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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Plan International USA, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Disaster Aid, Disaster Preparedness & Relief Services, International, International Development, International Relief

Mission: Plan International USA, part of the Plan International Federation, is a child-centered development organization that believes in the promise and potential of children. For more than 75 years in over 50 developing countries, Plan has been breaking the cycle of child poverty. Everything Plan does – from strengthening health care systems to improving the quality of education, to advocating for increased protection and beyond – is built with, and owned by, the community. The result is a development approach designed to improve the lives of the youngest members of the community for the longest period of time. For more information, please visit PlanUSA.org.

Target demographics: Plan programs help millions of children and their families escape the cycle of poverty in countries around the world.

Geographic areas served: 51 developing countries across the Americas, Asia, and Africa. Program countries include: Bangladesh, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Laos, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Uganda, Vietnam, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Programs: Plan child-centered program areas include: health, water & sanitation, education, disaster relief & resilience, and nutrition.

Community Stories

73 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 5

Plan International's approach is to strengthen communities by strengthening the situation of the children and youth. The Plan donor connects to one specific child or youth, but the monthly funds go towards educational, health related and other programs in the area where the sponsored child lives. Yet Plan gently pushes (by sending reminders, by supplying stationary) the direct communication between donor and child. To receive a personal letter 2 or 3 times a year from your sponsored child makes the monthly contributions more real - although you know they go to the community and thus only indirectly to the child. But still, these letters are very special.I value this approach as many people benefit from it, and thus elevate entire villages or even regions. My husband and I just recently (March 2017) had the opportunity and privilege to visit our foster child Keysi in the Dominican Republic. The Plan office in the general area where she lives has about 25 to 30 staff members. Over the course of the day many of the social workers take off on their mopeds to check on or teach or hold meetings in their specific village. Each village has a small simple Plan community center. Here are a few examples of the projects and programs that Plan offers or gets involved in in this area: Early childhood stimulation - kind of a kindergarden/preschool to support the physical, cognitive and socio-emotional development of young children. Special support for 3rd and 4th grade children with learning difficulties. Nutritional classes for children and parents. Money management for youth and parents, learn how to save and how to budget, and get micro-loans. Childrens Rights project teaching children about their rights and parents how to discipline without abuse. Empowerment of girls projects with an emphasis on equal right as well as sexuality and prevention of teen pregnancies. There are many more projects, but those were the ones that the Plan people talked about. Plan organized our visit very well. We had a driver, a translater and a field worker who gave us their whole day to show us around. We first met our foster child Keysi who is 14 years old at school. We pretty much crashed her English class, and it was a very emotional first meeting. Apart from the personal connection I was happy to see that the school was pretty new, in very good shape, and all girls and boys were wearing nice school uniforms, including Keysi. However, I am not sure to what extent Plan contributes to the school, the learning equipment and the uniform, and if the school provides meals or not. At a different school, a small primary school, we met Keysi's mother who is a teacher. This too was a very emotional encounter. The Plan people took all of us including Keysi and her mother to several villages in the area where we met neighbors and friends, and visited Plan community centers. We all went out to lunch to further talk and connect. Later we all drove to Keysi's home and met her father and her brothers. I was pleasantly impressed to see that they lived in a nice small home that they had built themselves over the course of several years. It appeared to have running water and electrical, and Keysi as the only girl had her own bedroom! Overall I had the impression that Plan is doing an excellent job in this area. I am very happy with this organization. I have been with them for over 20 years. The only thing I wished they would change is that they would allow for the children, once they "graduate" from the program at age 18, to stay in touch with their donors if they so wish. It was always hard for me to just cut off the relation and never hear a word again from the child that's been somewhat part of your life for many years......

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Pan Int. since 1987. After loosing the first sponsor child to an illness, my sponsor child was little boy named Jorge form the Honduras. We corresponded back and fourth for years. I sent him pictures of me and my friends & family, the vacations I went on, and whatever else was going on in my life. But I must admit, the cynic in me always questioned whether the boy I was writing to was always the same one replying to me. It seemed so unlikely that for almost 14 years with all the thousands of children that Plan assists all over the world would be able to actually forward all my letter & pictures, and makes sure the same boy replies with his thanks and life experiences. Then one day I received a letter from Jorge letting me know he was no longer eligible to receive assistance as he was now an adult and therefore I would not longer be able to correspond through Plan. I was sad. But I realized that I would be able to help another child and that was fine as well. Years past. One day I received a friend request. on Facebook from a young man named Jorge. Because of how many years had past I didnt recognize the young man in the picture. I replied "who is this"? He not only replied with his full name, location and pictures of himself, but with a single picture of every photo I had ever sent to him, layed out one next to the other. I was dumbfounded. It was very emotional for both of us. And then a few weeks later he called me on FaceTime. And although he did not speak any English, Jorge introduced me to his family and friends as they sat around in the same modest dwelling he had sent me pictures of many years ago. He did his best to wipe the tears from his face as he smiled and showed me around. It was to say the least one of the most emotionally intense moments of which I will never forget.
Jorge and I now communicate through what's app. We are now good friends and hopefully will be able to meet face to face some day.
For anyone who questions as I did, whether the letters they write, the pictures they send and letters they receive actually go to (and are from) their sponsor child, let my experience serve as proof, they most certainly do.
All of this means your monthly donation not only REALLY does change & benefit the life of a specific child, but also that the time you spent corresponding and sharing your life with that child in need, is REAL. And that is just as important. To both of you.
Brian Back/Boston MA

