Questions about letter writing
- What do I need to know about sending a letter to my friend?
We provide pre-printed labels to make it easy for you to write your friend. These mailing labels come with instructions for labeling your letter and envelope. For your privacy, please use CFCA's address as your return address:
1 Elmwood Avenue
Kansas City, KS 66103
You can request more mailing labels through email, by phone at 800.875.6564 or 913.384.6500 or by submitting your request online on the Sponsorships page of your account.
- What do I say in a letter to my friend?
We are happy that you will be writing to your friend. Children, youth and aging friends eagerly anticipate receiving letters and photos from their sponsors. For both you and your friend, writing letters and sharing photos is the best way to build a strong friendship. However, we know that it's sometimes difficult to get that first letter started.
Here are some topic suggestions:
- Your story — age, children, family
- Holiday traditions special to your family
- Your favorite color, food, memory, sports/games
- Interests, profession or hobbies
- Weather where you live
- The landscape in your geographic area
- Cultural activities — art, music, dance, theater
- Why you chose your friend
- Ask questions about your friend's life and dreams
- Offer words of encouragement and support
If you don't have time to write a letter, postcards and pre-printed greeting cards are an easy and quick way to stay in touch.
Remember: It's a good rule of thumb to avoid talking about material possessions, money and other topics that could serve to highlight the differences between your circumstances. Please keep these same considerations in mind when sending photographs.
Download and print a sample letter form with an easy format for sharing information about yourself.
- How long does it take to receive a letter?
It takes about eight to 10 weeks for your friend to receive your letter. Your letter's journey encounters many obstacles like translation time, unreliable mail systems and delivery to remote areas before it reaches your friend. The same time frame also holds true when you receive a letter from your friend.
Remember that, as a result of this extended time frame, your letters may cross in the mail. Questions asked in one letter may remain unanswered until subsequent letters are received.
- Should I use online translation services?
No, please do NOT use online translation services. These services or translation software programs can create confusing translations because they do not recognize common expressions. Letters translated in this manner often must be returned for clarification. The project staff is more than happy to translate your letters for you.
- Can I contact my friend directly?
It is against our child protection policies to be in unsupervised communication with your sponsored friend. All correspondence must be monitored by CFCA field project staff for appropriateness and the protection and privacy of both sponsors and sponsored friends.
Do not share personal contact information, including email, home addresses and telephone numbers, or communicate using social networking tools such as Facebook, MySpace or Twitter.
Violation of this policy could jeopardize your friend's eligibility for sponsorship and your eligibility to sponsor.
- Can I send my friend special gifts?
The gifts of letters and photos are treasured most by your friend. For special occasions, we suggest you send a card or brief note and consider donating to CFCA's birthday or Christmas funds. Other gifts are discouraged, and large packages will not be accepted because of high customs fees and the difficulty of delivering them.
Donations to the birthday and Christmas funds help CFCA projects hold community-wide celebrations for all sponsored children and the aging. Your gift will be sent in its entirety. One-hundred percent of contributions to these funds are distributed among the projects to ensure that all sponsored individuals are remembered on these special occasions. The project staffs plan community-wide celebrations, which often include the entire family. Sponsored children and aging friends know the celebrations and gifts are from their sponsors.
Please keep in mind that some cultures do not celebrate birthdays and Christmas as we do. CFCA projects ensure that gifts and celebrations are appropriate for the culture.
If you want to occasionally send a small gift, make sure it fits in a 9-inch by 12-inch or smaller envelope, weighs less than a pound and is less than 1 inch thick. Never send cash or checks directly.
- Can I email my sponsored friend?
We don’t allow direct contact via email, but as a convenience for our sponsors, we offer the option of writing an online eLetter to their sponsored friends. The eLetters are not emails. They are simply an easy way for sponsors to write a letter that we'll deliver on their behalf. Sponsors must log in to their account to access the eLetter option on the ‘My sponsorships’ page.