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Frequently asked questions

Child sponsorship

Frequently asked questions

How much does it cost to sponsor a child with Plan International UK?

We ask for a minimum donation of £19.50 a month, which works out as £4.50 a week or 65 pence a day, although many of our sponsors choose to give more.
This monthly amount means that we can achieve lasting results from your sponsorship. If you prefer, you can make your payments quarterly, twice a year or annually.

How does sponsorship work?

Child sponsorship creates a unique personal connection between you and a child in one of the developing countries where Plan International UK works. You are able to exchange letters and photos with your sponsored child and see how much your support is helping transform their life and the lives of those around them.

How are my donations spent?

Your donations support community based development projects. Every year we spend at least 80% of our money on charitable activities including our emergency response work and long-term development projects. The rest helps us raise vital funds for the future.

Child poverty has complex causes, and to really improve the life of a child in the long term, we’ve found we ultimately have to address the needs of their whole community and country. That’s why sponsored children are involved in deciding, planning and carrying out all the projects Plan International funds and supports. It’s important to remember that when you sponsor a child, you support the entire community to lift themselves out of poverty.

With Plan International UK, you can be assured that your money is making the biggest possible difference. Sponsoring a child helps drive change at local and national level, making improvements that benefit everyone in your sponsored child’s community and beyond. 

What will I receive?

When you first sign up to be a sponsor we’ll send you a welcome pack with a photo of your sponsored child and information about them and their community. This will be followed by a letter or drawing from your sponsored child, which you can respond to. You’ll receive annual updates and photos, so that you can follow your sponsored child's progress and find out more about the activities that Plan International is supporting in their community.  

Can I choose the child I sponsor?

You can choose whether you sponsor a girl or a boy, and their approximate age. We currently run sponsorship programmes in 50 countries and you can choose which country you’d like to sponsor a child in.

How long will I sponsor for?

We hope your relationship with us and the child you sponsor will continue for a number of years. But, if your circumstances change, you can stop at any time and we will try to find another sponsor for the child. Children are usually sponsored until they are 18.

How does my sponsored child benefit from my support?

Your sponsored child will benefit greatly from the development work we do in their community. Your donations will go toward getting the basics that every child needs; they’ll be more likely to grow up healthy, for example, eating a decent diet and enjoying a childhood free of disease. They could get the chance to go to a well-equipped, stimulating school instead of having to do exhausting, dangerous work all day.

What’s more, sponsored children also play a leading role in deciding, planning and carrying out Plan International-backed projects, learning valuable skills in the process that will stand them in good stead later in life. These are life-changing opportunities for a child in a developing country. And your support could mean even more.

A sponsor can inspire a child’s imagination and encourage them to achieve their ambitions through the letters you exchange.We regularly hear wonderful stories of how children were encouraged to study hard at school by their sponsor and how they’ve gone on to become doctors, teachers, midwives or activists.

Last year alone, sponsors’ letters helped to improve literacy for 1.4 million children!

How does Plan International UK select which children to sponsor?

Once we have chosen to work with a community, we aim to involve as many families as possible in the work we are doing. We encourage the community to discuss who may benefit most from being a sponsored child, and children themselves are actively involved in these discussions.

Ultimately it is down to the child and family to decide if they wish to be sponsored. Some other factors are taken into account, including age, the relative wealth and status of the child’s family, and the need for approximately equal numbers of boys and girls to be enrolled in each community.

Even if a child doesn’t get the chance to be sponsored, they will still benefit from the shared projects we support in that area. This is one of the strengths of our sponsorship scheme – it’s not only the child you sponsor who benefits from your support. Because your donations fund community-based projects, many more children will benefit too.

Do you have processes in place to keep sponsored children safe?

Yes, we do. Safeguarding children and young people is at the heart of what we do, which is why we have well-established systems in place to make sure the sponsored children we work with are protected.

For example, our trained staff and volunteers screen all the letters, drawings and photographs sent to sponsored children, and our staff support and supervise sponsors when they visit their child’s community. As a sponsor, all your communication with your sponsored child will happen through Plan International UK, and our staff will be on hand to answer any questions you have.

When you become a sponsor, you’ll also have a unique role to play in keeping your sponsored child safe. We’ll share easy-to-follow guidelines so you can confidently write to your sponsored child, share information about your sponsorship, and arrange the necessary checks if you decide to visit their community.

How many children are currently sponsored by Plan International UK?

Over 85,700 children in 49 countries are currently sponsored through Plan International UK.

Is sponsoring a child like adopting a child?

No, definitely not. The child you sponsor will have a family of their own, but sponsors play an important role in the eyes of the child and their community.

As well as funding projects that help them and their community and country, your sponsorship can inspire and encourage them – it's amazing how a simple letter or card can boost children’s self-esteem and motivate them, and children tell us they love hearing from their sponsors.

Can I send a gift?

To promote fairness, we respectfully ask you to follow these guidelines. Your package should not weigh more than 150g, and must fit into an A4 envelope that is no more than 5cm thick (we are sorry but multiple gifts can’t be divided into more packages). A deck of cards is an example of an item that weighs 150g.

You can send:

  • Writing and drawing tools (e.g. pens, pencils, colouring pencils, crayons, paper, small notebooks pencil case, small colouring books, stationery sets, erasers, sharpeners, etc.)
  • Tokens of friendship (e.g. photos, postcards, stickers, balloons, hair accessories, ribbons, inexpensive bracelets and necklaces, bookmarks, etc.)
  • Educational items for learning and exploration (e.g. books in your sponsored child’s language, small puzzles, travel size board games, etc.)
  • Sporting and outdoor equipment (e.g. inflatable balls, skipping rope, etc.)

Due to international guidelines, it is not possible to send the following items:

  • Money or expensive items (e.g. coins, notes, obsolete currency, precious (or expensive-looking) metals, wristwatches, jewellery, etc.)
  • Sharp, dangerous or fragile objects (e.g. scissors, thermometers, compasses, needles, brooches, pins, badges, photo frames, glass objects, etc.)
  • Skin or hair care products (e.g. soap, cosmetics, face paint, hand cream, toothpaste, shampoo, perfume, etc.)
  • Liquids and anything that could leak if punctured (such as paint, bubbles, nail polish, etc.)
  • Food or drink (e.g. sweets, chocolates, biscuits, tea bags, etc.)
  • Plants (e.g. seeds, pressed flowers, leaves, etc.)
  • Clothes (e.g. T-shirts, shorts, dresses, caps, hats, scarves, socks, underwear, etc.)
  • Battery operated items (e.g. torch, calculators (including dual power), etc.)

You can send your gift to our usual address: Plan International UK, Finsgate, 5-7 Cranwood Street, London, EC1V 9LH. Please don't forget to include your sponsor number and sponsored child's number. 

If your package is bigger or heavier than is allowed, we will be unable to deliver it to your sponsored child. Remember to keep your package light!

I have more questions - who can I speak to?

Our Supporter Relations team are happy to answer any questions you have about sponsorship and our work. You can call them on 0300 777 9779 or email [email protected]You can also request an information pack.

Request an information pack

I live outside the UK – can I still sponsor?

Yes you can. If you have a UK bank account, you can sponsor a child here. If you don’t have a UK bank account, you can donate using a credit card or by making an international bank transfer. To do this, please call us on +44 (0)20 7608 1311.

Change a life today

Start your wonderful sponsorship journey