Comments ( 1 )

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PlanDonorLoyalty 10/23/2019

We are so happy to hear that you and Jorge have connected after all these years. A reminder to all current and potential sponsors, Plan’s Policy clearly states that all communications should be handled through Plan International offices, if a child is active in the program. If there is an interest in continued correspondence (once the child has turned 18 and graduated from the program), Plan has a process in place to assist with this transition. Please do not hesitate to contact a member of our Donor Loyalty Team at 1-800-556-7918, with any questions. Kind regards, Michelle, Director Donor Engagement and Loyalty

Alfredo F.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

We've partnered with Plan International USA for several years. They have an amazing team who are determined to take their mission above and beyond. Their attention to detail makes our Co-produced campaigns stand out empowering our audience to make a positive change in their communities.

Tonia C.3

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been sponsoring children for several years with different non-profit organizations. I am currently sponsoring 10 children with Plan International. I am very pleased that my donations are benefiting the very cause needed in each community where my children reside. Plan international always sends me updates on the progression of programs implemented where needed in each community where my children live. In addition, I love the letters I receive from my children expressing the gratitude, appreciation and progression in their education. As a non-profit organization, Plan international demonstrates the care and love for children, which is a spiritual and kingdom principle: Matthew 18:5 , Christ states: "And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me." Christ care about the children and whosoever takes care of children, one shall surely be Blessed and rewarded by "The King of Glory" Himself.

1 Judy Mayer N.

Donor

Rating: 4

I have been a sponsor of several children over the years, and enjoyed receiving updates about them. It was also a learning experience for me, since Plan includes information about the region where the children live. Because Plan pools the funds from sponsors in the area and uses them to address needs specific to the neighborhood, I always felt that my donations provided the most benefit. In fact, with one of my sponsored children, after Plan completed their specified objective and had the community working to maintain it, they sent me an update and provided the opportunity for me to choose a new child to sponsor.

I would recommend Plan as a well run, effective organization for improving the lives and communities of children who need a helping hand.

Donor

Rating: 5

Years ago, my husband and I, decided to sponsor a 3 year old child, named Rolande, who lives in Burkina Faso.
Plan International USA welcomed us as a child sponsorship and introduced us our new sponsored little girl including photo, background information and a guide which explained how our sponsorship was important and will make a difference not only in the life of Rolande but also in the like of a child in Burkina Faso, providing access to childhood essentials like water, good education, and medical care.
Except that, we are frequently receiving report as well as a chart showing clearly how our contribution is used.
We can contact Plan USA, as often as we want, if necessary.
We are communicating to Rolande through Plan USA, receiving regularly letters and drawings letting us know how she is doing.
Plan USA, is a very efficient "non profit" organization.

Donor

Rating: 5

Plan USA is a great organization, and motivated my whole family to donate. Their literature clearly dhefines the needs that the orgaynization plans to fulfill with your donation, and makes it interesting and meaningful to donate, especially for the kids. In fact, for my daughter’s birthday one year she asked for donations for soccer balls for the kids in the program rather than gifts for herself. We also love giving donations for specific items as gifts at the holidays, and our family members appreciate and enjoy receiving them as well.

Matthew E.1

Donor

Rating: 5

My experience with Plan international has exceeded all expectations. The whole team there are the best at what they do. They’re helpful, knowledgeable, and really care about the children that they serve. I would recommend them to anyone who is looking for a great organization to donate to!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I came in contact with Plan International USA in April 2018 at a Global Women In Management (GWIM) Skill Development Training Workshop in Washington Dc. I learned lots of interesting lessons among which were co-facilitating training workshops and Hofstede's power distance as applied to society.
On return to Cameroon, I enthusiastically facilitated eight training workshops in six months from June to December 2018, with 276 women and 91 men in attendance. This has visibly reduced the gender widening gap as Hofstede's masculinity versus femininity was exposed at each capacity building workshop. The effect is that 60 men have stopped their wives never to mourn by sitting or sleeping on the flow because it is gender bias. Today they Know what is helpful and assist their wives to do house chores , what use to be a cultural taboo. Consequently, they have willingly collaborated enough for me to be able to assist 11 couples so far to certify their marriages to give women and or widows the opportunity to secure and own land and family property like their male counterparts.
These activities have earned me three community impact awards in 2018, one international and two national. A multiplier effect has been witnessed in other parts of the country carried out by some of the participants who were trained.
Thanks one again to Plan international USA and its my fervent plea that they should not relent their effort in the training and mentoring of women.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

