Writing your sponsored friend
What letters mean to your sponsored friend
Yes, we know — nobody writes letters anymore. It can be soooo slow. But what if that simple act of setting aside 15 minutes in your busy day could have a powerful impact on someone's life?
Whether it's a brief note asking about their family, how they're doing in school or just saying, "I'm thinking of you," the simple but countercultural act of writing an old-fashioned letter can mean the world to a child whose mother is sick, to a youth struggling to finish school, or to an elderly person who yearns for companionship.
Our project staffs tell us that sometimes it's hard for the children, youth and aging members in the sponsorship program to understand why someone who has never met them would want to help them. Holding your letter or card in their hands somehow makes you less of a stranger and more of a friend. No matter how simple, these letters and notes help let your friend know there's someone far away who cares and wants them to succeed in life.
It's easy to get started—here are some helpful tips on writing letters to your friend.
A photo can mean so much
When you began sponsoring, you were given a photo of your sponsored friend. Just as you enjoy knowing who you're writing to, your friend would love to have a photo of you or your family.
Sending a photo allows your friend to get to know you a little better. As you place your friend's photo on the fridge or elsewhere in your home, know that your friend’s family will have your photo in a special place, too.
Privacy and child protection
At the heart of the sponsorship relationship is the ability to get to know one another and form friendships of mutual respect. For this to occur, Unbound has developed a set of communication guidelines intended to provide a safe place for these friendships to flourish.
To protect the privacy of our sponsors and ensure that all communications with sponsored members are appropriate, we have our project staffs monitor all correspondence. At this time, letter writing is the method by which all communications must take place. Additional information about these guidelines is contained in the child protection policy that all sponsors and sponsored members agree to follow.
Read our policy »
All correspondence is monitored by the project staff for appropriateness and the protection and privacy of both sponsored friends and sponsors.
It is against our child protection policies to be in unsupervised communication with your sponsored friend. Therefore, do not share personal contact information, including email, home addresses and telephone numbers, or communicate using social media tools such as Facebook or Twitter. Instant messaging systems such as Skype, AIM, iChat, and ICQ are also forbidden forms of communication.
Violation of this policy could jeopordize your friend's eligibility for sponsorship and your eligibility to sponsor.
We welcome sponsors to talk about their sponsorship experience on their Facebook page or on blogs, including our own blog. We simply ask that for child protection reasons, you refer to your sponsored friend by first name only and by his or her country of residence (without naming specific cities, schools, etc.).
Can I send a gift?
Yes! We make that simple, too. Just make a small donation to the Birthday Fund or the
Christmas Fund. This allows the local project staff to provide a party and gift for all the children and aging — including your friend. The staff select appropriate gift items, and your friend knows the party and gift is from you. Best of all, they use your donation to purchase items locally, which helps support their local economy.
For more information about sending gifts, read our blog post.