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2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

ChildFund International

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Human Service Organizations, Human Services, International, International Relief

Mission: ChildFund International exists to help deprived, excluded and vulnerable children have the capacity to improve their lives and the opportunity to become young adults, parents and leaders who bring lasting and positive change in their communities. We promote societies whose individuals and institutions participate in valuing, protecting, and advancing the worth and rights of children. One of the world''s oldest and most respected international child development organizations, ChildFund International works in 31 countries and assists approximately 17.8 million children and family members worldwide, regardless of their race, creed or gender.

Results: ChildFund has established youth clubs so children and youth can tell us how they experience poverty. From this knowledge, we build programs that address targeted issues so that programs are impactful and can be sustained by the communities served. We have improved maternal/child health, educated families on achieving a balanced diet and even helped start community gardens. ChildFund not only addresses education, but we work to improve the quality of education so it becomes meaningful. In addition, we conduct studies to determine what education or skills training are viable to the communities where the children live. We are a child development organization with programs that have a deep understanding of localities needs and a long-term goal of enabling children to become contributing adults.

Target demographics: We assist children in 30 countries, including the United States.

Direct beneficiaries per year: Direct beneficiaries include children who are sponsored by individuals or groups in the 31 countries where ChildFund works.

Geographic areas served: 30 countries, including the United States,

Programs: ChildFund works toward the well-being of children by forming partnerships with local governments and non-governmental resources to strengthen our programs. Our initiatives are locally led activities where families and communities work together to overcome poverty and protect the rights of their children. ChildFund programs are comprehensive, addressing needs throughout three life stages -- healthy and secure infants and children, educated and confident children and skilled and involved youth. This distinctive approach focuses on working with children throughout their journey from birth to young adulthood. We offer youth an opportunity to participate in youth groups and join in the decision-making processes of our work. We also address children's transitional needs from one life stage to another, to enable them to get a healthy start in life, have the tools needed to enter primary school, and eventually develop a skill or gain an education to earn a living and contribute to their communities. ChildFund works in 31 countries -- often in environments where poverty, conflict and disaster threatens children's well-being. Our programs confront critical needs of safe motherhood, the quality of education and trained teachers, HIV and AIDS prevention and care, nutritional and health needs. Nutrition includes a multi-pronged approach that leads to the establishment of home gardens and lessons in the importance of varying diets. We combat malaria through education, health care and the provision of mosquito nets. In emergencies, ChildFund provides emergency feeding and supplies as well as conducting long-term recovery programs in areas where we operate programs. In addition, youth learn skills that are vital to their communities -- skills that were identified after conducting studies to determine what needs are viable to each community.

Community Stories

104 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

22 Dave Jenkins

Donor

Rating: 5

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! :)

1

Donor

Rating: 1

My situation has recently changed and I decided to cancel my Childfund account. When I went to do so I discovered there was NO place on their website allowing me to cancel so I sent them an email asking them to stop pulling the donations from my account. I received an automated message stating that it could be two weeks before I hear back from the company (due to system upgrades). This months donation was taken from my bank account even though I wanted to cancel WITH an extra shipping fee that I had not agreed to. I actually went into my settings to unclick the shipping fee box, yet somehow it was checked again. Not a happy camper. Several of my friends donate using other non profits and have never had an issue trying to cancel their account.

Donor

Rating: 1

I made a one-time payment, but when I tried to access my account, it said my email did not exist. But, they sent a thank-you note and an email saying my account was ready to be viewed, so they obviously had my email. I went back to their site, and it still wouldn't accept my email. I had to send several emails just to access my account.

Once I finally got into my account, I saw that they had signed me up for a subscription, not a one-time payment. They also pre-selected a fee option that I never agreed to. I still have my original receipt, and there's no fee option selected, and it was a one-time fee. No mention of a subscription. I saw the subscription option, and I did not select it. No wonder they don't make it easy to get into your account -- they take your credit card and charge whatever they feel like to it.

Now, I've worked for many non-profits, and for no pay. We never treated people's property (their money, their cc) as if it belonged to us. Not at ChildFund, though. The people at ChildFund get paid, too. And I feel like if you're getting paid, and you're taking money, out of a charity that's meant to help kids btw, for yourself, you better be working very hard, and you have a bigger responsibility towards accountability. I will not pay for dishonesty. But that's what's going on. If I have to contact my cc company to get any further charges removed for fraud, I will. I don't have a lot of money, I just gave what I could, because I'm thankful for what I have. I don't appreciate the total lack of respect ChildFund has for the money I work hard for. What if I went into their accounts and took their money, the money they work for (that I pay for, btw)? They would not be happy. Respect needs to go both ways, or this charity will not survive. And that's really sad.

