Doing a thorough comparison of Children International, ChildFund, Compassion International, Plan USA, Save the Children and World Vision required multiple steps. I started out by researching information available on each organization's website. From there I was able to get the year founded, monthly amount needed to sponsor a child, and general descriptions of the child sponsorship programs.
Because I have sponsored children from each of these organizations, I knew there were significant differences in the way benefits were administered to the children, but it was hard to find the distinction by looking at the general program descriptions on the Internet. I wanted to really compare and contrast the benefits a sponsored child receives with one organization versus another and look at how the donations were used.
I wanted to know if every sponsored child received a specific list of direct benefits or if different children benefited in different ways through larger community-based projects. For example, does each sponsored child get access to a doctor because of the child sponsorship program or might a sponsored child be in a community where a well was built and the child has access to that as their only benefit of sponsorship? I found the only way to truly understand each organization's programs was to call each of them to get answers to the same list of pointed questions. I recorded each of the calls and then went back and typed *summaries of them while listening to the recordings. I then used the results of those calls, combined with information from the Internet, to create my summary table. I did not ask the questions verbatim, only used the questions as my guideline to make sure I had all my answers before ending the calls.
I spent several days building my list of questions. I wanted to make sure I asked them in such a way that the answer provided would be specific enough for me to identify if EACH sponsored child in the program received EACH benefit mentioned in their program descriptions. My questions were as follows:
||1. What makes your organization unique from other organizations?
2. Exactly what direct benefits will my sponsored child receive?
3. Are benefits consistent for every child?
4. How do you get the benefits to my child?
5. If benefits are administered through a community center, how many children does a community center generally support?
6. Will part of my child sponsorship donation go to community projects, not directly benefitting my sponsored child?
7. Will my child receive regular evaluations and follow-up treatment as necessary?
8. Will my child go to a doctor employed by you or a local doctor in the community?
9. Will my child get dental examinations and treatment?
10. Will my child receive direct food benefits as part of sponsorship?
11. Will my child receive clothing as part of sponsorship?
12. Will my child receive shoes as part of sponsorship?
13. Will my child get help with school tuition and supplies to make sure they get their primary education?
14. Do you provide any additional resources, such as libraries or computers, for my sponsored child?
15. Will my child be involved in any youth programs offered by you?
16. Do you offer scholarships for secondary education or vocational training to all sponsored children?
Based on my research, there are only two organizations offering true one-to-one child sponsorship. They are Children International and Compassion International.
Although all the sponsorship organizations allow for a personal relationship between the sponsor and child through letter-writing and the exchange of photos, there is a distinct difference in the way sponsorship donations are used to benefit the children.
In a one-to-one sponsorship program, each child receives specific, tangible benefits intended solely for them or their family. Examples of these tangible benefits are food and vitamins, medical and dental care, clothing and shoes, school uniforms, backpacks and other supplies.
A community-based program is different in that they combine child sponsorship donations with other donations to complete large projects within a community, such as digging a well or building a latrine. The sponsored children in those programs benefit from the work done in the community, but do not necessarily receive any tangible benefits intended solely for them. World Vision, ChildFund, Save the Children, and Plan USA all administer community-based programs.
Both types of organizations fight poverty and provide relief to families by providing needed community resources or direct benefits to individual children.
As you can see from the comparison table, there are differences in the benefits provided by the community-based organizations. World Vision and Save the Children do not specialize in direct benefits for their sponsored population. Their programs are more centered on providing community resources so families can provide for themselves. When World Vision was asked Question #2 above, "Exactly what direct benefits will my sponsored child receive," their response was clean water in the community, education facility and food. They said they were able to go in and nourish the grounds that are there. The money goes into a child and family pool of funds to benefit the entire community. World Vision said my child would be directly affected through correspondence with me and because his/her community as a whole has more nourished grounds.
Save the Children had a similar response to that question. Their programs seem to be more varied from country to country depending on the local needs, whereas World Vision seems to have core programs offered to all areas and supplemental programs where needed. When Save the Children was asked the same Question #2 above, their response was that the child is participating in Save the Children programs and the child sponsorship donations fund the programs. The children are required to actively participate. The programs offered depend on the area in which the child lives.
The other two community-based organizations are ChildFund and Plan USA. Both of these organizations, although using community-based funding, do provide some direct benefits to the children enrolled in their programs. When Plan USA was asked what direct benefits my child would receive, they responded that they go into communities in need and work with the local leaders initially. The leaders of the community then decide what the greatest needs are for that community, and then the community funds are used for that purpose. The children in that community then become sponsored. Although they do not offer all the direct benefits of Children International and Compassion International, they do provide children in the program with access to local doctors for growth monitoring and immunizations. Based on remarks from their representative, most of the programs are centered on educational and agricultural development.
ChildFund provides the most direct benefits of any of the community-based organizations. They use much of their child sponsorship income to provide direct benefits to their sponsored children, with a portion of the funds being used for community projects.
After completing the comparison of Children International, ChildFund, Compassion International, Plan USA, Save the Children and World Vision, I feel that Children International offers true one-to-one child sponsorship for the lowest monthly contribution and provides more direct benefits to each sponsored child. If you are looking for an opportunity to provide one child with the benefits and resources he or she needs to fight poverty and to grow into an educated, self-reliant adult, then sponsor a child through Children International. Each of our sponsored children will receive the direct benefits and personal attention they need to succeed in life and carry that success back to his or her community to teach others.
Children International is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. We are associated with the Department of Public Information at the United Nations. We work as an expert consultant on youth issues with the UN's World Programme for Youth in Action as we share information on issues facing youth from 12 to 24 years. Our programs are based on the United Nations Millennium Development Goals - goals we share with other organizations. Our youth programs have the most sponsored youth participating. In order to include the status of each organization, I used http://www.un.org/esa/coordination/ngo/ as a resource.
At Children International, our mission is to help children living in dire poverty. This is accomplished through the generosity of our contributors, by providing children with program benefits and services that meet basic needs, enhance their self-esteem and raise their physical and educational levels in a meaningful, lasting way. But there are thousands of very poor children who are waiting for someone to give them a hand up. Someone like you. Please request child sponsorship information today and sponsor a child; it will change two lives, including yours.
- World Vision
- Save the Children
- Plan USA
- Children International
Back to Top
Sponsorship Comparison Page | Study Narrative | Study Update - August 2012
World Vision | Save the Children | Plan USA | Compassion | ChildFund | Children International | Sitemap