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Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions on child sponsorship
  1. How much does it cost to sponsor a child with Plan UK?
  2. How does sponsorship work?
  3. How are my donations spent?
  4. What will I receive?
  5. Can I choose the child I sponsor?
  6. Is sponsoring a child like adopting a child?
  7. How long do I have to sponsor?
  8. How does my sponsored child benefit from my support?
  9. How do you select which children to sponsor?
  10. How many children are currently sponsored by Plan UK?
  11. I have more questions - who can I speak to?
  12. Can I send a gift?
  13. I live outside the UK – can I still sponsor?

We ask for a minimum donation of £19.50 a month, which works out as 64 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 and their family in one of the developing countries where Plan works. As part of your sponsorship you can exchange letters and photos.

Your donations will be used to fund projects in the country where your sponsored child lives. See more about how your donations are spent.


How are my donations spent?

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 the money you donate to Plan doesn’t go directly to the child you sponsor, but is pooled with the contributions of other sponsors, and is spent on carefully planned and targeted long-term development projects in the country where your sponsored child lives.

Projects like building schools, vaccinating children, connecting villages to a safe source of water, and stamping out child abuse.

With Plan, you can be assured that your money is making the biggest possible difference. Read more about how your money is spent.


What will I receive?

When you first sign up to sponsor, you’ll receive 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. 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 is supporting in their community.


Can I choose the child I sponsor?

Plan currently runs sponsorship programmes in 49 countries and you can choose which country you’d like to sponsor a child in. See where we work with our interactive map.

You can also choose whether you’d like to sponsor a girl or a boy, and their approximate age.


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.

You can read here how sponsorship has changed the lives of some Plan sponsored children.


How long do I have to sponsor?

To help us see our projects through to their conclusion, we hope your relationship with Plan 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 find another sponsor for the child. Children are usually sponsored until they are 18.


Your sponsored child will feel the difference in two ways. First, they’ll benefit from the development work Plan does in their community.

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 play a leading role in deciding, planning and carrying out Plan-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 few lines from a sponsor, or just knowing that someone miles away cares, can really help fuel child’s imagination and ambition.

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. You can read ex-sponsored children’s stories here.


How do you 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 join our sponsorship programme, they will still benefit from the shared projects Plan supports 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.


In the UK, there are currently around 92,000 child sponsors, supporting over 99,000 children.


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 supporterquestions@plan-uk.org. You can also request an information pack.


Can I send a gift?

Sponsors can send small, inexpensive items to sponsored children that can fit into an A4 envelope no more than 5cm thick and which weighs no more than 150 grams. Items you may send include:

  • Photos, stickers and balloons
  • Pens, paper
  • Ribbons, bookmarks

It is not possible to send the following items:

  • Money or expensive items (e.g. precious metals, wrist watches)
  • Sharp or fragile gifts (e.g. scissors, earrings, thermometers)
  • Skin and hair care products (e.g. soap, make-up)
  • Perishable items (e.g. food, sweets, seeds, pressed flowers)
  • Liquids (paint, bubbles etc.)
  • Clothes (T-shirts, caps, etc.)


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.


Registered Charity no.276035

0300 777 9777