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Compassion International, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Christianity, International, International Relief, Religion

Mission: Compassion International is the world's largest Christian child development organization that works through local churches to permanently release children from poverty.  Founded in 1952, Compassion successfully tackles global poverty one child at a time, serving more than 1.4 million children—pre-natal through higher education—in 26 of the world's poorest countries.  Recognizing that poverty is more than a lack of money, Compassion works through local churches to holistically address the individual physical, economic, educational and spiritual needs of children—enabling them to thrive, not just survive.  Compassion has been awarded 13 consecutive, four-star ratings by Charity Navigator, America's largest charity evaluator, as well as the Gallup Great Workplace Award for the past three straight years.

Results: http://www.compassion.com/does-child-sponsorship-work.htm

Target demographics: children living in extreme poverty.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 1,461,116 children

Geographic areas served: 26 countries

Programs: Compassion International exists as a Christian child advocacy ministry that releases children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enables them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults. Compassion's Child Sponsorship Program creates a one-to-one relationship between a child living in extreme poverty and a sponsor, who, through a $38 monthly commitment, provides that child with physical, social, spiritual and economic care and training, making a difference in that child’s life, thereby changing her world and empowering her to improve her environment for future generations. Compassion's Child Survival Program responds to the needs of mothers on behalf of their babies by ensuring a healthy environment and a strong start in life for the poorest and most vulnerable so that they may escape the cycle of poverty. Using proven child survival strategies, caregivers are equipped to nurture and disciple their children, who otherwise might not survive to age 5.

Community Stories

50 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

40

Donor

Rating: 5

I was a Compassion International sponsored child and was released from poverty in Jesus name thanks to their work. I love the ministry and what they stand for, bringing Jesus to the least of them. I love that they are Christ-Centered and most of their programs are aimed at equipping the kids with the gospel of Jesus Christ. I grew up in Kenya, in a family where our source of income was about $10 a month. Poverty was bad but the hopelessness that came from the poverty was even worse. All I needed as a kid growing up in poverty was food, clothes, water, a home with a warm bed and most importantly love and hope. I got none of these things. 1994, Compassion came into my life took a big turn. Food, clean water, shoes, clothes, a warm bed with a mosquito net, and lots of love is what I got from Compassion. they started to speak words of hope and truth into my life. the love I got from my sponsor was like non other, the warmth I got from the Compassion staff was even better. I did not know Jesus before I joined Compassion but everything Compassion did for me made me want know this Jesus they served. I did, come to know Jesus through an alter call by one of the Compassion staff and that was the difference in my life. The best gift I got from Compassion, was Jesus, my life has never been the same again. In summary, 19 years later here I am today released from poverty and hopelessness in Jesus name. Me and my wife now sponsor 4 beautiful kids (India, Thailand and 2 in Kenya) through Compassion. I am currently a CPA living in America and now in a position to change my family's life and that of a generation. I am blessed to have led people to the lord with my testimony, sponsor one child and bring the good news of Jesus to nations. I can't tell it all what Compassion has done for me and for so many kids around the world, but one thing is for sure : they do what they say they do. I am proof. P.S. - My Compassion sponsor was the best man in our wedding #powerfulrelationships.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I have 2 children. One in Haiti, one in the Philippines. I visited my sponsored child in Haiti. It was a wonderful trip. We did stay in a 5 star hotel, which was wonderful. However we visited 3 school projects. It was a wonderful experience that I will never forget.
I've been reading the comments and some negative ones are hard to believe, especially the one from the former employee. I have nothing but praise for this company. Compassion is not perfect, however they do care for their children. A lot of the junk mail is junk, but when I get a message from child , I am so delighted. My child in Haiti now has a Facebook account and I can talk to him that way. He asked me for a drum set and I sent the money to Compassion and they bought him one. In turn, he sent me a photo of himself playing the drums. I was so overcome with joy.
Many Compassion employees came with us to Haiti. I did not hear one negative word about the company the whole time I was there. It was an amazing trip I will never forget and I will continue to support my sponsored children through Compassion.

1

Donor

Rating: 1

I have been sponsoring a child for several years .And I planned one day to visit him.recently I got a letter and call saying he had moved to another village and couldnt be contacted.i was asked if I wanted to sponsor another child and I said not right now.today I received a letter from my child different handwriting in English and French as if nothing had happened or changed.this was veryred flag.pdisturbing abc raised a red flag.i look forward to speaking with the office during regular business hours..

6

Donor

Rating: 2

Compassion is a money making machine. I think they do some good work and we have sponsored children sine 1987. Understand 81% goes to children and not all of the goes to your child. If that bothers you put your money elsewhere.

If the high executive compensation bothers you put your money else where.

If their use of big dollar consultants Deloit to name one and your dollars paying for their hotels, airfare and booze bothers you, put your money elsewhere.

If a Christmas party at the 5 star Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs bothers you, put you money elsewhere.

If a CEO who can shed a tear on demand while bragging about being a Harvard Graduate and still have his hand out for money, then put you money elsewhere.

5

Donor

Rating: 5

Great charity that supports children and families in third world countries, providing education, support and the good news of the gospel. We sponsor a child and are encouraged by the relationship and impressed with Compassion's system for helping us communicate.

