Saturday, August 25, 2012

Four ways to write to your child

If you sponsor a child, you have several options when it comes to writing to them. If you don’t, well… maybe you can read on and get inspired. Hint, hint. Cheeky aren’t I?

What I’m going to say is specific to Compassion but you may find similar options exist with World Vision etc.

1. Online. Not quite email but almost the same. If you go to the Compassion website you can quickly create your own account. When you log in, not only will you have all the records of your financial contributions and so on, you’ll also have the option to use their online letter writing tool. All your child’s details will be pre-entered and you just have to type! Just as easy as email and you can even upload a couple of photos to the letter if you wish. This doesn’t get to your child any faster (it still has to be processed through translation etc) but it does make it very simple to get that long-put-off letter written and sent on its way.

2. Postcard or greeting card. It doesn’t always have to be a letter. Send a quick note of encouragement in a card or postcard. “Thought you would enjoy this picture. We hope you are well and we are praying for you.” Just make sure you clearly write your child’s name and number and your sponsor number on the top of the card. If it’s a postcard, you’ll need to put it in an envelope to send so that the second half of the card can be left blank for translation.  If you are wanting to send a birthday card, you need to allow 2 - 3 months for it to reach your child.  I try to go through my new diary each year and leave myself a note 2 months before each kids' birthday to remind me to get their card in the post.

3. Write or type your own letter on your own paper. I often just type my own letter on computer, making sure I have the child’s name and number, and my supporter name and number, clearly printed across the top.  I leave the bottom half of each page blank for the translators to write in. It’s so much fun to add my own borders or pictures to the letter. I’ve found it really helpful when I’ve been able to include a clip art or photo to explain something strange in my letter like frost on our grass or hot cross buns. I also found some cheap A4 soccer-themed paper at the $2 shop which I use a lot with our soccer mad boys from Africa and South America.

4. And lastly, you can go the traditional route and use the official stationary they send out with your child’s letters. It’s all barcoded up for quick processing so you can write your letter and pop it right back in the post. Of course, when you write back straight away, you are a little more inspired and it’s easier than trying to “get around to it” sometime down the track. You can also send along some goodies with your letter – maybe a sticker sheet, a photo of you or a colouring-in sheet that you’ve printed off. Make sure any extras you include have your child’s name and number written on them in case they get separated from your letter.

It doesn’t matter how you write – just make sure you do!

And an update on our lad in the Philippines: we’ve not heard anything more from Compassion and he has not been listed as one of the affected children so I think it’s safe to say he’s okay. Phew!

And if you are interested in sponsoring a child in extreme poverty who needs encouragement and a helping hand up, check out Compassion Australia if you are in Australia, Compassion International for US readers or Compassion UK for readers in the United Kingdom. For information about what child sponsorship involves click here or about Compassion's financial integrity click here.

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