Last Friday, the Minneapolis Star Tribune published an article entitled “Where do funds go in support-a-child charities?” with recommendations for determining how your donations will be used by a sponsorship organization. Below are Common Hope’s answers to the recommended questions:
• Are the children in the fundraising materials actual children or models?
All of the children in our materials are actual children sponsored by Common Hope.
• Are the living conditions accurately portrayed in the fundraising materials?
Many affiliated families live in homes with dirt floors and cornstalk walls, while others live in homes of cement block, or homes of fibrolit (a hard cement fiber) earned when families volunteer community service hours with Common Hope. Every Sponsor gets updates that explain the particular living conditions of his or her sponsored student.
• Does your donation go directly to the child you are sponsoring?
Your donation does provide your sponsored child—and his or her entire family—access to Common Hope’s integrated programs in education, health care,housing, and family development. However, please be aware that your monthly donation is not given as cash to your sponsored family.
• Are funds pooled for community-wide projects that would benefit the child indirectly? If so, what kinds of projects does your donation support?
Common Hope uses other donations (outside of sponsorship donations) to fund projects that serve the larger community, like community health fairs and education promotion.
• What is the cost of your monthly donation and what will it cover?
A Lead Sponsor donates $60/month for a student and his or her family, while a Guide Sponsor donates $30/month and shares the expense with another Guide Sponsor. The monthly donation covers any expenses associated with attending school, including tuition, school supplies, books, and uniforms. The donation also helps cover the following benefits for the whole family: visits with a social worker, access to medical care, materials and labor should the family choose to earn housing improvements, and access to other social services like Al-Anon, parenting classes, and job placement services. Incidentally, the value families receive is more than $60/month. Common Hope uses other program and unrestricted donations to cover the balance of the cost per family.
• Can you write letters or send gifts to your sponsored child?
Yes, Common Hope welcomes and encourages letters to your sponsored child,and small gifts for special occasions. So far this year, Common Hope volunteers and staff have translated 7,564 letters between students and Sponsors. Sponsors can also visit their sponsored child in Guatemala. Last year, 336 Sponsors visited their students.
• What will happen to the child you are sponsoring if you end the sponsorship?
When a Guatemalan family partners with Common Hope, we promise to support that family until their child graduates from high school—a long-term commitment. If a Sponsor is unable to continue his or her commitment, we will continue to support the family while we seek another Sponsor for that student.
• Has the charity demonstrated its transparency by participating in a review through the Charities Review Council?
Common Hope has indeed been reviewed by the Charities Review Council and meets all standards. You can check out our accountability review here.