9 Best Charities for Sponsoring a Child in Need (Complete 2024 List)

9 Best Charities for Sponsoring a Child in Need (Complete 2024 List)

By
Alycia O'Dell

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More than 700 million people live in extreme poverty, over half of whom are children. Furthermore, the number of impoverished children is rising: approximately 100 million more children were plunged into poverty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, organizations around the world are working to help children living in poverty through sponsorship. So, we had to ask: What are the best charities for sponsoring a child in need?

The best charities for sponsoring a child in need are World Vision and Unbound. Charities such as Save the Children and Children International allow financial sponsors to build a personal relationship with a child in need while helping them overcome poverty.

Whether you want to exchange letters of encouragement with a child while helping them stay in school, construct community centers in impoverished areas, or ensure a family has the resources they need to feed their children, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities for sponsoring a child in need are all about, how they work, and what your best way would be to make a contribution.

Here’s What All the Best Charities That Combat Child Poverty Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen based on their mission, impact and transparency ratings, and achievements.

The majority of these charities are based in the US but many also work internationally to combat child poverty.

Many of these charities allow donors to connect with a child through sponsorship while funding projects that make life better for the entire community. Others ensure a sponsor’s donations go directly to an individual child to meet their specific needs.

Some incorporate religious ideologies into their work, while others operate secularly.

Yet, they all share a common goal: to connect sponsors with children in need.

These Are the 9 Best Charities for Sponsoring a Child in Need in 2024

Below are our favorite charities for sponsoring a child in need (you can click on their link to directly jump to their section in this article):

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

1

World Vision: Bringing Health to Children Around the World

Logo for World Vision
How does World Vision work? | World Vision USA

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Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives World Vision a 4-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Platinum Seal of Transparency. 

Pulling up the roots of poverty and planting the seeds of change.”

World Vision

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What they do:

World Vision’s child sponsorship program focuses on improving the well-being of children in need by tackling the root causes of poverty and creating sustainable change. Sponsors can connect one-on-one with a child in need by exchanging letters, emails, and photos. Developing a personal relationship is encouraged, however, their approach to sponsorship is also community-based. For each child sponsored, another 4 children reap the benefits, such as access to healthcare, education, clean water, and economic opportunity. 

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, World Vision has improved the lives of millions of children living in poverty. For example, in 2021, more than 3.2 million children were impacted through sponsorship. In the same year, they provided 163,172 metric tons of food supplies to help nourish children and families, and supported and trained over 184,000 community health workers in 46 countries. Within 10 years, they equipped 28.4 million people with lasting access to clean water.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to World Vision via their website or fund a microloan. You can also support the charity by sponsoring a child.

2

Unbound: Flexibility for Unique Needs

Logo for Unbound
Follow the Leaders

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Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives Unbound a 4-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Platinum Seal of Transparency. 

Our families lead the way. Help them take the first step.”

Unbound

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What they do:

Unbound helps children, the elderly, and their families identify their own unique challenges, needs, and skill sets. They then help them to develop a personalized plan to overcome poverty. About 94% of Unbound’s sponsored individuals and families receive their benefits through cash transfers to their personal bank accounts,so they can use the funds for what they need most. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, some families utilized their funds to purchase tablets and laptops for children to continue their education online. Unbound monitors purchases to prevent misuse of funds, and sponsee’s are encouraged to provide detailed communication with their sponsors about their progress.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, Unbound has distributed $1,596,527,858 to help individuals in need and reached 882,984 children through sponsorship in 19 countries. For example, in 2021, Unbound facilitated sponsorship for more than 280,000 children and elders and disbursed $124.8 million directly to projects in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. In the same year, they awarded more than $3.3 million in scholarships to 8,586 students for further education.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to Unbound through their website, where you have the option to donate directly to specific programs such as scholarship funding or critical needs funding. You can also support the charity by sponsoring a child.

3

Save the Children: Ensuring a Healthy Start

Logo for Save the Children
I Am The Future | Save the Children TV Advert

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Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives Save the Children a 4-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Platinum Seal of Transparency. 