Plan International USA and GWIM have done a lot but specifically for 2018, they have subtly uncoverd knowledge on indispensable gender considerations, responsibilities and design deliberations for me to effectively facilitate trainings. Above all, Co-facilitating skills where expose that improve my ability, adequately motivating for me to confidentiality deliver step-down trainings (want to be experienced by June 2018 in Cameroon)

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been sponsoring children through Plan International since 1968. My first child was a little girl in Peru. At that time I was living in Lima...so it was easy to visit her and her family about 4-5 hours north. Since then, I have sponsored many children in many different countries, mostly Spanish-speaking countries. This past summer I went to Nicaragua to visit my "girl." This was my third visit....she will be 18 in October and so will leave the program. I've sponsored her since she was about 6 years old. I also visited my "girl" in Honduras for the second time. She is now only 11. Plan is a phenomenal organization! Actually seeing the work that they do in country and meeting the Plan staff is inspiring. They are very dedicated to all the children in their area...they visit frequently bringing letters and just in general checking up on the kids. When I lived in Peru, there was a massive earthquake off the coast that affected the area where my child lived. It was May 1970 and I happened to have a school vacation not long afterwards. So I went to the area and volunteered as a translator for a week since many people were understandably leaving the area. I had an inside view of how Plan operates...once again it was wonderful to see the way the staff checked up on the sponsored children and helped them in this very difficult time. The first photo is of my "girl" and her class in Honduras making a "foto loca" where the kids all act a little crazy (2019)! The second photo is me and my "girl" in Nicaragua in 2017.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been with Plan International for over 15 years now, and have sponsored several children through them, they are a wonderful organization.
Most of the girls I sponsor are in India or nearby since I go there often. This year I did a second visit to my sponsored child, Kailashi, in Udaipur on March 1st, and have also visited the village two years ago. On both occasions I was taken by the wonderful Kiran Pandey, of Seva Mandir, Plan's partner organization. The first visit was a full day, I was shown around all the project which included providing latrines, building dams to preserve water and a children's kindergarten school before going on to Kailashi's village. On arrival there I was greeted like a visiting dignitary! a brass band, and marigold malas around my neck , the whole village was assembled . Some of the young children recited poems and did a little performance for me. Followed by a village meeting. On both occasions we bought notebooks and pens, cricket bat and foot ball for the children, so there was much excitement! It was great to meet Kailashi herself, and her family. Thanks to Plan and Seva Mandir they are all doing well.
The entire visit was extremely well organized, both Bryan Marshall at Plan and Kiran Pandey at Seva Mandir went way beyond to assist me when my credit card was compromised. Sending big thanks to them both, and yes I would highly recommend Plan International.

Donor

Rating: 5

The work this organization does is wonderful, heart and soul warming. We have sponsored a young woman from Mail for several years, having first been approached by an energetic, personable, intelligent college student who was going door to door in our neighborhood. Although distant, this type of targeted giving adds a human element to the financial support. I also want to say that time and again I have found Plan International's support services to be among the best I have experienced in the profit or non profit world. Without exception the people I have dealt with have been responsive, helpful, professional, polite and a pleasure to work with. On all fronts, in substance and in process, well done!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

One Sunday evening way back in the 1970s I watched a newsmagazine program, I no longer remember the program or the network, which featured a story juxtaposing the lives of two children. One was an 11-year-old girl in Dallas, the other an 11-yer old boy in Cairo, Egypt. The girl's parents had entered the child in a "Little Miss Dallas" competition, or some such children's beauty pageant and had spent considerable money on clothes, makeup etc. The little boy's day was spent at the massive Cairo city dump gathering "groceries" for his impoverished family. I was in my early 20s, just out of college but that program affected me to become involved in children's poverty issues. I discovered what was then called "Foster Parents Plan" during that process. What attracted me to Plan was that I could make direct contact with a specific "sponsored child," exchanging letters and drawings, learning about the child and his or her family and their community directly.
I have been involved since, sponsoring children from Sierra Leone to Senegal, to Haiti and most recently in Guatemala.
But I had never had the opportunity to visit one of my sponsored children until this past July when after some 40 years as a sponsor, I traveled to Guatemala to personally meet my sponsored child, Mayra, and her family in Chamtaca, high in the Alta Verapaz. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. From Mayra's greeting me personally when I stepped out of the Plan SUV, to all the planned activities, including visiting the schools Plan has been involved with, to getting to share in her coming 18th birthday celebration, it was a day I will never forget. The Plan staff seemed to share in my joy at seeing Mayra. They were amazing every step of the way, facilitating my trip, even when my first attempt had to be postponed and re-scheduled due to the Fuego Volcano in early June. I had literally been left standing at JFK Airport when my original flight was cancelled. But Plan staff quickly came up with alternate dates and coordinated my re-scheduled visit. I will never forget Mayra, who explained because of Plan assistance she could pursue her dream of becoming a teacher, saying my visit "was the best day" of her young life. It was pretty great for me too! That is why I plan to stay involved with Plan, the wonderful opportunity to meet someone special like Mayra and her family. It is as good as it gets!


