Frequently asked questions about child sponsorship
- How does it work?
- Can I choose where to sponsor?
- Can I choose the child I sponsor?
- Will you keep me in touch with what my money is helping to achieve?
- How much of my money will go to my sponsored child or Village?
- How long do I have to be a sponsor for?
- Can the cost of sponsorship rise?
- Where does the money go?
- So how do you pay for your costs, newsletters, etc.?
- May we write to and visit the children we sponsor?
- What religion will my sponsored child be?
- Can I sponsor a child as a gift for someone else?
You can set up a monthly Direct Debit of £20 (many donors give £25 or £30 a month) or make regular donations by debit or credit card. Your sponsorship will help SOS Children in one of two ways:
1. Sponsor a child living in an SOS Children’s Village
If you help us this way, you’ll be giving long-term support to a child. You'll be supporting us to give a vulnerable child a permanent and caring home in an SOS Children’s Village. They will also receive quality education, health care, and tailored services as required. Your SOS child will have more than one sponsor from different countries. This way they’ll know that a number of friends care for and support them, and it’ll also make their future more financially secure.
2. Sponsor an SOS Children’s Village
Alternatively, you can sponsor an entire SOS Children’s Village. This helps to ensure all of the children benefit from an education, medical care, food and clothing. You will be helping every child to enjoy a happy and stable childhood and look forward to a brighter future. All of the medical facilities, schools and welfare centres also help the wider community.
Yes. There are over 500 SOS Children’s Villages in 125 countries around the world. Many of these are available for sponsorships. You can see the countries we work in on our Where to Sponsor page. If you don't have a preference, you can simply ask us to choose a Village where the need is currently the greatest.
You can tell us whether you would like to sponsor a boy or girl, an approximate age, and which country they are from. If you would like to sponsor a child with special needs (we have quite a few children physically impaired by polio or land mines etc.) you can talk to us and we will see which children are available. Also if for some reason you feel the first child you are sent is not suitable, we will try to help.
Yes. You will receive a letter twice a year from our colleagues in the country where you are sponsoring, at Christmas and again in the summer. You can take a look at past Sponsorship Updates on our website. We’ll also make sure you receive our regular magazine, 'Family Matters' which is full of information about our work around the world. If we have your email address, you can choose to receive our monthly newsletter, 'SOS eNews'.
We guarantee that every penny is spent on the care of children, with no deductions for UK admin. Sponsorship donations are sent to the SOS Children's Village and go into a pot, from which each child and their new family are clothed, fed and educated. To ensure that no sponsored child goes without care, some flexibility is needed. To allow for this a minimum of 85% of each sponsorship payment will go to your child or Village, and up to 15% may be transferred to help sponsored children in SOS Children’s Villages which are underfunded. This will only be done when necessary, and funds will only come from Villages with sufficient resources to ensure that the children there continue to receive the same high standards of care as ever.
We pay our administration costs in the UK using some of the Gift Aid from donors who agree to Gift Aid their donations.
There is no minimum or maximum period. If, for whatever reason, you wish to stop sponsoring your SOS child or SOS Children's Village just get in touch and let us know.
If the cost of sponsorship rises we tell donors. However, existing donors may carry on paying their existing rate unless the difference becomes too great.
100% of sponsorship donations go towards the expenses of the villages where the children live and our projects there (such as support programmes for AIDS orphans still in their own villages). This ensures that SOS Children can help as many children as possible. Since children live with an SOS Mother in families of around 10 children, we do not split budgets down child by child; however, where sponsors give additional gifts to the child for Christmas or birthdays we ensure that this money is used for that specific child (we accept financial donations, which are put into a savings account for that specific child).
When people pay us directly, and Gift Aid their donation, we can reclaim this tax and this is used to pay for the admin costs of sponsorship. When people pay for sponsorship through payroll giving for example, the tax is already reclaimed, so we cover the admin costs of sponsorship from our general funds.
We welcome letters to the children and the children always like getting letters. We can also help with translations, where necessary. However, we do not make children reply to every letter or write a thank you letter for every gift. Some children do so themselves and sometimes they correspond frequently with sponsors, especially if they speak the same language.
We have thought a lot about this, and realise in general that this is the polite thing to do in English society. But our primary concern is the welfare and happiness of the child and we would like the child to feel the love and support they are getting is unconditional. Also a mother with ten children to care for does not always have the chance to sit down with each one and help them write a letter.
It is also possible to visit a Village. However, the privacy of all the children in our care and their right to a normal upbringing will always remain our priority. Please get in touch if you would like more information about arranging a visit to a Village.
As with real families children generally are brought up in their mother's faith until they are old enough to make decisions themselves. Many Villages have families of different faiths living side by side. If a child comes to us of a particular faith we will generally place them with a mother of the same faith. In practice this means that children are often brought up in the prevailing religion of their country, if there is one.
We do not try to introduce different religions or cultures into a region, and we respect the local culture in its entirety. There are only a very small number of exceptions to this, such as we prohibit physical punishment of children even if local culture and law allows it.
Yes! Child sponsorship is a wonderful present which enriches lives. Both the person receiving the present, and a child in need, are given a truly valuable gift. You can set up a child sponsorship as a gift at any time. Simply click on the sponsor a child button and tell us in the ‘special instructions’ box the name and address of the person receiving the gift. They will receive a sponsorship welcome pack with a photo and details of their sponsored child, as well as regular updates. These updates will be sent directly to the gift recipient twice a year, while correspondence about financial details of the sponsorship will be sent to you.
Find out more about giving child sponsorship as a Christmas gift.
We send you this handbook when you sponsor an SOS Child or Village. It's a really useful guide to your sponsorship and we hope it will answer any further questions you may have.
Click the image to download (pdf).
Please get in touch, we'd love to hear from you. Here are our contact details.