This page should answer many of the questions you have about Child Sponsorship, if you have any further questions, please contact us by email, or call our friendly team on 1300 789 991.
About Child Sponsorship
How will my support help?
Your sponsorship supports a Child Centred Community Development project run by our Christian partners overseas. This program is specifically designed to benefit the children in the community, including the child you are connected with. The program works alongside families and the whole community, helping them to build their skills and knowledge and create an environment where children can have a stronger future.
How will the child I sponsor benefit?
Everything that Child Centred Community Development projects do is designed to improve the wellbeing of children in the community. By working with the children, parents and other caregivers in the community, the child you sponsor will directly benefit from the changes that will take place.
Children are often involved in local child clubs where they can spend time with their peers and take part in training and other activities. Parents may take part in training, for example, kitchen gardening and nutrition training can help them provide a healthy diet for their children. The project may work with schools and parents groups to improve the education that is available to all children. All these initiatives work to help children and provide them with opportunities for a stronger future.
What can I expect as a sponsor?
Our child sponsorship approach creates a connection between a sponsor in Australia and a child in one of the communities we work with overseas. As a sponsor you will receive photos, letters and information about the child that you are linked with. You will also receive information about the child’s community and the project you are supporting.
How long do sponsorship projects run?
Generally, sponsorship projects will run for a period of ten years. In the first year of the program, sponsor children will be selected by a nominated committee of community members, partner staff and parents. All children will spend at least five years in the program and will graduate either when they reach 18 years of age or when the program concludes. Some children may leave the program earlier if circumstances change, for example, their family may move to a different area.
The final three years of the program will focus on the sustainability and longevity of the community activities. We work to build the community’s knowledge and skills that will help them provide for and nurture the development of their children beyond the conclusion of the project. When the partner organisation is able to move away from any particular area and the community can continue to thrive without reliance on partner staff, it is a good sign that the project has made a real difference.
In most cases, when a child leaves the program, or a program concludes we automatically link the child sponsor with a new child unless they have already informed us that they would prefer this not to happen.
How children are selected
The communities we partner with select children as representatives of the program, in the field they are called ‘child partners’. These children become leaders in their community, play an important role in communicating the changes that are happening and help monitor the effects of the program. Each child is linked with only one child sponsor.
Our child sponsorship model focuses on community development. This means that sponsored children do not receive special treatment or individual benefits such as school fees or food. Rather, our development activities are designed to address the root causes of child poverty and to benefit the entire community. This approach means that the community becomes a better place for all children.
In many countries where we operate, Christians are a minority and children are often from non-Christian families or other faiths. Our partners, who are clearly identified as Christians, show Jesus’ love in practical ways, building relationships and trust within the community and giving Christianity a good name. This strengthens the reputation and witness of local churches as they share the good news of Jesus.
How long does child sponsorship last?
We encourage you to make a long-term commitment to child sponsorship; just as we have made a long-term commitment to the communities our partner organisations serve. However, we are aware that circumstances may change, and that you may be unable to continue with your commitment. If you can no longer continue your sponsorship, please advise us before the next payment is due and we will find the child a new sponsor as quickly as possible. Rest assured, if you are unable to continue, the child’s involvement with the program will not be affected.
Why is only the child’s first name on the profile?
We are a child safe organisation and committed to protecting all children involved in our programs. Part of fulfilling this responsibility is preventing inappropriate relationships forming over the internet and social media, in which children – or even their sponsors – may be exploited. For this reason we only provide sponsors with the child’s first name and children with their sponsor’s first name.
Can I visit the child I sponsor and their community?
We do not currently facilitate individual visits to meet the child your sponsor. In 2014 we will being facilitating group trips to particular countries and communities. We anticipate that information about these trips will be available in the first half of 2014.
Please note we will not be visiting every country or partner we work with every year. Please do not hesitate to contact us in the office if you have any questions about this.