Client Served

Rating: 5

Plan International is a great non-profit organization globally doing a great job in elevating women and girl children in the manner that brings about clear difference from other organizations around the world. They are so passionate about what they do.

I am an alumnae of Plan International's Global Women in Management and Women In Leadership Institute. This is a mighty institute where women are put on the right track on realizing their potentials. Women are groomed in such a way that they will take leadership to greater hight. Actually when women move forward, the world moves with them.

As a person, Plan International built my capacity on public speaking, negotiation and Advocacy amongst other skills which apparently have helped me in my work as a woman leader, coach and mentor in my constituency.

A lot of women have gained so many capacity in the course of trainings by Plan International directly and indirectly via Training of Trainers.

Plan International is indeed a hub for capacity building and development.

I must recommend Plan International for Global recognition and award for the work they do globally.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been sponsoring children in various countries through Plan International since 1989. The last 15 years my sponsored kids have been on a remote island in Samar West, Philippines. It is a small Island with no interior roads and can only be reached by small boat

Two years ago I realized I wasn't getting any younger so I decided to go and visit my kids. Plan International arranged all aspects of my trip . Local Plan staff picked me up at the airport arranged for lodging, and provided all transportation to this remote place.The trip went as smooth as silk. Not one glitch.
After the first trip, I was so enthused that I talked to many of my friends which resulted in 9 other friends thus far (more to come) that have decided to sponsor a child in the same village as my child. Per our request, Plan International made sure all of the kids were in the same village as my sponsored children.

This year I went back again and visited my kids and my friends kids sort of as an ambassador for my group.. This entailed meeting the kids and their families in their homes and then meeting the entire group together in the Community Center (Plan built) and distributing a personal gift to each child along with rice and food for their families. All of this was arranged by the local staff.
Imagine doing all of the shopping for the gifts and food and putting the meetings together and scheduling the visits to the children's homes. We are talking about 11 families. It's a logistics nightmare. Again everything went smooth and trouble free. The local staff even arranged for me to stay overnight at the mayors house.
To sum it up, I highly recommend Plan International as a charity to contribute to. I have been to the place and have seen first hand what Plan International has done... The clean water, the community center, the school. This a very worthwhile, efficient charity .
You will never be sorry. Their spirit of friendliness and caring, in my opinion, is unmatched. Possibly you could be the next person to fulfill a sponsored child's dream of meeting their sponsor in person. It was one of the best and most memorable experience of my life. Join us. Remember a small amount can make a BIG difference !!!!!
Gibbs L.
Crossville, TN

Client Served

Rating: 5

I came to Plan International USA in July 2016 for the Global Women in Management: Advancing Women's Economic Opportunities (GWIM 65), training funded by Exxon Mobil Foundation. It was an interesting and empowering program. The training came at a critical stage in my non-profit career when I was greatly challenged by the dire economic situation and pollution in my environment (the Niger Delta region).

I had the most amazing and inspirational four weeks of my life with the Plan team. The program brought together 26 women from 18 countries for an intensive 4-week management training in Leadership, Project Management, Public Speaking, Business management and Business Canvas Model. The use of the adult learning method incorporating a wide range of training design and style such as instructional, out-door group assignment, role plays, interactive sessions, field trips ingrained the lessons, in addition to the networking session at the Wilson Centre in DC and a year-long coaching session.

The field trips to 2 farms, Community Forklift (a social enterprise) and the event centre - ‘Herrington on the bay’, gave us the platform to interact with business founders, ask questions and understand the uniqueness of their different business models.

