Compassion International Sponsorship Program: A Review

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Compassion International is a Christian charity organization that allows the public to sponsor a child in poverty, in a foreign country.  Compassion allows you to pick your child to sponsor.  You can pick your child by region, longest waiting child, oldest child, youngest child, country, etc.  The cost to you is $38 monthly, which you can pay by check or credit card.  You also have the convenience of having the $38 withdrawn from your credit card or bank account automatically each monthly, so you child never misses the much needed assistance he or she needs.

Let’s see what Compassion’s website states:

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.

Founded by the Rev. Everett Swanson in 1952, Compassion began providing Korean War orphans with food, shelter, education and health care, as well as Christian training.

Today, Compassion helps more than 1.2 million children in 26 countries.

What specific benefits will the child I sponsor receive?

The child you sponsor through Compassion will receive opportunities and services that most of the world’s poorest children will simply never see. These opportunities and services include the following:

  • The opportunity to receive an education:In some cases, this means providing the cost of school fees, clothing and supplies. In other cases, it means providing tutoring, help with homework, encouragement and, if necessary, participation in a literacy program outside the classroom. Your Compassion sponsorship will allow one special child to stay in school longer if formal schooling is an option and get the most out of his or her education.
  • The opportunity to be healthy:The health of the child you sponsor will be monitored and care will be provided as needed. Children are taught about hygiene and how to maintain personal health. In addition, and according to their needs, many Compassion children receive supplementary food.
  • The opportunity to develop self-confidence and social skills:The child you support will be part of a church-based program where Christian adults offer love, guidance, personal attention, guided recreation and safety.
  • The opportunity to hear the gospel and learn about Jesus:Most important, your Compassion sponsorship provides the child you sponsor with regular Bible training and encouragement through a local church committed to Christ and the children in its community.

What does charitynavigator.org say about Compassion?

Score (out of 70) Rating
FYE 06/2012
Overall 65.35 4 stars
  Financial 63.43 4 stars
  Accountability & Transparency 70.00 4 stars

Income Statement     (FYE 06/2012)

REVENUE
Contributions
   Contributions, Gifts & Grants $595,760,176
   Federated Campaigns $322,829
   Membership Dues $0
   Fundraising Events $0
   Related Organizations $0
   Government Grants $0
Total Contributions $596,083,005
   Program Service Revenue $0
Total Primary Revenue $596,083,005
   Other Revenue $2,715,435
TOTAL REVENUE $598,798,440
EXPENSES
   Program Expenses $493,290,589
   Administrative Expenses $39,276,737
   Fundraising Expenses $52,527,975
TOTAL FUNCTIONAL EXPENSES $585,095,301
Payments to Affiliates $0
Excess (or Deficit) for the year $13,703,139
Net Assets $185,636,455

My opinion: Normally I might not give my opinion on an organization (but simply state facts and information about and organization), but since I sponsor a child through Compassion, I have first hand experience.  I absolutely stand by this organization and know and believe that they do great things.  I get monthly newsletter’s about my child.  One month I received a picture that my child had drawn, prayer requests from my child, an update on a basic doctor’s visit as well as improvement that needed to be made, etc.  I can write to my child anytime that I would like to and send stickers, etc.  At any time, I can donate extra money specifically for my child or specifically for her family and 100% of that specific donation will go to her, not administration costs.  Compassion International actually encourages you to take a trip to visit your child at any time.  I pleased that the child I sponsor is growing up in an environment through the child development center and church she goes to, (which is paid by my sponsorship) in which she is taught that she is special and loved by God.  That while she may not be taught it at home, through the program she is taught the love of Christ.

For those that are not Christians, you might ask “why is this organization important when the teaching of Christ is not important to me?”  To be specific, there are very few charity organizations, despite what they say, that more that 80% of donations go to the actual cause and less than 20% go to administration costs. Compassion is also listed on CharityNavigator’s list of 10 Charities with the Most Consecutive 4-Star Ratings.  Compassion offers their full financial report online to view, which is often something charities despite being law to make this available, make it difficult to locate.  Secondly, Compassion focuses on the core problems and solutions that other secular organizations attempt to fund, which includes medical care, education, and irradiation of poverty.  Yes, the Gospel is taught to these children.  But I would think that to those that are not Christian, you would rather these children grow up feeling and knowing they are loved despite it not being with the specific religious philosophy you agree with.  Or another way to look at it is, these children might have their survival needs met as well as medical care and education, but not their emotional needs and feelings of self worth.  One day when these children phase out of the charity because of age, without being taught that God is always with them and will always love them; they be stuck back at square one again.  Remember these children are undervalued, underprivileged, often abused, and do not grow up in a society where they are told they are worth something.  Therefore, the Gospel, whether you agree with it being taught or not provides the emotional support and sense of self worth these children need when they no longer have the support of a charity organization to fund them.

 

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