Frequently asked questions about child sponsorship
Here you'll find the answers to common questions we receive about sponsoring a child with SOS Children.
If you have a question about fundraising for us or corporate partnerships, have a look at our Get Involved section. If your question is about SOS Children in general, we hope we can answer it for you in the About our Charity and Our Work sections. Alternatively, if you'd like to talk to us, get in touch.
- How does it work?
- Will you keep in touch with what my sponsorship is achieving?
- Can I sponsor a child as a gift for someone else?
- How long do I have to be a sponsor for?
Your sponsored child
- Can I choose the child I sponsor?
- Can I choose to sponsor a child from a particular country?
- What religion will my sponsored child be?
- May I write to and visit the children I sponsor?
- Can you help me with international adoption?
Your sponsorship money
- Where does the money go?
- How much of my money will go to my sponsored child or Village?
- So how do you pay for your costs, newsletters, etc.?
- Can the cost of sponsorship rise?
It takes a few minutes to set-up your sponsorship online or over the phone. 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.
We will then send you an email to confirm your sponsorship. Within 1-2 weeks we will send you a welcome pack, which will introduce you to your sponsored child. This includes a photo of your sponsored child, their name, and some background information about their childhood and circumstances.
There are two types of sponsorship to choose from:
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. 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 send you our magazine, 'Family Matters' which is full of stories about our work around the world. If we have your email address, you can choose to receive our monthly newsletter, 'SOS eNews'.
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.
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.
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. There are over 540 SOS Children’s Villages in 125 countries around the world. Many of these are home to children who you can sponsor. You can see the countries we work in on our Where to Sponsor page. If you don't have a preference, simply ask us to choose a Village where the need is the greatest.
What religion will my sponsored child be?
Like most families, children in SOS families generally are brought up in their mother's faith until they are old enough to make decisions themselves. Many Children's Villages have families of different faiths living side by side. If a child arrives in a Children's Village with a particular faith we will try to place them with an SOS 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.
You are welcome to send letters to your sponsored child, and children in SOS families always like receiving letters. We can also help with translations, where necessary. However, we don't make children reply to every letter. 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 British 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.
We can not help with adopting a child. Our charity believes that every child should grow up in a family, where possible in the child's biological family and their familiar environment. This includes growing up within their own culture and learning their native language.
We try to achieve this through our community outreach programmes which support vulnerable families to stay together. Secondly, when a child is orphaned or abandonded, and not able to live with their own family, we work closely with local child welfare authorities to find a new caring home for that child. This may be to join an SOS family in a Children's Village, where they will be kept together with their natural siblings.
Although we understand adoption is one path to finding care for a child, we favour local possibilities to be exhausted first. If you would like to support one of the children in our care while they grow up in their own country and culture, you can sponsor a child.
100% of sponsorship donations go towards the expenses of the Children's Villages and our community projects there. 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 child).
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.
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.
Can the cost of sponsorship rise?
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.
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.
More information about child sponsorship
You can sponsor a child online today.