MY GAINS:
1. Enhanced/Boosted self-confidence and leadership skills
2. Improved Business and management skills
3. A broad network of women from all over the world for life (Professional & Personal Sisterhood)
4. A year-long coaching session.
5. Opportunity for the GWIM Small grant

After the training on ‘Grant Proposal Writing’, my organisation’s grant application was among those selected for the small grant from March to August 2017. We empowered 20 Women from the Cooperative in Abuloma Community by building their capacity on fish/snail farming, business development, we provided mentorship/ business support services, helped them set up a farm, provided access to financing and linked them to ready market for the sales of their produce (fishes) in February 2018. Also, 4 of the cooperative women have gained great confidence and are now running their thriving individual fish farms aside from the cooperative farm.

Moreover, with increased confidence gained from the training on fund raising and grant proposal writing, I have been able to apply and win two more grants that will empower 40 women from 2 other communities from June 2018.

I want to say a big thank you to Plan International USA team for creating this platform (GWIM) for women like me to improve our management/business skills, network with other professionals and have greater impact on more women through our work. I have gained sisters, friends and colleague in the non-profit sector that keeps spurring me to greater heights.
- Chidinma (Chichi)

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

I am Elisabeth MEKOUGOU OBAMA
A Cameroonian of 44 years old, a mother of three young girls. I am a social worker and strong women leader in my family, my work and my community. I discovered CEDPA in 2009 through GWIM 51 in Cameroon and Plan US in october 2018 in Washington.
With those two participations, I increased my leadership in different aspects of my life individual, professional and in the community. I've noticed that my statute has changed; I move on to an upper statute and I inspire where ever I am. my opinion is more taken in consideration by my husband, by the media, the public administrations, the civil society, the communities, my office. Plan have developed my capacities, skills and attitudes that bring positive change needed by the women and other citizen. I strongly think that, I am capable to do more and I will be in the future, a great personality in my country. Just to give you a bit picture of what I meant:
I owe a lot to Plan US for the training of the trainers in designing curriculum, development of skills for training workshop. For example, since my return back to Cameroon in october 2 018, I have been able to organize a restitution workshop. Then, I facilitated several training workshops, among its, I will just mention two workshops:
In February 2018, Caritas Douala organized a training workshop for the community’s leaders, victims of forced evictions in Douala, titled “the appropriation of legal instruments for the protection of human rights and recourse mechanisms”.
And, from April 22 to 30, 2018, UNFPA selected me as a co-facilitator of a training of trainers’ workshop titled "Developing technical, personal and ethical skills in the psychosocial and medical care of women and children, survivors of gender-based violence.
It was with a great joy that I used participatory methods with brain storming, role play, simulations, work group. In addition, I also used the continuum, the spiral of learning. I was also bee charge to design:
• the profile for the selection of participants who came from the Ministry of women's empowerment and the family, Ministry of Social Affairs, women's community relay associations,
• pre-test and post-test of participants
• the final evaluation of the training by the participants
• Organizers and participants enjoyed the speedometer and the spider meter tools for daily evaluation, that I discovered for my first time in Washington with Jennifer
I feel more and more professional and my expertise makes me go through doors. But, for me, to be totally happy, I would like to see similar training of trainers for African women in French speaking areas. Therefore, I recommend that you ask your financial partners to help you organize this by next year either in Senegal, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire or other countries. I could be a volunteer to support the preparation without asking any reward.
Another wonderful information: I have succeeded to design and facilitate the training in English knowing that, I am a french speaking leaving in a francophone environment.

Thanks again to Plan US through its Capacity Building Unit and thanks to its donors.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a sponsor through Plan International since 1984. I started sponsorship when I was 18 years old because I felt that I had many blessings living in the U.S. and God calls us to all do our part to love and care for others, particularly children, in this world. I lost track of how many children I have sponsored over the years as they grow into adulthood but I have their pictures and family stories saved. When exchanging letters with the children and their families it is wonderful to see how much a small amount from our perspective can improve their lives. Plan does not just provide food but they help communities with projects that have lasting impact on the communities and the families. Digging wells, providing education support, training regarding healthcare, providing medical care, etc. They have a long term plan which is so vital. I will continue to sponsor until the day the good Lord decides to take me home !

1 Emmanueludo

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

Plan international USA changed the lives of twenty rural women in ikot obio idim community in Nigeria through its grant program.
Their income level was increased by 30% thereby giving them a voice in their families because they can now contribute to their family income .
The Gwim 65 opened my career and organization to see the untapped potentials hidden in our rural sisters .

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Over the years I have implemented parts of my vision to empower women through Focus On Women Institute in Cape Town, South Africa. I knew that for me to fully execute this vision there’s a skills gap I needed to close. Today, I am proud to say that Plan, through its GWIM programme which I attended in 2017, has closed that gap. My leadership, mentorship and facilitation skills have been greatly heightened. GWIM has given me all that I needed to fully function in equipping women to be effective leaders and transformation agents, as well as in economically empowering them to not only be survivalists (living from hand to mouth) but engage in sustainable economic activities that not only serve themselves and their households but add to the national accounts. When I reflect on how GWIM has impacted my life, I think of Page and Czuba (1999)’s definition of empowerment as a process of giving people "capacity to implement". This is exactly what Plan through GWIM did to me.