Review from JustGive

20

Donor

Rating: 5

I have sponsored a child in Kenya for about 7 years through compassion. I felt the need to review after reading some negative reviews. Here goes!
1) the 'form letter' correspondence. I too questioned the letters I received from Kioji the first few years, but now that he is more proficient in English (he is about 11 now) I receive letters written by him. Of course the letters sound guided before the child can write in English, because they are :)
2) the questions about slow corredpondce time and request for bday and Christmas gifts months in advance. The coordination to organize and buy millions of children gifts needs to be performed way in advance. I usually send 100 for kiojis bday and (months later) I always get a thank you note and photos of Kioji with what was purchased. His family is now breeding goats, has a metal roof, chairs, etc from our gifts over the years. Now that he writes on his own I hear even more about the 'gifts' and how happy his whole family is when he gets one.
3) HQ and salary- the president makes less than many other charity heads. 300,00 isn't outrageous. And they obviously need a nice HQ considering how large their group is- I think I read 500 mil a year. The organization, translation. Outreach, etc is monumental and I am comfortable with 84% of my monthly donation going to Kioji.
It has been wonderful to support this child through the years. Regardless of our finances in the future, we will always support this family. We are responsible for them now!

14

Donor

Rating: 1

I have been emailing them numerous time over the last two months advising them we have some financial difficulties and asked them not to take out the outrageous amount of $152 from our bank account. They have ignored me requests and continue taking money out of our bank account. I now have to go to the bank and fill out forms in order to stop them from taking any more money. It's a shame that we have to do that are they that desperate for money that they just ignore my requests. Donors beware this "charity" is extremely greedy and you need to be cautious when signing up with them to give.

Review from Guidestar

13

Donor

Rating: 2

Despite some initial hesitations based on some negative reviews about donors receiving form-type letters from sponsored children, I decided to go ahead with sponsoring a child because of the predominantly positive reviews about Compassion.

Unfortunately, I now understand the disappointment and frustration felt by various Compassion donors who were receiving form-type letters, as I received one in the name of my sponsored child. The adult-level language, almost exclusively focused on the Bible, and the handwriting were clearly too perfect to have been written by a child.

My complaints to Compassion changed nothing.

I believe that Compassion downplays its very stong religious orientation until the moment that you are actually engaged as a donor. I now understand that this is a very born-again Christian-type of organization.

Compassion may be helping kids and their families, but they should be honest upfront with donors that they are a hard-core religious outfit. Also very importantly, the group lacks a commitment to allowing kids to have their own true communications with their sponsors. Once my sponsored child reaches 18 years, I will stop my involvement with this group.

13 Warren L.

Donor

Rating: 2

This organization has a long track record and is truly making a difference in the lives of children. However, there are a couple of major problems: 1. They do not use any QA measures of their customer service representatives; some are excellent, others are not. 2. They don't have a way of quickly connecting with their in-country partners who are serving the children; thus, replies take weeks if not months. 3. They are not transparent about who these in-country partners are; for comparison, go to www.kiva.org and read their information about their partners.

6

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a sponsor through Compassion since 2003. It has been amazing to see my sponsor child in India grow and learn under the wonderful mission of Compassion. We correspond through letters and I hope to be able to go visit him one day. This is a wonderful mission that has a direct impact on children's lives around the globe. I have recommended Compassion to many people and love how active they are in reaching areas that need so much.

4 Katie75

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a sponsor with Compassion International since January 2012. It has been a wonderful experience getting to know our sponsored children and seeing them grow. I love this organization and volunteer whenever I can with them.

Review from Guidestar

5

Donor

Rating: 5

We have been supporting a Compassion child in the Dominican Republic for about 10 years and have had the blessing of meeting him two times. I can assure you your sponsorship means more to this child than you can ever know. It also means so much to his family as well. Our child's father is out of the picture. His mother is Haitian and in the DR Haitians are not always looked at with favor. Our child writes us regularly. Compassion worked very hard to make our visits possible. I think we must be careful to judge the CEO's salaries. I think it more important to look at their life and who they are. If you have ever heard Wes Stafford speak, the Spirit is evident in his life. We don't know what their salary includes. Perhaps, it is also their health insurance etc... I know that when we give extra money we ask what they used it for. We usually send $400. every year in March. When we visited we also asked to meet our child's mom. She wept and wept and prayed in Spanish for five minutes as we hugged. All six of our children got to meet him and play in the ocean with him. It was like he was their brother. It was an unforgettable experience, giving us a taste of heaven, with every tribe and nation. If you can go meet your child, do it. We also talked at length with the translator that was provided. She was now a working for Compassion, but was once a Compassion sponsored child. She talked at length about the blessing of being sponsored...and how it is through Compassion that she learned English. She is now in college to be a doctor, and she is only 17! She explained that much of the problem with poverty is not just the funds, it is the hope that comes. Much of poverty is a mental poverty. When a child is sponsored they are first prayed for often, they are usually given vitamins and parasite medicine, they often receive Bible stories and training, and their connection with their sponsor gives them HOPE and encouragement. Our child receives a snack. Money that we send goes 100% to him if it is a gift. His mom told us how they were able to put in a bathroom with the money we sent. Many of the everyday expenses that must be accounted for are all the people that help set up trips, that help and respond to your questions etc. Compassion is an amazing organization that provides us here in spoiled America with a way to care for the least of these. I give it all the thumbs up you can!

