 years. The more letters I have been exchanging with her and her family the more I have come to know their situation and the individual personalities. This has been very meaningful to me in they have truly appreciated my support and have shared their gratitude in multiple pictures/drawings of my child's life.
I know the monthly sponsorship is doing great things in the community and directly for my sponsor child and her family from the letters and pictures they have sent me from the project. Knowing that this is being managed so well has given me confidence to send extra money for birthday and Christmas etcetera. The response from my sponsor and her family has been extremely heart warming and gratifying for me so much that I have just recently returned from an in person visit with them.
I was only able to spend two days with them and the expense seemed high when I was planning the trip but in looking back it was worth every dime. The U.S. National Child Fund personnel did a great job setting the agenda up with the local Child Fund Brazil personnel. I was concerned about going to a foreign country and not knowing anyone or the language.
The local Child Fund Brazil personnel set up all the meetings, interpreter as well as transportation even picking restaurants and beach area to enjoy our time together. The local Project that Child Fund has their, set up a surprise performance from the children including, Ballet, Guitar and a choir of children that put on a moving performance. The performance and gratitude from the children brought me to tears, (I was sure at 50 years old I would be able to fight that off). The hospitality and gratitude from my sponsor child/family and all of the children and Child Fund Brazil personnel was so genuine and meaningful. I can't express how meaningful the whole experience with Child Fund has been for me other than to say I'm so grateful.
I await my next letter that will have the pictures from the last few moments I had with my sponsor child to go with my 300+ other pictures. I have selected my new desk picture for my office and home which includes my family and I on our first day together. I have seen the impact Child Fund is making on the community in my sponsor's area first hand and can't encourage you enough to enrich your life the way I have through this program.
I have bee a sponser since the 70's. Connecting with a child from another culture and different part of the world is tremendously rewarding. Getting to know them through letters and feeling their gratitude and happiness through their letters is the best. This organization is totally dedicated to helping children worldwide.
I love this charity, as it helps provide for the needs of the children that go beyond just feeding them. They receive an education, and donors get to see their progress over the years. It gives children the opportunity to make a difference in their communities and possibly someday the world. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to know my child in some small way.