1

Donor

Rating: 4

I gave four-stars just to get your attention! I consider Plan a five-star, over-all, but am frustrated with the gifts-to-sponsored-children requirements. I started sponsoring children (then Plan was called Foster Parents, I believe) in 1965. I recall having few limitations on gifts -- large stuffed animals were okay, etc. (I agree that is no longer feasible for economic reasons.) And for a while, more recently (within the past years, that is), I recall Plan's decision to eliminate anything except stickers, coloring pages. There was an issue of jealousy in small villages when some sponsored children did not receive anything. I agreed with that position, and Plan's attempt to deal with problems at customs (including bribing), and lost or stolen items. I also believe that Plan's Charity ratings have improved in the last few years -- now 5-stars because of better fiscal policies. BUT (you saw that coming!) I am frustrated with the "new/newer" gift limitations -- in part because they seem to be inconsistent. For example: Now we have 8 children, one in Ecuador, 7 in the Philippines. I sent each a "school kit" which included a mesh, zippered pouch (@ 5x7 in); a few pencils, erasers, small pencil sharpener, a few yellow highlighters, a few gel pens, rubber bands, a few large paper clips, and a small (as in mini-mini) notebook. I got a telephone call from a Plan representative (cannot recall her name) who said that she would have to divide up the items in the kit, and send them at different times. She said that I was permitted one small gift every two months, and that the gift could not be larger than 4 in x 6 in, by about 1/2 in. (I had asked if I could send a small dictionary that I measured to be 5 in x 7 in x 3/4 in -- no, not on her list). One of the kids thanked me for the three pencils and small notebook. I do not know if she received (or will receive) the rest -- but, hey, this was a school kit! I continue to look for a mini dictionary that is no larger than 4 in x 6 in x 1/2 in! Then, I noticed that Plan does not permit sharp objects -- understandably. But, a compass and protractor set, sealed in a hard plastic shell? Well, is that okay to send to kids between 12 and 17 years old? Or what about a small sewing kit -- with a micro-scissors? I contacted Plan and the person who responded by email was great, and really tried to be helpful. She told me there was no limit on gifts -- well, that is not what I was told. After she checked with a supervisor (about a mini-umbrella -- answer was no) she advised me to use a sandwich baggy to determine if the item was okay. Well, they are about 4 x 6 -- but will pencils fit in those? So, how about a quart-sized baggy; yes, the item should be relatively thin (perhaps no more than 2 inches), and weight must be a consideration, of course. And are hairbands considered clothing? What about barrettes -- would that be jewelry (I am talking about Walmart stuff -- not Ivanka's line). Surely Plan could do better in providing a great list of possibilities -- have staff visit a dollar store, for example, and come up with a good list! And how many times can we send small gifts? I do understand the issues -- including some kids getting more than others; and most certainly Customs, and just the extraordinary cost of sending items internationally. I do know that Plan has a short list of possibilities -- but insufficient information I think. I should add that I remember that Plan at one time had a system allowing sponsors to buy items, such as backpacks. Well, I thought the items were too expensive -- but perhaps that is petty. I would not mind such a possibility for such items as backpacks, but would hope that "small gifts" still could be individualized by the sponsor. MJP from Maryland

Comments ( 1 )

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PlanDonorLoyalty 03/07/2018

Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback. We appreciate your concern and desire to connect with your sponsored children. We apologize if our gift policy was not clearly explained to you. As you mentioned, in recent years, there have been modifications to our gift guidelines. These changes were implemented as a global policy, which we are required to follow. After receiving your feedback, we reviewed our gift guidelines and have updated our website to more clearly reflect our policy. Moving forward we will ensure that we provide consistent messaging, surrounding this policy. Please know, we truly value your long-term support and appreciate your understanding. If you would like to discuss this further please do not hesitate to contact me at 1-800-556-7918. Kind regards, Michelle, Manager Donor Engagement and Loyalty

Donor

Rating: 1

My story ended in tears . I sponsored a child from Honduras. He was about 4 years old when our sponsorship began. I loved sending him gifts (at that time plan allowed gifts) letters ,which I tried to write in Spanish btw, and photos. This correspondence lasted until he was 16 years old. Then I noticed I hadn't heard from my sponsor for awhile so I called plan and they casually said that my sponsor no longer wants to be part of the sponsorship because they didn't like the work ethics of plan?? They never wrote me good bye or thank or anything!! I was broken hearted. Next plan was going to automatically send me another person to sponsor!! I I think they forget about the emotional and very human element in these relationships. I was so upset to have someone I was growing so close to, just stop corresponding. So becareful ... it's rare that a sponsor will withdraw before their 18 birthday but it happened to me . I felt that plan USA handled it very coldly with no consideration for me or my family's feelings .

