~~~~~~~~~~~~Each Tuesday I join ohamanda by posting a top ten list. The list might be tips, crafts, hints, favorites, or anything that sparks my interest. Enjoy!
10 Tips for making your Compassion International Sponsorship Easier:
1. Pray. I mean, come on, we all know we should start everything with prayer…yet, this is something that I still need to remind myself. When we begin our sponsorship in prayer, not only will we find writing our children easier, but our sponsorship as a whole will be more enriching. More meaningful. Amanda at ohamanda.com posted a really nice article about how when we pray for someone not only does it move God for them, but it changes our hearts, too. I’ve found it is much easier to write to my sponsored kids after I’ve had a moment of prayer with God. I may not know what to tell these precious ones, or when the letter will get to them, But God does. And He will give you the right words to say.
2. Love. It’s simple really. We love because God first loved us (1 John 4:19). And, as sponsor we’ve been entrusted to show these children both God’s love and our love. By loving our sponsor children through our financial support, and more importantly our letters, we get love in return. More than anything else, the love I have poured into my letters the last few months has helped me recover from a severely broken heart. Writing to my girls, and now Josué, has brought me joy when I could find no joy. They need my love. They WANT my love. We have to LOVE our sponsor children. They depend on it! And, if you show even an ounce of love to them, I pray you get a letter like this one:
3. Get a Binder per Child. I sponsored Helen Angela for nearly 5 years before I found a tip that changed my letter-writing-world: binders. By keeping a binder for each child, I can keep all the things I want to send to that child together. I also keep all the letters the kids have sent me; copies of the letters I send them; and (in page protectors) the sticker sheets, cards, and coloring pages in each binder. Additionally, I keep a small box with coloring books, sticker packets, and general stuff that I might want to send the children. The binders and box keep me organized, and help me know what I’ve already asked my kids, what questions they’ve answered, and where our conversation left off. Besides, when you use a binder, or a folder – or really any method where you can keep all of your letters together, you end up with a nice little place to store all of that love we talked about earlier. 🙂 Seriously, binders rock my world. (It probably helps that I’m a major school supply junkie and love any excuse to buy organizational stuff)
4. Use the Online Writing tool. Hopefully by now, you know that Compassion has rolled out a seriously sweet new online writing tool. If you haven’t tried it out yet, I urge you to do so, and do it soon! It makes writing your sponsored child so much easier! The online tool lets you choose a template (and they’ve got a really nice selection: holidays, birthdays, some for boys, some for girls, you get the idea…), write a short note to your child (short by my standards anyway. It’s a bit less than a page of 12pt double spaced text), and you can easily attach digital photos. The tool also lets you keep drafts of letters, copy letters to send to multiple children (if you’re writing a snow themed letter, for example), and it keeps the last 3 letters you’ve sent. I am really impressed with the job Compassion has done here – this tool way way wayyyy surpasses the old online writing method. However, in my opinion it the online tools don’t replace a hand written letter every once in a while. After all, there’s just something to be said about seeing your name in someone else’s handwriting. Don’t you think?
5. Vistaprint. I found Vistaprint about a year ago and I am in love with it! They are an online printer primarily for small businesses. They have really nice templates that you can customize for pretty much anything. I’ve ordered custom postcards for my Awana club; bible verse ‘business cards,’ stickers, and my biggest time saver: return address labels for my sponsored children. With Vistaprint’s return address labels, I can get 140 custom stickers with my sponsor child’s name and number, my name and sponsor number, or compassion’s mailing address! The first thing I did after receiving Josué’s information was order some labels! This way, I can just peel and stick instead of writing it on every item I send. Plus, if you sign up for their emails, they send you special offers about every 2 weeks. I have never paid over $5 for anything I’ve ordered off the site – and I’ve ordered a LOT. Usually, I wait until I get a “get this free” promo code before I order. You do have to pay shipping, but it’s usually under $5. Go check them out!
6. Keep it Fun. It’s much easier to write your child when you have fun doing so. Your sponsor children want to know more about you, your family, your friends. So, why not write about what you enjoy doing? Write about a hobby, send photos of your children, your grandchildren, your pets, your life. Most of us have gotten that initial ‘about me’ form letter from our sponsor children. You know the one: my name is, my brother’s name is, my favorite color is, I like to… you get the idea. Why not send the same sort of information to your sponsored children? You could even stretch it out over several letters. Do one on your favorite color (mine is purple). You could list purple things, talk about a Bible story that relates (see Lydia), and send purple stickers 🙂 Just a thought. If you do this, please link back and let me see!
7. Use Your Sunday Sermon. I teach Children’s Church. Nearly every week, we make a simple paper craft to go along with our lesson. I make one along with the children as an example. The children take thiers home – and what do I do with mine? Well up until a couple of months ago, I threw them away. Then, God got a hold of me and shook me a bit and said “wait a minute, these crafts fit Compassion guidelines! Don’t throw them out, use them to teach!” So now I send them 1/2 way ’round the world to children that can use the crafts to share the Bible stories with their friends and family. Now, you may not teach children’s church, but, you do have access to a sermon every Sunday. Why not take notes during preaching and share a couple of key points with your sponsored children? Or, you could check with your children’s department and see what they do with leftover crafts. They might be willing to donate them to you 🙂
8. Find some Blog Love. The hardest part of sponsorship for me is waiting for those letters! So, in the months between, I follow my blog friends. Reading their letters tides me over until it is my turn to share. Plus, you’d be amazed at how many good ideas they have! Check out: Michelle, Jessica, Hez, JD, Jill and any of the blogs that I’ve linked to on the sidebar to get started. 🙂
9. Join OurCompassion. I could go on and on about the benefits of OurCompassion (OC) but really, you just need to try it out for yourself. OC is a social networking site just for Compassion Sponsors. You can connect with people who sponsor in the same project as your child, share photos, share ideas, and most importantly, share encouragement! You can find me on OC, here.
10. Correspondent Sponsorship. If, after all of this, you just don’t feel God is calling you to write your child, I BEG you to call compassion and ask for a correspondent sponsor. This person will take over writing and you will provide the financial support. On the flip side, if God is calling you to write more children, but you are financially unable to do so – call compassion and ask to be assigned a correspondent child. That way, you get to write the child and someone else provides the monetary backing. It took about 3 weeks for my correspondent child, Josué, assigned to me. I’ve heard it can take anywhere from one week to a couple of months, depending on the need for correspondent writers at that time.
Welp, that’s all my tips for this Tuesday. Thanks to ohAmanda for use of the button!