Your sponsorship payments and all donations of $2 or more made to Baptist World Aid are tax deductible. To help us save on costs, you will receive an Annual Tax Receipt at the end of the financial year, which outlines every gift you have made with a receipt number for taxation purposes. Alternatively, if you would like to receive a Tax Receipt every time you give, instead of an Annual Tax Receipt, please let us know on 1300 789 991. There is also an option to only receive a Tax Receipt for gifts made in addition to your sponsorship payments. Please also remember to notify us of any address or name changes so we can make sure you receive all your receipts.
How often are my sponsorship payments due?
You can choose to pay monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or annually. A great way to do this is by automatic credit card payments or direct debit. These automatic payments are not only convenient for you but also help reduce our administration costs. Please contact our friendly team if you would like to arrange automatic payments.
Will I receive a reminder notice?
If you have opted to make automatic payments, you will not receive a renewal notice, but you will receive an Annual Tax Receipt and a notification if your card is approaching its expiry date. For those not on automatic payments, you can choose to receive renewal notices, which are sent out in the month prior to the next due date.
How can I set up automatic payments?
If you have not already set up automatic payments by credit card or direct debit, you can arrange to do so over the phone or online.
When will my automatic payments be deducted?
If you give by credit card, your card will be charged on the second Friday of every month in which payment is due, except when that Friday is a public holiday. In this case, your card will be charged on the business day prior to the public holiday.
If you give by direct debit, your bank account will be debited on the third Friday of every month in which payment is due, except when that Friday is a public holiday. In this case, your account will be debited on the business day prior to the public holiday. Please ensure there are sufficient funds available before these dates. Please also make sure you give us a call if there are any changes to your credit card or bank account details.
Can I make extra donations?
Yes! Additional donations are very welcome and are vital to the Child Sponsorship program. An extra gift will go towards the general running of the program. You can also give to other Baptist World Aid projects and programs.
When you sign up to sponsor a child you have two support options. You can give the sponsorship amount of $44 per month, or you can choose to give an extra monthly gift on top of your sponsorship payments (our suggestion is an extra $10). This extra donation will support further projects that address specific child protection issues for extremely vulnerable children including:
- Children who are at high risk of trafficking, labour and other forms of exploitation
- Children with a disability
- Refugee children
- Children at risk of malnutrition and disease
- Children, particularly girls, who are denied access to an education
- Child centred community development projects, for which sponsors are yet to be found.
Any extra donation, no matter how big or small, is greatly appreciated. See this page for a number of giving options.
My online account
When you register on this website (top right hand corner of this page), you can easily manage many of your interactions with us online, including:
- updating your address details
- viewing your sponsorship/s and past donations
- writing to your sponsor child/ren
- signing up for e-newsletters
How your letter reaches the child
After we receive your letters they are sorted and checked by our staff and volunteers in Australia and sent to our partners overseas. There your letters are translated and sent out to the communities where the children live. Most children live in isolated areas where there is no postal service. Your letter may be the first letter your sponsor child and their family have ever received!
Letters to the children will be sent four times a year. Many children involved in our programs live in areas where there is no postal service and they rely on the program representatives to hand deliver mail, so it may take up to three months for your letter to reach your sponsor child.
The best times to write
Mail to the children is sent overseas four times a year. Please make sure your letter reaches us by:
- 31st August (best for Christmas greetings)
Writing a letter online
You can now write a letter to the child you sponsor through this website.
- First register an account for yourself using the link in the top right hand corner of the page (please note: it can take 30 minutes to link back to our database and for your sponsorships to show up. If after 30 minutes, your sponsorship has still not appeared, please contact us on 1300 789 991, the system may not have recognised you if some of your contact details have changed recently.)
- Inside your account “My Sponsorship” should appear on the right hand side, click on “write a letter” to begin a letter to any of the children you sponsor.
- Write your letter in the box provided and attach any photos you wish to include.
- Click “send letter” and we will then process your letter and have it sent to the child you sponsor.
