Don’t get me wrong, I love sponsoring the FIVE kids I have, and the organization that I’ve used has been good- though I’ve been getting several high-pressured emails about sponsoring more kids when I had to give 3 back not that long ago. It gutted me. Whenever they send them, it’s like what I do isn’t enough for them. THE reason I chose them was because they encourage having a relationship with the kids- not just a couple of letters a year, but as many as each person wants to write. It’s a Christian organization, but low-pressure on the kids. Writing about Christ is encouraged, obviously, but the kids get help no matter what.
I love the kids I sponsor. They have been blessings in my life, including the three I had to ‘give back’. It was a financial situation that isn’t going to get any better, so their offers of temporary sponsor assistance is just prolonging the inevitable. It’s a good place (or had been). I’m exhausted- haven’t slept all night from this. I feel used. And yet, I want to keep the kids I have, and have some fear of having them taken from me, and put back up on the sponsors needed list. I had done my budget with advice from my financial advisor over general stuff; along with some other changes, I had to stop sponsoring eight kids, and cut back to five. It feels really awful that five isn’t enough, and that i keep getting these emails to the tune of 3 in seven days. That’s a really horrible number of emails about something that I’ve already discussed my situation with someone (phone and SAVED emails). I’m on disability, with a disability income, a long term disability policy from the last place I worked that ends in 5 years, so I have to really buckle down since my needs will only increase, and the stock market dump with COVID-19 has really left its mark.
This is the verbatim copy of the first part of the third email they sent in 7 days, and got when I checked my email before going to bed (or thought I was going to bed). I’ve already had contact with three people over these emails. My concern when I talked to the person about having to give the other three back was that they got sponsors soon… now I’m getting the shame-based, high-pressure tactics that is really leaving a horrible ‘taste’, and like what I’m doing isn’t enough.
Thank you for thinking about the needs of children in poverty during this time of turmoil. Since you were interested in sponsoring a child, I wanted to let you know about a special opportunity. This child has been waiting in our program, without a sponsor, for over 300 days. Imagine the smile on their face, after all that time, learning that they have been sponsored by YOU! You saying yes will impact this child in so many ways.
This is the email I sent back –
Dear Compassion Representative,
Really? Again? Third time in ONE week. Would it help to take this to Twitter (via blog), the blog itself (never naming the kids, of course), and Facebook, so others can see what happens when a sponsor can’t afford more kids, and the pressurized sales pitches start? I’m doing this on a disability income, which I’m more than happy to do- I love those kids. When I said I couldn’t take more kids, I wasn’t joking. If I could, I’d sponsor more kids. I am not in a position to do that, and do it right. Or am I just an ATM for the kids once a month?
I was under the impression that the goal wasn’t only financial support, but spiritual support, and having someone who cares for them give them hope and encouragement, with an emphasis on Jesus’ love for them, and the promise of eternal life for all who accept Him and pray the Sinner’s Prayer. That’s what I signed up for. Maybe sending a letter directly to the CEO in Colorado would be better.
I SPONSOR FIVE KIDS through Compassion International, and started sponsoring them in 2017- adding a couple each year, Now, I keep getting these shame-based, high-pressure emails. I had to give 3 kids back because of financial issues a couple of months ago, and that had me in tears for several weeks. Why would such a tactic be used if I already explained (while bawling) that it wasn’t a temporary thing. I was told by someone in the Philippines that the emails would be taken care of- and a person called me and said they’d take me off of the “this kid needs a sponsor” emails. They ALL need sponsors. I’m sorry if five isn’t enough.
I really can’t sponsor more than five. I had eight, and loved having all of them- but then a lot happened. When I started sponsoring the last two kids (twins in Bangladesh) I was doing OK financially. This is NOT a temporary situation. Someone talked to me about the sponsor assistance. Is Compassion going to do that until the kids age out? Because my financial issues aren’t going to stop for the rest of my life. I’ve prayed about this and talked to my financial advisor. I really am doing the best I can. I find it offensive that sponsoring five kids isn’t enough for you.
PLEASE- again- I’m at my maximum. No more of the sales pitch emails. Maybe it’s better I change everything to snail mail communication. I sent the Christmas Party money already- took care of that. I sent Jane’s birthday money a few weeks ago- so that’s taken care of. I’ll send them individual Christmas gift money after the party is over, so they get a little extra for themselves- they’re growing like wild flowers. I’ve got November’s monthly support money set aside in my checkbook, so that’s taken care of. All of that comes before I get my own groceries. It always has for the three+ years I’ve been sponsoring, and I’m more than happy to do that for the five kids I have. But you want more. Three times in exactly 7 days. How many letters is it going to take, just so I can know what I’m in for?
You have no idea what’s going on in sponsors’ lives other than the translators dealing with letters (that’s between me, my doctors, and God). I love each of the kids I’ve got now, and keep praying for the three I had to let go; love didn’t stop when I had to stop sponsoring them. But please, JUST STOP with the high-pressure sales pitches to sponsor more kids. I. CAN’T. TAKE. ANY. MORE. KIDS. I know when I’m at my limit (after giving 3 back- I can’t imagine how horrible the kids felt, if it gutted me). These emails are painful to get. It was heart-wrenching to have to stop sponsoring kids I’d had for 1 and 3 years- and that is still very fresh; I wrote my final letter to those three kids in September, I think. It took me a few weeks to figure out how to say goodbye to those incredible kids.
Well, thanks for a night of no sleep; I’ll use it to pray for the kids, and that the right person gets the idea that the hard sell tactics aren’t going to make money magically appear. Don’t call me. Just get me off of the high-pressure ‘sponsor a child’ email list. I’ll be contacting the main office in Colorado as well.
“had name and sponsor number here”
I hope it reaches the right person. I love “my kids”, and hope to watch them grow up and choose a vocation or profession, as the organization helps them prepare to be financially stable- not just sponsored and turned back to the level of poverty they knew before sponsorship. I like that. I just hope that the organization doesn’t take the five kids I still have. It was bad enough having to give up three because of longterm things going on in my life. I thank God for these kids.
But I hope that the organization can do something about the emails that average every other day with another child to sponsor with high-pressure, shame-based messages. I need some sleep. I have so many ideas for writing to the kids based on age-appropriate issues they mention in their letters. I’ve got kids 8-15 years old. They are the greatest joy in my life (live alone, medically isolated, can’t leave home for anything but MD appointments, etc). These kids are who I think of when I see cute notecards or stickers online.
I thank God for them.