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! :)
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.
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 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.
My mother had been sponsoring three children through ChildFund when she died suddenly. I contacted ChildFund and explained the situation and asked if it would be possible to transfer their sponsorship to me. The staff were very helpful and made this transition feel seamless. I love receiving letters from my sponsored children and their families and yearly progress reports from ChildFund. It makes me feel like I know them even though they live in Africa and we have never met in person. One of my sponsored children is now in college and that makes me very happy because she probably would not have had the opportunity if not for ChildFund.
We sponsored one child for the past fourteen years or so.
We know our sponsored child turned 18, she is six months younger than our daughter. There was no communication from Childfund Intl. about what happens when a child reaches U.S. adult age. They did, however, continue to deduct from our account.
Six months later, still paying, someone called to ask for a special contribution. I mentioned our situation, and they seemed a little flustered, then offered that the money was probably being used for other children or community needs. According to letters written on her behalf (she hasn't written more than a letter or two), she was still in school.
Now eight months later, we've received a letter from her mother that she is married and no longer in school. I appreciate her candor, but still no official notification from ChildFund.
I read here that ChildFund doesn't offer an online method for revoking your automatic account withdrawal, so I did that through my bank.
All of this may very well be the agency's poor management, but it makes it all seem more than a little sketchy, and you would think they would want to avoid all appearances of impropriety. A real shame for that community to lose the ongoing support from us and others who are disappointed in the manner in which ChildFund operates.
If you pay your CEO astronomical amounts for a non-prof, you should expect a clean running machine.
ChildFund International 08/19/2014
Hi, JoAnne, We are disappointed to hear about the dissatisfaction you and your family have experienced with the closing of your sponsorship. Most children remain in our care until age 18 or until they have completed secondary schooling. Some young people remain enrolled as they continue with vocational or college courses. If a sponsor is able to stay with the youth through those additional years, it’s welcome but not required. There is no obligation of time for sponsorship, and sponsors may advise us at any time that they do not wish to continue. For more information on preparing for when sponsorship ends, you might be interested in the article on page 10 of a recent issue of ChildWorld: https://www.childfund.org/uploadedFiles/public_site/media/publications/CW-Summer2013.pdf We would like to research the matter of why you did not receive information from ChildFund that your sponsored child was leaving the program, and we ask that you please contact us directly at 1-800-776-6767 or send an email to questions@ChildFund.org. We hope to hear from you soon! Meanwhile, please accept our deep appreciation for everything that you have done over the past 14 years.
I have been with ChildFund for about a decade. They are not the most efficient, but I am sticking with them because I know that about $80 per hundred that I donate gets through directly to my sponsored kids, and they make it possible for me to give extra money to the kid's parents, which is important to me. I know for a fact that the extra money I send to the parents gets there. That is why I stay with ChildFund, even though they are at the low end of acceptable efficiency for this type of charity (80%). In the long run, I believe ChildFund will succeed in breaking the poverty cycle for some of these families because of the community approach that they take. So I accept the 20% overhead, believing that in the long run my kids will probably make it in their societies. At least I hope so.