Comments ( 1 )

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PlanDonorLoyalty 01/10/2018

We are truly sorry to hear about your sponsorship experience. Your feedback is extremely important to us, and we take your concerns very seriously. Unfortunately, there are instances where sponsored children and their families decide to leave our sponsorship program before the age of 18. It is very important to us that any sponsored child cancellation is handled in a sensitive and informative manner, as we understand this news is upsetting to receive, especially when you have been sponsoring your child for many years and have built a meaningful relationship. I would very much like the opportunity to discuss your experience in further detail. Please contact me at 1-800-556-7918. Kind regards, Michelle, Manager, Donor Engagement and Loyalty

Donor

Rating: 5

Very simply if you don't believe in the work, enroll in a child sponsorship, immerse yourself in the donor journey and try it yourself. I am a believer.

Luke S.1

Donor

Rating: 5

My company, Study Group, has been partnered with Plan for a number of years now and have sponsored over 10 projects around the world to bring quality education to places that need it most. I can personally attest to the incredible work Plan does, as I was able to be present for the opening of a brand new school in a remote village in northern Sri Lanka. This was my companies 10th project sponsored through Plan and it truly is incredible how Plan empowers the local community in every aspect of their projects to ensure long-term sustainability. I can't say enough how amazing this organization is and the difference they truly make in the world.

Cheryl Moore B.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have had a child since 1986. I had pen pals in school and this is even better since I can help a child and the family writes to me and I them, sharing life with them. I have had children write to me from all over the world and it makes me feel good knowing the children are thinking of me and they know I am thinking and caring about them. I convinced my daughter to give it a try and she was happy she started. The proof that they receive my help is in these letters they send. I will continue to share our lives with letters and help them and their families. The people I deal with who pass along the help and letters have always been friendly and helpful when I call the 800 number. Great Organization!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Irawati

Many lessons that I have learned from the Global Women in Management Workshop, facilitated by Plan International USA. Not only the content, but also the creative process, interesting and effective in its delivery, as well as strong leadership and compassion of its Staff. They are all professional experts in their field. Thanks to the GWIM Workshop and Staff, I become more confident, calm but strong personality and passionate to empower people, especially women.

Plan International USA Staff are very concerned about the development of alumni. There are 2 obsessions of mine that arise after attending the GWIM Workshop which are to build the network and gather the strength of GWIM alumni in Indonesia and share the leadership knowledge that we have from GWIM Workshop to more women in Indonesia. And again the Plan International USA Staff are always ready to be "behind and beside" us. This March three of us from Indonesia together with 5 other countries were invited to the Skill Building Workshop for GWIM Alumni in Designing & Facilitating GWIM Step-Down Trainings. This training was very useful for our preparation to organize Leadership Training in PEREMPUAN (WOMEN), stands for Pemberdayaan Ekonomi Perempuan Unggulan (Empowering Economic of Women Leader) to 20 women leaders from one field area of ExxonMobil in Java Indonesia last April 2017.

Picture note: Five of eight GWIM Alumni that active in PEREMPUAN, from left to right: Ayu (GWIM 60), Nur Aenah (GWIM 54), Irawati (GWIM 57), Andriyani (GWIM 57), and Thilma (GWIM 60). We are all from different organizations, united by GWIM Alumni Network in Indonesia.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My name is Catharina. I am alumnae of GWIM58 and chairman of Terasmitra Foundation. I learned alot from this workshop. I knew my capacity as a leader and implemented the knowledge to my organisation and my life. One of the best knowledge that I learned and implemented is one minutes message. This is powerfull technique to give an introduction about your passion or your mission, vision, organisation to somebody (government, donor, stakeholder) in only one minutes.
The trainers is not only as a teacher, they also like friends, sisters, and mentors. Not only give me direction but also walk with me to achive my goal.

5

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

2003 was the year when I first got an opportunity to associate with the capacity building team of Plan International USA and never looked back since then . The institution built my capacity in the area of women leadership , Women in Management and then provided several rounds of training to develop me as a coach. When I first participated in their training, I was a young , raw professional who had just started career in the field of development as a mid manager . Having come from a small town and conservative family / society in India and a bitter personal life experience , I had lost all my confidence, self esteem and was totally shattered .
Over the years of continuous training and support from Plan International USA my life was transformed completely. From an ordinary mid level Program manager I became a Country Director now of a well reputed International Development Organization. Over 15 years of my association with this amazing organization , I have been able to support thousands of disadvantaged and deprived women from the grassroots level of remotest areas in India and as a coach nearly 15 women managers from around the developing countries in their career progression.
Plan International USA very meticulously selects women from developing countries who have potential to become effective leaders , trains them , builds their capacities in every way possible and develops them as confident and competent leaders so they can further train and uplift other women who lag behind back in their countries. This organization does not take training as a one time activity but once it holds your hand they stand by you throughout. I am extremely proud to say that I am a Plan International USA Alumni and a coach . I attribute my success to my mentors in this wonderful institution ..whatever I am today is because of their hard work and efforts on me. As a return on their investment on me , I have taken a vow to uplift as many downtrodden women as I can.