Letters from sponsor children
You should receive a letter from the child you sponsor every year. As with the letters you send, these may take some time to reach you. Our overseas partners have the letters translated, if necessary, and then send them to us to be processed and mailed on to you.
Please keep in mind that cross cultural communication can be difficult and your sponsor child may live in a culture where letter writing isn’t common. The letters that you will receive may be quite formal with flowery language. Although you may not be familiar with this style, be assured that the expressions of appreciation are genuine.
Lack of education is also a serious problem that our partners are seeking to address in many communities. The child you sponsor is unlikely to have the same level of education as Australian children of the same age. If the child you sponsor is too young or is unable to write, then a parent, family member, field worker or friend will write on their behalf.
Please also be aware that extended families and communities are often much closer and living and work arrangements can be seasonal. Sometimes this means that details may vary between information collected for the child profile and the letters children write. For example parents may go away for work and children will live with grandparents for some of the year.
Spiritual content in letters
When writing to your sponsor child, please remember that many children involved in the child sponsorship program do not come from Christian backgrounds. We believe that the most effective and appropriate Christian witness in their communities is the local church and our Christian partners.
Feel free to talk about God naturally, but please avoid giving religious instruction or advice. Religious instruction in your letters can undermine the trust and relationships that are being built in the community.
We encourage you to pray for your child, the partner staff and the local church. Ask God to be close to the child you sponsor every day.
Letter writing ideas
- Share about Australian culture: what you do for special events like birthdays, Christmas or school activities that your children or grandchildren are involved in.
- Share interesting facts about Australia, you may like to include a postcard with an Australian animal or landscape.
- Share about your family: brothers and sisters, children, grandchildren, your work and why you enjoy it.
- Encourage children to participate in the program and to try hard at school.
- Include a family photo or a photo of yourself with your letter or card.
Can I send a gift?
Baptist World Aid has a policy that no gifts will be sent to sponsored children. Although gifts are well intended, they can sometimes cause a sense of social discomfort or embarrassment for your sponsor child. Because children are selected as representatives of the children in their community, individual gifts may cause jealousy among other children and create problems in the community. Your sponsor child and their family may also feel they are obligated to you when they receive gifts that they can never reciprocate.
We want to ensure your relationship with your sponsor child, their family and community is as positive as possible, so we ask that you limit your gifts to greeting cards, letters, postcards and personal photographs. Please note that all gifts outside of these guidelines (including bookmarks and stickers) will not be returned to you but given to a local charity.
Your supporter ID and child ID
As a sponsor you have been provided with two ID numbers— one represents you (your supporter ID), the other represents your sponsor child and the program and country where the child lives (child ID). Please write both ID numbers on ALL pages of your correspondence. We are blessed to be connecting thousands of children with sponsors and including your ID numbers will help ensure your letter gets to your child.
What if my sponsor child contacts me over the internet?
Please do not attempt to contact your sponsor child through Facebook, email or any other online media. If your sponsor child contacts you, please do not respond to their message or friend request and notify Baptist World Aid immediately. This requirement is in the best interest and safety of both yourself and the sponsor child.
About Child Sponsorship for Students
If you are a full-time student you can sponsor a child at the reduced rate off $22 a month.
Don’t worry; our programs overseas won’t be out of pocket. We will use general funds to ensure our child centred community development programs are receiving the resources they need to be as effective as possible.
The fine print for students
- This is a special offer only available to full-time students. We trust your integrity, but there may be an instance when we ask you for further information to confirm your student status.
- This special rate is only for new sponsorships.
- There is one child sponsorship per person at the discounted rate. If you have enough in your budget to sponsor more than one child, we would love you to do so at the standard rate of $44 a month.
- If you are under 18 make sure you have permission from a parent or guardian before signing up to sponsor a child.
- When you’ve finished studying, we will contact you about giving at the standard rate of $44 a month.
- Every few years, as the cost of living rises, our sponsorship price also increases to ensure we are adequately funding our sponsorship programs. If a price rise does occur, we’ll let you know via email or mail before the increase happens. Current at January 2013