Q: HOW DOES SPONSORSHIP HELP?
A: Sponsoring provides monthly, recurring support that enables our staff on the ground to ensure the child or youth you sponsor is in school, has the supplies needed to succeed, is receiving medical care when needed, and other basic needs. All children in the same program as your child benefit from sponsorship support; however, your sponsorship provides you and the child you sponsor the opportunity to connect through letter-writing and the opportunity to meet on mission trips. We hope you will form a long-lasting relationship that will benefit you both beyond measure.
Q: HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD OR VIEW MY SPONSORSHIP ACCOUNT?
A: The easiest way to sponsor a child is to visit our website at goaus.childsponsorshipservices.org, select a child to sponsor, and enter your donation payment information. You may also contact us at (770) 559-9338 or firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to help you set up your sponsorship account. Once you sign up to sponsor, you can return to the website and log in to your account to manage your payment method, write your child, and make other changes to your account.
Q: HOW LONG WILL MY SPONSORSHIP LAST?
A: Your sponsorship is completely voluntary and lasts however long you feel led to help. Many of our sponsors have supported one or more children in our programs for years. Generally speaking, children are sponsored until they graduate from our program at the end of their primary or secondary school education (depending on the program).
Q: WHAT HAPPENS AFTER MY CHILD GRADUATES OR IF THEY LEAVE THE PROGRAM?
A: Remember, your support is benefitting not only your sponsor child, but all the children in the program that your child is a part of. Children leave our programs for many reasons. They may be reunited with a guardian or extended family, be placed in foster care, or on rare occasions run away. We do our best to locate runaways and bring them back home to their GOA family. Though our goal is to take them as far in their education as our programs allow, that is not always the case.
Once your child graduates, or leaves the program for any reason, we will notify you of the change and assign another child in the same community to you. This helps to ensure the programs remain fully funded; however, you can email or call us if you prefer that we stop your sponsorship or transfer you to a different child of your own choosing.
Q: CAN I DISCONTINUE MY SPONSORSHIP?
A: You may stop your sponsorship donations at any time by calling us at 770-559-9338 or sending an email to email@example.com. Once we are notified that you are unable to continue your sponsorship, we begin the process of finding a new sponsor so your child’s support can continue uninterrupted. The more lead-time we have from you, the easier it will be to find a new sponsor to support the child you sponsored.
Q: WHAT HAPPENS TO THE CHILD I SPONSOR IF I STOP BEFORE THEIR PROGRAM IS COMPLETE?
A: We understand that your situation may change and you may need to stop your sponsorship before your child/youth has completed the program. The program is still benefitting from sponsorship donations from other sponsors in that community so the program will continue and your child will continue to receive those benefits. We will do our best to find another sponsor for the child you were sponsoring so they can continue to have a prayer partner and encourager. Our goal is that every child in our sponsorship program have a sponsor to build that relationship with over time.
Q: HOW MUCH DOES A SPONSORSHIP COST AND HOW CAN I PAY?
A: Our sponsorships are $39 per month, and can be paid monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. The preferred method of sponsorship payment is by credit or debit card but we can also set up automatic withdrawals with your bank account. If you prefer to mail your payments, you may send your check payable to GOA US Child Sponsorship Team, P.O.Box 315, Alpharetta, GA 30009-0315.
Q: ARE MY CONTRIBUTIONS ELIGIBLE FOR TAX DEDUCTION?
A: Yes! Your sponsorship donation is processed by Child Sponsorship Services and executed for the GOA US child sponsorship program. Child Sponsorship Services is a division of BrightPoint for Children, Inc., a registered 501(c)(3) organization.
All donations are 100% tax-deductible. Child Sponsorship Services will issue a year-end contribution statement for tax purposes by email, or the U.S. Postal Service if you do not have an email address.
Q: HOW DO I UPDATE MY CREDIT/DEBIT CARD INFORMATION?
A: You can log in to your account at any time at goaus.childsponsorshipservices.org using the Account Login feature to update your sponsorship payment method. We can also update your account for you if you prefer to call us at 770-559-9338.
Q: HOW DO I CHANGE MY PAYMENT TYPE?
A: You may change from check payer to credit/debit card payer by adding your card number to your account once logged in. If you want to switch from a credit/debit card to check or automated account withdrawal, please call our office at 770-559-9338.
Q: WILL I BE ABLE TO CORRESPOND WITH MY SPONSORED CHILD/YOUTH?