10

Donor

Rating: 5

In response to how much the CEO makes. He is lower paid than the other six leading child organization CEO's such as Child Fund, World Vision, etc. This is easy to check out. I have sponsored five children, one of which has graduated. I have also sponsored two children at ChildFund. Without saying unkind things about another orgaization, I will say that I prefer Compassion. It is important to me that children are fed spiritually. If all we do is provide food, water, shelter without the word of God, we are very short sighted.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

This is an Awesome Ministry, just talked with a Compassion Representive, she was very helpful and very friendly too, even told me about my previous child that I sponsored but had to stop. I highly reccomend this Ministry!!!

Review from CharityNavigator

3 Susan195

Donor

Rating: 5

We've just returned from a sponsor tour to Tanzania. I was so impressed with all the staff and volunteers we met---both nationals and those from the US. I came away with more respect for the organization and the individuals involved; they all seemed very Christ-centered and caring. We visited several centers, the national headquarters, and met our sponsored child. We saw how they supported and trained single moms, met health, educational, spiritual, and social needs of the children, and contributed to the overall well-being of the communities. I liked how they partnered with local churches to influence whole communities for the kingdom of God. Our trip was well planned and gave us a good overview of how compassion functions there. I highly recommend the sponsor tours and definitely feel that our money is well spent.

Review from CharityNavigator

4 Shaun G.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have sponsored four children through Compassion International's child sponsorship program and one university student through Compassion's Leadership Development program. I sponsored for the first time in 2005 and have traveled to meet two of my sponsored children in person. Compassion's work far exceeds what I thought was possible for only $38/month.

The child I sponsor have received healthcare (one even had life-saving open heart surgery!), proper nutrition (one at only twice each week before entering Compassion's program), education (one has graduated from university with a degree in medical technology), improvements to shelter, vocational training and two of them have become Christians.

I'm amazed at how well my children are doing in Compassion's program. I've seen their work in person. This is the real deal. The children I sponsor are no longer impoverished but have the skills and health and dreams necessary to escape poverty. Their children will certainly be better off than they are.

I wholeheartedly recommend Compassion International every chance I get.

Review from Guidestar

17

Donor

Rating: 2

I have been sponsoring a child for a couple of years and have concerns about them being more about the $ than the children. Then when I saw their HQ is in Colorado Springs, it was a red flag - for other reasons. Their CEO makes $300K+/yr! Where's his heart at?

I wonder why I get a notice of his birthday 4 months in advance - why should they care how much I give him for his birthday? Is it all going to him? Is any of it going to him? Why are they so anxious for me to give to him? Christmas has to be in by early October. Where is that going? When I go online to make my payment, there's so many requests on the page to give more ... and more. I want to believe they're trying to do more, but there's just a bad feeling I have that my $ isn't helping my child as I hoped it would. I get letters, but they are written by a boy - they are very formal and I wonder how truthful the letters are. What am I going to do? If I stop giving, the boy suffers. They know that I'm thinking that.

How can I know unless I visit. Has anyone visited their child? Mine is in India and I've been there and seen the poverty - I would be ready for the shock I may see - it would be the only thing to put my mind at ease. I know many organizations, like the Red Cross are not ethical at the top, so they cannot be doing good, especially with the money. Haiti donations were used to bring their books to balance for other causes and never went to Haiti. It's like selling donuts in the front of the store and drugs in the back. How can we know?

I see the good financial reviews, but how legit is that? Really. I do think a different model for helping these families would help. They help the child, but not the family. If they help the community, the family will also benefit. It could be so much more effective.

Review from CharityNavigator

8

Donor

Rating: 5

I have sponsored 1 child that graduated from Compassion's program, and I currently sponsor 5 other children in Compassin's program. I have met two of those children. I have seen first hand how my donations directly benefits the children. One child pointed to a hill and said that beyond that hill is the garbage dump where he used to scavage for food for himself and his family. He is now thankful to God that I am in his life and help provide for his basic needs. He carries my photo around with him everywhere he goes. I came back from my trip to Haiti and signed up to sponsor three more children. I wish I could do more. I am thankful that God has provided a way for me to help others in dire need.

Review from CharityNavigator

2

Donor

Rating: 5

We have been donors for many years and appreciate the opportunity to sponsor several children during this time. We are impressed with this organization and its programs.

Review from CharityNavigator

3

Donor

Rating: 3

We have been sponsoring several children through them. Now we have financial difficulty that we cannot sponsor these children any longer. I kept one child who lost her mother. The rest of them all have parents. I called in. I feel the woman who answered the call lacks compassion and understanding on our situation. She is like any other sales person who try to keep your business. Don't feel very Christian. Most of the children they have all have parents. I just had a newborn. I feel like that those parents should take care of their own kids. Plus, they pay their CEO too much money.