6

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

Previous Stories
3

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

10

Donor

Rating: 1

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.

Comments ( 1 )

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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 questions@childfund.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.

15

Donor

Rating: 1

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

10

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

12

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

11 Terry62

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

4 Laura225

Donor

Rating: 4

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.

7 Kimberly100

Donor

Rating: 4

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.

4 JoAnne32

Donor

Rating: 1

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.

Comments ( 1 )

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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.

4 Bruce32

Donor

Rating: 4

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.

15

Donor

Rating: 1

I began sponsoring a little girl in India with this organization in 2012. This involved sending money monthly and writing letters. For months, I had only received 1 letter from my sponsored child. So I emailed the organization thinking that something may have happened to her. It took them a while to get back to me but when they did, they emailed me a letter from her, progress report, pictures of her and her family. They let me know she was doing well.

Again, I wrote to her and my monthly payments were still being auto sent to the organization. Once again, after months of not hearing from my sponsored child, I decided that I needed to cancel my account. I like helping out, but, I am not a believer in giving money away under false pretenses. I had planned on increasing my monthly donation as well as giving to my sponsored child around the holidays, but it was like sending money to an invisible person. So I decided that this was not the organization for me.

I went into my account on their website to stop reoccurring monthly payments from being taken out of my account. There was no option to stop these transactions. I emailed the organization, and until this day have not heard from them. Yet, they still took money from my account. I had to call my bank to tell them to put a stop payment on the organization. When I first wanted to cancel my account, I figured ChildFund was a well meaning organization that may be unorganized but after not being able to stop my monthly payments, I am now questioning their legitimacy.

Comments ( 1 )

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ChildFund International 04/16/2014

We are sorry to hear that you stopped receiving letters from your sponsored child and that your inquiry was not taken care of at that time. Sometimes the sponsor-child correspondence doesn’t work out like we’d hope, and your satisfaction with the experience is important to us. Would you please contact our office at 1-800-776-6767 so that we can resolve this? You may also send an email to questions@ChildFund.org.

5

Donor

Rating: 4

i have been a sponsor for 24 years . i currently have 5 children most in africa. i receive letters 4 times a year. progress reports . its a sound and professional organization. i will be a sponsor until i can't no more

2

Donor

Rating: 3

My Mother sponsored a child, but passed away in 2010, my Dad continued the donations, he also passed away this past August. I want to continue the donations, but I skeptical about a few things. I received a letter thanking me for the $20 and indicating "I received your message..." My parents, obviously did not send a message. Somehow, I suspect that this is a form letter being sent to me by a worker or volunteer, not the child ( who is now 20 years of age, but that is ok, I would continue sponsorship of him if it helps him with his continuing education and helps his family/community ). I know my mother cared very much for this child and felt there was a personal connection, was this naivete on her part?

Comments ( 1 )

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ChildFund International 04/16/2014

We are sorry to hear about the loss of your parents. Please accept our condolences. Some countries may use templates or project newsletters, etc., but correspondence from the child and family should be individualized. We would be happy to look into this further for 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!

15

Donor

Rating: 5

After sponsoring Eliana in Honduras for the past 4 years, my family is as usual very short on money, I began to wonder if this was worth the $30/month missing from my family pocket. I came to this website to see what people have to say before I continued my sponsorship. I found a range of comments here from 'I hate childfund' to 'This has been the best experience of my life.' What I already know... People in general tend to go out of the way to make complaints before praise, with ANY business. What I took from it... Giving is giving. I spend more than $30/month on my iced coffee and if there is even a 25% chance that my $30 will provide a better life for a child and a family that needs it, well, I'm all in. I consider this my responsability as someone who is already blessed with health, a roof over my head and a paycheck to paycheck lifestyle that may not be a big deal in the USA but is HUGE and sometimes unheard of to our families around the world. To the people who are angry that they live in the U.S. and are lacking with no one to turn to for help. Please don't let a broken system make you hostile to generosity when it is given elsewhere. A good deed is a good deed. The United States provides more opportunity for more people than most places in the world. If your drowning even with this advantage I say God has a purpose and sometimes, most times, people need to be pushed through mud to discover thier path. I wish I could help EVERYONE, but financially I cannot right now. So I will continue my sponsorship of Eliana, not because I expect the village to throw me a party or heart felt letters every month... but because I think its good for your sole to do something, anything to benefit mankind. One drop wripples out forever :)

7

Donor

Rating: 1

I have been sponsoring ChildFund (was Christian Children's Fund) since 1989 and was very happy with the organization until a few years ago when I started receiving marketing materials from the organization. Fundraising by sending all donors materials printed on expensive paper does not help the children, nor do overpriced gifts offered through ChildFund for children make any sense to me. Also, all this printed material really harms our environment! Last week, I received a call from the organization asking me to increase my sponsorship dollars, and when I said I wasn't able to at this time, the person hung up. I do have to say that throughout the 24 years as a sponsor, I have been very happy corresponding with all the children, however I am waiting for my present sponsored children (both 11 year olds) to reach 18 before I switch to another organization.