All children deserve a healthy start in life.”

Save the Children

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What they do:

Save the Children works to end the cycle of poverty by ensuring communities have the resources to provide children with a healthy, educational, and safe environment. They allow sponsors to develop a one-on-one relationship with a child while improving the well-being of their entire community. Donations from sponsors fund programs that help communities support children throughout their lifespan. For example, their education programs emphasize the importance of early learning, while their health programs provide access to medical care and nutrition.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, Save the Children has changed the lives of over 1 billion children. For example, as of 2020, funding from over 200,000 sponsors positively impacted over 2.4 million children in 24 countries. In 2021, they helped improve the nutrition of 10.1 million children and provided 12 million children with access to quality education. Furthermore, since 2000, they have helped reduce the number of children with stunted growth due to malnutrition by a third. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to Save the Children via their website. You can also support the charity by participating in a fundraiser, volunteering, or sponsoring a child.

4

Children International: Sponsoring Children, Enriching Communities

Logo for Children International
Children International | Be the change | Sponsor a child

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Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives Children International a 4-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Platinum Seal of Transparency. 

Bringing people together to end poverty for good.”

Children International

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What they do:

Children International works to break the cycle of generational poverty by providing customized programs tailored to specific community’s needs. They pair children with financial sponsors to provide vital health, social, and educational services. They also build and operate community centers so children have a clean, safe, and permanent place to grow and learn. In addition, they prepare children for successful futures through vocational and financial literacy training and college readiness.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, Children International has helped over 1 million children in 10 countries around the world, and built more than 67 community centers. For example, in 2021, they facilitated sponsorship for over 200,000 children and helped more than 4,500 young adults access education and employment training. That same year, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, they provided critical emergency funding to ensure the basic needs of 100% of sponsored children and their families were met.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to Children International through their website. You can also support the charity by choosing a child to sponsor or by raising awareness via social media.

5

ChildFund International: Evolving Support for Growing Children

Logo for ChildFund International
The Reason

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Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives ChildFund International a 3-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Gold Seal of Transparency. 

Because we need each other.”

ChildFund International

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What they do:

ChildFund International aids children living in poverty by connecting them with the resources they need to thrive. Through sponsor funding, their support evolves as children’s needs change throughout childhood. For example, they ensure infants and toddlers have a healthy start in life by providing nourishment and childcare education to expectant mothers. For older children and preteens, they prioritize age-appropriate literacy and provide life skills training to support emerging independence. Furthermore, they prepare teens and young adults to enter the workforce through vocational training and educational opportunities

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, ChildFund International has improved the well-being of millions of children in some of the most impoverished places in the world. For example, in 2021, they provided more than $170.7 million in program services to over 16.2 million children in 24 countries. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, they launched a $56 million global campaign to provide emergency financial aid to over 6 million families in impoverished communities.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to ChildFund International through their website. You can also support the charity by sponsoring a child or by volunteering.

6

Compassion International: Empowering Communities against Poverty

How Compassion International Works Through Church Partnerships

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Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives Compassion International a 4-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Platinum Seal of Transparency. 

Releasing children from poverty in the name of Jesus.”

Compassion International

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What they do:

Compassion International pairs impoverished children with a financial sponsor, to allow them to access life-changing services. They also partner with churches in impoverished communities to provide services to children such as medical checkups, educational assistance, and nutritious meals. In addition, they help children prepare for success in adulthood through vocational training, financial literacy training, and college preparation. Furthermore, their Compassion Survival initiative focuses on maternal and infant health to reduce infant mortality and ensure children have a healthy start to life.

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What they’ve achieved:

Today, more than 2.2 million children receive care through Compassion International at over 8,000 churches in 25 countries around the world. For example, in 2021, they responded to the needs of impoverished communities impacted by COVID-19 by providing 10.6 million multi-week family food packs, and 7.6 million hygiene packs. They also dedicated more than $16 million to additional emergency relief. Since its launch in 2003, their Compassion Survival initiative has provided life-saving interventions to more than 38,000 babies and their mothers.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to Compassion International via their website. You can also support the charity by sponsoring a child or by volunteering.