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a graduate of Plan International USA’s Global Women in Management in 2015, I believe in the power and promise of every woman. Plan International USA has taken it upon themselves as a formidable team to practically build the capacities of women leaders like me who before my training could not have developed and used my potentials for the benefit of my community.
I have benefited from their training on professional and personal levels which now has ripple effect because of the step-down training I have done after GWIM training. I have trained over 100 women in leadership roles and we now have a functional cooperative of over sixty women who come together to share knowledge and skills on agricultural activities. One of them has been able to set up an oil mill with support from her husband, courtesy of the skill I gained from Plan International USA on men inclusion in advocacy. Plan International USA has been supportive to projects that build the capacity of women and open the doors to opportunity that had previously been shut.
Back in my country after the GWIM workshop, I initiated the registration of all the GWIM alumni in my country to have a common front bringing together different expertise in one house.
GWIM has guided me on improving my leadership and business skills and appreciating and investing in those skills in my employees and constituents. It has taught me how to promote gender equality and equity in a way that includes men and boy champions in our homes, businesses, and communities. In my words, I will say that Plan International’s Global Women In Management Program is a propeller, as well as a one stop shop, for women’s capacity building.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a leader of a Community Based Organisation in a developing country who had the amazing opportunity to be in the Global Women in Management (GWIM) training. This training gave me the tools to design programs that are suited to empower my beneficiaries. I thought I knew how to lead but after GWIM, I started started grooming leaders who replicated my leadership style and we are now changing our communities as leaders in our own rights. GWIM Training has played a tremendous part in giving me direction and structure to my leadership!

Client Served

Rating: 5

April 11, 2017

As one of the alumnae of Plan International USA's Global Women in Management in 2014, I have seen and experienced the great work that this organization had done through their work and investment in women. Plan International USA had taken the leap of faith in nurturing women leaders - from the professional to the personal level; a great deal of commitment and engagement that has profound effect to woman leaders like me. All staffs in Plan USA had shown their focus and passion in moving the world forward by initiating and maintaining the network of woman leaders from more than 20 countries -- which provide a strong support system for me. Post GWIM I was nominated as the host and one of the committee of 2015 Indonesia Women of Change, trained up to 100 more women in several line of works, and were able to take up at least 3 leadership position in international projects -- a proven track of putting the leadership skills and knowledge I had been invested to into practice

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was served by PLAN USA through their program Global Women In Management (GWIM). The program has built my capacity as a leader and manager of my organisation in my country. My organization has now grown and I am very greatful for all the help and support this PLAN USA continues to give to me as an alumnae of the GWIM program.

Previous Stories
1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was served by PLAN International USA, Inc through Global Women In Management workshop that they run. The training has been the best capacity building training I have ever received and coming from a developing nation, it has been such a godsend. My organisation has a strategic management plan, and our programs running well all due to the much needed training I got from PLAN USA.

2

Donor

Rating: 4

My Dad used to support children via Plan International his whole life. I remember him reading us the letters and showing us the pictures the kids drew over the years and once I started making my own money I followed in his foot steps. I do encourage my friends do support a child since we can make such a difference in these children life with such little effort. I've been with Plan International for over 15 years and now my children and husband enjoy receiving frequent letters from our current child from India.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I am delighted that I found Plan USA. You are doing a wonderful job for children and their families. I worked with children as teacher, counselor and Special Education Specialist for 35 years. I am delighted that I found you. You keep us informed about the children we sponsor and about your work. Communication with "my children" is very important to me. I cannot imagine how you do it, but keep up the great work. The children will be able to have a better life because of Plan Int USA. I wish I could do more, but one thing I can do is pray for all of you.

1 Susan485

Client Served

Rating: 5

I would like to thank Plan for all of the great programs they offer. I have been a sponsor since 1988! Through the years I have recommended Plan to friends as well who want to help a child. I have been impressed always with what they have done to help the children and the communities . The children receive health care and education in a world where they and their communities need support. Also , Plan makes it easy to communicate with your child as well . Plan runs their organization with integrity and honesty asking for a monthly donation that is very affordable.