A: Relationships are at the heart of what we do, so GOA US will make every effort to ensure you receive periodic correspondence from your child. It could be a handwritten letter, craft, or electronic communication. Please remember that the community where your child lives is in remote areas of Kenya and regular correspondence can be challenging. We rely on our mission teams to deliver and return letters to and from the children and youth. Though this can be time-consuming, we believe it is the best way to ensure that the letters get to where they are intended.
Corresponding with your child is greatly encouraged! The children are always excited to receive letters and photos. We ask that you limit written communication to around 4X per year and that your letters be no longer than a few paragraphs. This helps us with printing, delivery, and translation (if applicable) costs. Photographs are also a great way to share information about yourself and your family with your child/youth and they are treasured by the children.
There are three easy ways to send letters and photos to your child:
- Log on to your sponsorship account at goaus.childsponsorshipservices.org. Once logged in you will see a button to write your sponsored child, as well as attach up to 5 photos. The letters will be printed, translated if necessary, and delivered to your child.
- Mail your letter and pictures directly to: GOA US Child Sponsorship Team, P.O. Box 315, Alpharetta, GA, 30009-0315.
- Email your letter and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org where it will be printed, translated if necessary, and delivered to your sponsored child/youth.
Q: WHAT SHOULD I INCLUDE WITH MY LETTER TO ENSURE IT GETS TO MY SPONSORED CHILD?
A: Please include your name and the child’s name on your correspondence. If you know their community and or country that is helpful, too. We organize the letters by country and community before we send them with teams who travel with and deliver the letters. Please know that we review all letters to and from the children for appropriateness for everyone’s privacy and safety. We ask that you not share your last name, home address, or email.
Q: WHAT SHOULD I WRITE ABOUT?
A: Your sponsored student will love hearing about you and your life! That can include stories of your family, friendships, pets, and hobbies. Your church life is also a great part of your life to share with your child. The children may know limited English so brief, thoughtful messages are best. Photographs are cherished and a great way to share your life with your child. We just ask that you be careful not to share photos or stories that highlight the economic differences that may exist between you and your child or their community.
Q: WHAT SORT OF LETTERS CAN I EXPECT FROM MY CHILD?
A: Your child may write about what they are learning in school or about their family. Letter-writing exercises are sometimes done during school to help the children learn English or as a writing exercise. Not all children are good at writing so don’t be discouraged by brief or impersonal messages. The longer you remain in contact, the more likely it is that your letters will become more personal. If your child is too young to write, or has other factors limiting his/her ability to write, an aid may write for them and will note that they transcribed the letter for the child. Coloring pages or other crafts may be sent from time-to-time as well.
Q: CAN I SEND GIFTS TO MY CHILD?
A: We understand that the intention is heartfelt but we do not encourage gifts and cannot transport oversized items to your sponsored youth. Gifts from sponsors can cause jealousy and bad feelings amongst children and families in the communities where we work. They are also difficult for mission teams to take with them due to airline packing restrictions and fees that may be incurred for bringing items into another country. If items are sent that we cannot transport, we will donate them to a local charity that works with underserved youth.
You may, however, send birthday, Christmas, and other holiday cards, stickers, coloring pages, Bible verse or prayer cards, and bookmarks as long as they fit in a flat envelope that is of reasonable size.
Q: WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY SPONSORED CHILD OR THEIR FAMILY CONTACTS ME DIRECTLY?
A: With access to the internet and social media, this can sometimes occur. We ask that you not respond directly to your child or their family. Though the outreach may be innocent, we want to make sure no one is trying to take advantage of the situation or asking for anything inappropriately. Children and families in our programs are aware of the policy to not reach out to sponsors directly. If it is a person you once sponsored that has graduated from our programs that is reaching out to you, we would like the opportunity to speak with you before you respond. We recommend you contact us at email@example.com so we can discuss the best next steps.
Q: CAN I VISIT MY SPONSORED STUDENT?
A: Yes, we would love for you to visit your child! Trips can be organized through your church or you are welcome to join an open trip. Please visit goausa.org often to stay abreast of upcoming mission trips!
Q: IS IT OKAY TO POST PHOTOS ON MY SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS?
A: We love that you are excited about your sponsorship and want to share that information with family and friends with whom you are connected by social media. If you sponsor a child outside of the United States and want to post photos of him or her that you receive, or that you’ve taken if you’ve had the good fortune to meet him/her, that is okay but we ask that you only use the child’s first name for their safety. It may also be advisable to not share information about where the child lives because some areas of the world are more dangerous than others for children and/or Christian ministries. If you have further questions about this, please feel free to contact us directly at (770) 559-9338 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.