Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Child Sponsorship - Help me choose!

I've just added a quiz I wrote at Quibblo.com to help fellow Canadians choose a child sponsorship programme that's right for them. There are so many to choose from, and I'd like to encourage EVERYONE to find one that they can feel good about supporting.
I don't know how long that quiz will last for (and if I'll get in trouble for borrowing logos for use in the answers!), so I'm going to list the organizations I've researched here.
As readers of my blog will know, I have a graduate student's stipend and owe some money in the form of student debt. But even with income of $17, 500 a year and rent and bills to pay, I find a way to support a child (through SOS Children's Villages Canada) in Africa who has been orphaned through the HIV/AIDS epidemic. I hardly notice the $33 a month - that's basically one dinner out a month, and it doesn't exactly stand out on my credit card bill.
Not only does it honestly feel good to help, your dollar or so a day makes all the difference in the world to a child living in a third-world country.
This is also a surprisingly economical entertainment option for families or for teachers to provide their classes with - exchanging letters and drawings with your sponsor child is all part of the experience, and the educational value of this is immeasurable. Your children will have such a personal understanding of what life is like as a poor child in that country.
Here are 10 different Canadian child sponsorship programmes, arranged in several ways.

By cost (descending):
$35 per month - World Vision Canada Child Sponsorship, PLAN Canada Child Sponsorship, Christian Children's Fund of Canada Child Sponsorship
$33 per month - SOS Children's Villages Child Sponsorship
$25 per month - Save the Children Child Guardianship, Salvation Army Child Sponsorship, SOS Children's Villages (Village Sponsorship)
$20 per month - Canadian Feed the Children Child Sponsorship
$10 per month - FTC (Feed the Children) Canada Feed-a-Child Sponsorship
$__ per month (name your amount) - UNICEF Canada Global Parent Sponsorship

By global presence (most countries, descending):
150+ countries - UNICEF Canada
132 countries -  SOS Children's Villages Canada
120+ countries - Save the Children Canada
118 countries - FTC Canada
90+ countries - World Vision Canada
48 countries - PLAN Canada
22 countries - Salvation Army Canada
7 countries - Christian Children's Fund of Canada
4 countries - Canadian Feed the Children

By reported donation breakdown (percent that goes directly to the child and child's community), descending:
Note: quiz lists Canadian Feed the Children as highest. Whoops. Can't undo...!
100% - Salvation Army Canada 
89%* - FTC Canada *(by my calculations only, based on 2009 annual report data)
86% - Canadian Feed the Children
82.5% - SOS Children's Villages Canada
82.1% - World Vision Canada
82%Save the Children Canada
80%+Christian Children's Fund of Canada
80% - UNICEF Canada (in general, not child sponsorship programme specifically)
78.9% - PLAN Canada

By mandate/core values:
Non-denominational/inclusive of all faiths: SOS Children's Villages Canada, UNICEF, PLAN Canada, Save the Children Canada, Canadian Feed the Children
Christian (some of which are inclusive of all faiths): World Vision Canada, FTC Canada, Salvation Army Canada, Christian Children's Fund of Canada

I hope this helps you find an organization or programme that suits your personality and needs. It costs so, so little to make an ENORMOUS impact on a child's life! Please start giving today - you will NOT regret it!


  1. Oh, I should mention that these are your options if you want a photo on your fridge and letters from a special sponsored child:

    - World Vision Canada
    - PLAN Canada
    - SOS Children's Villages (Can.) - Child Sponsor
    - Christian Children's Fund Canada
    - Salvation Army Child Sponsor
    - Canadian Feed the Children (does not advertise letter-writing, but has annual reports for the specific child)

    Note that the last two are the cheapest options. :) In fact, Canadian Feed the Children and the Salvation Army represent two of the top three rankings (3 and 1 respectively) of the most efficient use of your money (more directly to child and community programming). :)

  2. http://www.compassion.ca/

    I’d like to also review an alternative to World Vision, for the sponsorship of children. Compassion Canada “Releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ Name” is the world’s leading Christian child development ministry that has been recommended to me recently (since posting this article!) by friends and family. I’m sorry I wasn’t aware of it beforehand, so that I might have included it.

    Compassion Canada does seem to be more involved in terms of connecting you to your sponsored child. With Christmas and birthday cards for you to personalize and send, letters to be written back and forth as part of their school curriculum, and the opportunity to send gifts in the mail and to even visit your child, Compassion Canada provides a very personal relationship with your sponsored child.

    Compassion Canada is also church-based, operating out of local churches within your child’s neighbourhood. They are committed to providing full education, vocational training and discipleship with Jesus Christ.

    Here’s the breakdown of child sponsorship through Compassion Canada

    Basic monthly sponsorship costs: $41 per month
    ($51 for Sponsorship Plus, which covers all of the basic sponsorship plus allows for funds to help other children around the world where most required)

    80% minimum towards programming for your child

    This may be the most expensive sponsorship option I’ve shown here, but I hope that you are called to sponsor a child – some children have been waiting for over a year for someone like you to help them!