The question our sponsorship staff encounters most frequently is, “Can I write my sponsored child?”
We think this is a fantastic question! It shows that you take your sponsorship seriously — often sending positive thoughts or prayers to your sponsored child, and wondering how he or she is doing. Your desire to connect with your sponsored child is one that warms our hearts — and your sponsored child’s, too!
Generally, the answer is yes, you can write your sponsored child. But, there are a few stipulations, mostly designed to ensure your sponsored child and his or her family remain safe and successful in our programs.
Here, we’ve created a “9 dos and don’ts” list regarding correspondence with your sponsored child.
1. Do send cards, letters and words of encouragement.
You can send a handwritten letter to our headquarters in Eugene, which our team will then translate and deliver to your sponsored child. Through Holt’s new online service center for sponsors, you can also now submit a letter digitally! Simply sign into the service center at holtinternational.org/my-holt-account and follow the prompts to send your sponsored child a message.
After our sponsorship team in the U.S. reviews it, we will then have it translated and send it to the Holt team in your sponsored child’s country to be delivered. For children who live in remote, rural areas, our sponsorship staff may only visit each child once every few months. For that reason, we ask that you limit your messages to once every three months.
2. Do tell your sponsored child about yourself and your family!
We encourage you to write about your family, activities you enjoy together and what life is like where you live. Sponsored children like to hear about your town, if you attend school, what you do for work, if you have pets, and other details that help them get to know you.
3. Don’t evangelize or give out personal contact information.
Avoid giving personal and specific contact information, like your address, phone number or specific place of employment. While you are welcome to write statements like “our family enjoys attending church” or “we are praying for you,” we ask that you please avoid language that directly evangelizes to children, such as “Jesus died on the cross for you.” Because we work in countries and serve families with diverse religious beliefs, evangelical statements can be dangerous or confusing for a child. Some countries even have laws about how and where religion can be practiced, and overtly religious statements can threaten our ability to serve children and families in your sponsored child’s country. Lastly, please refer to yourself as your sponsored child’s friend or sponsor, as other relational designations can be confusing.
4. Do include photos.
You can also include a photo of yourself or your family!
5. Do keep mailed materials child- and culture-appropriate.
Please avoid sending pictures in which someone is holding an alcoholic beverage or photos of your family or children in swimwear, which can be considered immodest in many of the countries where Holt works. We do screen letters and photos to ensure they’re appropriate before sharing them with sponsored children.
6. Don’t send money or gifts.
Holt rarely provides money directly to children or families. Rather, your monthly sponsorship helps cover the cost of essentials for your sponsored child such as school fees, uniforms, medical care and supplemental food. For that reason, we do not allow sponsors to send money directly to their sponsored child.
We also ask you not to send material gifts to Holt to deliver to your sponsored child. The extra cost to mail books, stickers, coloring books, pencils, markers, toys, trinkets or similar material items overseas is so great that it makes more sense to purchase these items in country. When you mail material gifts to Holt, we unfortunately have to remove them from sponsor correspondence packets. Thankfully, however, your sponsorship donations already help our staff in country purchase material items such as art and school supplies for your sponsored child! And your sponsored child knows these items come from you, their sponsor!
7. Do send your mailed items to Holt International’s office.
All mailed items are screened and mailed in bulk from Holt’s headquarters at 250 Country Club Road in Eugene, Oregon, 97401. We will open and check letters, photos and other materials to ensure they follow our guidelines.
8. Do let us know if you have questions or concerns.
Do call us if you have specific questions about an item you would like to send your sponsored child. Our sponsorship team is always happy to answer your questions! Call us at 1-800-451-0732 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
9. Don’t forget to tell your friends, family and community about Holt child sponsorship!
Share how your monthly sponsorship is changing the life of your sponsored child and encourage them to visit holtinternational.org/sponsorship to learn about children who need sponsors.