7

Food for the Hungry: Strengthening Communities to End Poverty

Logo for Food for the Hungry
Food for the Hungry: Who We Are

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Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives Food for the Hungry a 3-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Platinum Seal of Transparency. 

Turning adversity into impact.”

Food for the Hungry

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What they do:

Food for the Hungry runs a sponsorship program that allows children and sponsors to connect on a personal level through emails and letters. Donations from the sponsor are used to provide life-saving resources such as food, medical aid, clean water, and sanitation to children and families directly. In addition, they set communities up to thrive by providing vocational and agricultural training, promoting financial literacy, and helping to establish savings groups so entrepreneurs can borrow money. They also help communities respond to and withstand crises such as natural disasters, through their Shared Resilience Approach to ensure continued care for vulnerable children. 

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, Food for the Hungry has remained dedicated to ending poverty in some of the hardest-to-reach places on earth. For example, in 2021, their development programs impacted 10,369,755 people in 5,241 communities around the world. In the same year, they responded to 25 disaster events and humanitarian crises in 15 countries, helping 3,137,399 men, women, and children to access vital resources. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to Food for the Hungry through their website. You can also support the charity by sponsoring a child or purchasing items from their gift catalog, such as hygiene kits and livestock.

8

Plan International: Protecting and Helping Girls

Logo for Plan International
We are Plan International

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Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives Plan International a 3-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Platinum Seal of Transparency. 

With you, a better world for girls is coming.”

Plan International

⚒️

What they do:

Plan International works to make the world a better place for young women living in poverty. They help girls access essential resources like education, maternal and child healthcare, and protection from dangers such as human trafficking and child marriage. They also empower them by encouraging self-advocacy, providing leadership training, and promoting gender equality. Plan International’s sponsorship program allows donors to build a personal relationship with an individual child, while also contributing to programs that help their communities thrive. For example, the Girls Learn and Thrive program in Senegal gives girls the tools they need to stay in school and avoid child marriage.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, Plan International has helped millions of girls around the world to overcome barriers to success. For example, in 2021, they positively impacted 26.2 million girls in 78 countries. In the same year, sponsors supported 1.2 million children, contributing $19,273,677 to support community programs. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to Plan International through their website. You can also support the charity by sponsoring a child or by purchasing items from their gift catalog, such as school supplies and livestock.

9

Children Incorporated: Individual Sponsorship and Beyond

Logo for Children International
How Does Sponsorship Help Children in Need?

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Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives Children Incorporated a 4-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Platinum Seal of Transparency. 

Lasting support that creates real change on a global scale.”

Children Incorporated

⚒️

What they do:

Children Incorporated partners with already-established schools, group homes, and community centers to support children living in poverty. For example, through their Sponsorship program, they provide individual children with basic necessities such as food, school supplies, clothing, and healthcare. They also support children beyond individual sponsorship through Special Funds. For example, the Higher Education Fund helps children pursue college degrees and certificates, while the Hope in Action Fund supports children and families in emergencies. Their Special Projects initiative allows donors to contribute to construction projects to enhance communities, such as playgrounds and community gardens.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, Children Incorporated has supported more than 300,000 children in 20 countries across the world. For example, in 2021, their Hope in Action Fund provided $93,720 in emergency funding for children in families and $56,272 in funding for COVID-19 relief efforts. Furthermore, the charity serves the needs of 20,000 children annually through sponsorship.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to Children Incorporated through their website, where you also have the option to donate directly to special funds such as the Higher Education Fund or the Hope in Action Fund. You can also support the charity by sponsoring a child.

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities for sponsoring a child in need. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarise yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing a charity’s progress in reaching its targets, the chances are they’re not making a substantial positive change.
  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

How Can You Best Support These Charities?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. The charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Now it is up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to sponsoring a child in need – based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,

Illustration of a signature for Alycia

PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:

The way we think about charity is dead wrong | Dan Pallotta

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