I do want to thank the older organization for giving me the opportunity to make a difference to some very wonderful children.

Comments ( 1 )

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ChildFund International 06/25/2013

Thank you for your 24 years of generous assistance to children in ChildFund’s care. You have our heartfelt gratitude for your support as a sponsor. We sincerely apologize for the recent unsatisfactory experience you described with the representative contacting you on our behalf. Please know that we take this complaint seriously and we are addressing it with the appropriate parties. It would be helpful to have additional information from you, and we would greatly appreciate your time to send an email to Questions@ChildFund.org with your full name and sponsor ID number so that we can follow up effectively. We also appreciate your feedback regarding the mailings you have been receiving. We are also reviewing our materials to determine steps we can take to reduce environmental impact. Please know that when you contact our Sponsor Care team, you can also request an adjustment in the number of mailings you receive. The needs of children worldwide are increasing daily, so we are continually challenged to make every effort to obtain support for the children in our care. ChildFund places a high emphasis on stewardship and accountability. Last year, we devoted 82% of revenues to program services for children; 11 percent was used for fundraising so that we can reach more supporters and 7% went to management and general operations. Thank you again for your time to share your perspectives. We appreciate the feedback and pledge to work harder to restore your trust.

17

Donor

Rating: 1

I wish I had read these reviews before I decided to sign up with Childfund International. However before the 7 to 10 day period of processing came to an end, I decided to cancel. I didn't get a good feeling after receiving a call from the volunteer that had signed me up. He called my number pretending to have mistakenly called my number. When I did call to cancel and was told that the enrollment was cancelled, I received a distorted call from an unrecognizeable number from one of the members. A few days later, I received a call from a number that looked like a foreign number. I looked into my account today and saw a pending transaction for the monthly fee of $28.00. My request for cancellation was never honored. Infact, policy or procedure for cancellation is not prominently exhibited and agent never sent an email with confirmation of cancellation. The whole business has been shady. Honestly, this was the first time I saw a charity send out agents to recruit donors and then have donors experience so much hardship to cancel or sever ties with it. Their methods have turned me off. I was skeptical to begin with of charitable orgs that have become known for pocketing money and not using it for the stated purposes.

25 snkams155

Donor

Rating: 1

I began donating in 2010 when I lived in Maryland. I started out with three kids and gave faithfully every month. I contacted them, sent them stickers, letters and greetings. After having my child I had to scale back to sponsoring one child because I became the primary caretaker of our child. Over the last year I've become burdened by the constant letters about more donations. Every two weeks for the past couple of months I receive a letter telling me there's an emergency and they need me to donate to "save" my child. Next I receive emails telling me that my child needs a gift! And on top of that ChildFund then sends me some kind of printed gift to send to my child. They tell me it will cost $9 for "shipping and delivering", but I didn't believe that. I decide to go to the post office instead. I paid $2 to send the gift and got a letter from my child saying he received the letter and gift. Where does that other $7 go when someone chooses to send a gift through ChildFund? If something as simple as sending a letter is overpriced, what about the other donations people make?

I was preparing to send something else to my child today, then I get accosted with yet ANOTHER set of letters and emails telling me that I need to increase my donation, because my child already has so little. I don't need to look up what ChildFund is doing with their money. I already know they are spending WAY too much on fundraising. If you want to join ChildFund, get ready to constantly be hassled about not giving "enough" when you can give "more". I have an elderly family member that is struggling to pay the rent, I think it's time that I stop giving to Childfund, where they are unsatisfied with my $30/month, and give to someone that is grateful for whatever I can afford to give.

Comments ( 1 )

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ChildFund International 06/03/2013

We appreciate your feedback. We have honored your request to stop receiving mailings. We understand that, like you, many of our sponsors and donors often make personal sacrifices to help a child in need, and we sincerely appreciate those efforts. The $9 contribution for the card covers the postal mailing costs and also includes the expenses of delivering to the child in-country and acknowledgement back to the sponsor. ChildFund places a high emphasis on stewardship and accountability. Last year, we devoted 82% of revenues to program services for children; 11 percent was used for fundraising so that we can reach more supporters and 7% went to management and general operations. For more information, please visit our website http://www.childfund.org/accountability and contact our Sponsor Care team at 800-776-6767.