We Hear Remarkable Things When We Listen to Children

by Virginia Sowers, ChildFund Community Manager

Join ChildFund on Facebook as the final phase of our 100 Days of Yes campaign gets under way. You could win a great prize for your sponsored child.

We’re inviting sponsors to share their favorite quotes — memorable, poignant, funny — from children’s letters.

Posting a child’s quote within our Facebook application automatically makes you eligible for $100 in educational gifts for your sponsored child’s program area. You choose the gifts from ChildFund’s Gifts of Love and Hope catalog, and they will be delivered in your honor.

Only one entry per sponsor, please. We’ll hold a random drawing in late January and announce the winner soon thereafter.

The Facebook promotion is part of our larger campaign seeking 100 sponsors each day for 100 days that began in mid-October and concludes Jan. 21.

Many children in the world are waiting for food, shelter and education. Sponsorship costs $28 a month — less than $1 a day. To a child living in poverty, it is a world of difference.

Great conversations about children’s issues and child sponsorship are happening on ChildFund’s Facebook page every day. Join us! And please ask your friends to “like” ChildFund.

Say ‘Yes’ on ChildFund’s Facebook Page

by Virginia Sowers, Community Manager

As part of ChildFund’s 100 Days of Yes initiative, we’re inviting sponsors — old and new — to post a photo of their sponsored child to the ChildFund Facebook page. If you have a photo of yourself with your sponsored child, even better. Be sure to include a comment as to why you said “yes” to child sponsorship, and share your post with your Facebook friends.

The Facebook gallery is part of our larger campaign seeking 100 sponsors each day for the next 100 days. So many children are waiting, and 24,000 are dying each day from preventable causes.

Sponsorship costs $28 a month — less than $1 a day. To a child living in poverty, it is a world of difference.

All sponsors who post a photo to the 100 Days of Yes gallery and “like” ChildFund on Facebook will be entered into a random drawing for a ChildFund polo shirt and wristband in mid-November.

Two additional Facebook events will follow with opportunities to engage with other supporters and win prizes. So be sure to visit ChildFund’s Facebook page often during the 100 days. You’ll find a terrific community of fellow sponsors and supporters.

Think Wider, Mr. Zuckerberg

by Anne Lynam Goddard, ChildFund President and CEO

Having grown up in Kearny, N.J., including spending time working in Newark summer school programs, I applaud Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s $100 million pledge to Newark’s troubled school system.

An influx of cash and the publicity that accompanies high-profile donations may be just the infusion Newark needs to refocus on the education and well-being of its most precious resource — its children.

So kudos to you, Mr. Zuckerberg, and to your newly minted Startup: Education foundation. You are starting strong by reaching out to some of our country’s most overlooked children. Only about half of Newark’s students graduate high school.

We see those same low graduation rates among discouraged children in Mississippi, Texas, Oklahoma and South Dakota, where ChildFund has worked for decades, assisting young people and families in some of the most impoverished communities in America.

In ChildFund’s work around the world, we see children forced to support their families rather than attend school. We encounter schools held under trees because there is no supporting infrastructure for education. We meet girls who don’t attend school because there’s no running water or toilets, and the bushes nearby offer no privacy.

It’s a complex world with many needs — just as you’re discovering, Mr. Zuckerberg, as you rapidly expand Facebook internationally.

With more than 500 million users now on Facebook, obviously you’re thinking broadly when it comes to business.

I encourage you to think even wider as a philanthropist.

Some 70 percent of Facebook users are signing on from outside the United States.

Don’t forget to consider that wider world, Mr. Zuckerberg. Let’s talk.

Thank You ChildFund Sponsors

by Virginia Sowers, Community Manager

Right now more than 100,000 children enrolled in ChildFund programs are eagerly waiting for a sponsor. So, during the month of June, ChildFund is asking its sponsors to help spread the word about child sponsorship.

Last week, I announced the Sponsor-Get-a-Sponsor campaign to ChildFund’s Facebook community.

The wealth of comments and actions taken as a result made our day. So I wanted to share the good karma with all of you:

My family just sponsored another child! I hope others do the same and make that number drop!

A very rewarding way of giving back.

I already sponsor one child…best thing I ever did….I’m thinking about sponsoring another.

YES! I am going to [sponsor] one this weekend. It is a hard process because if I could I would [sponsor] all of them…but tomorrow is the day! I am very excited!!!!

I sponsor 3 children from various parts of the world and the children and their families are all very nice and loving people. I receive letters and news about my children. If you can afford to sponsor a child, you will never regret it!

I have been a sponsor for several years and I can tell you it is one of the most wonderful things I have ever been involved in. To get to know the child, watch their growth and the difference you are making—well, it can’t be adequately described—it must be experienced.

I have 3 precious little ones I sponsor (Philippines, Cambodia and Vietnam) and let me tell you–it is one of the most precious things in my life. The letter exchange, the smiles and their happiness is their gift to me. I may be their sponsor, but what they give me is so much more—the warmth and love I receive from them (the entire family) is priceless!!!

If one friend of every FB user sponsored a child…we would have sponsors on a waiting list instead of children : ) (I have met the challenge!)

Will you sponsor a child who is waiting?

Show Your Passion for ChildFund This Valentine’s Day

by Virginia Sowers
Community Manager

We just launched an expanded Facebook site to engage more interactively with our growing online community.

The new page features virtual gifts from the ChildFund catalog, an instant poll, a link to our Twitter feed and videos from our YouTube channel. Our fans now have opportunities to virally share important ways they are helping change a childhood through sponsorship and donations.

We also have a special focus on Haiti, linking Facebook fans to our donation page on the ChildFund Web site.

And just in time for Valentine’s Day, we’ve created a downloadable ChildFund heart symbolizing our work in 31 countries around the globe. We’re inviting Facebook fans to download the badge and use it for their profile picture leading up to Feb. 14.

By integrating several of our social media platforms with Facebook, we aim to project a consistent brand presence that resonates with our supporters and attracts new members to our child-focused community.

Social networks like Facebook and Twitter are rapidly becoming preferred methods for sharing news, discussing important issues and staying in touch.

One of our long-term ChildFund sponsors reconnected with a former sponsored child on Facebook. It had been four years since the young man left the ChildFund program, and their online reunion was an incredibly happy moment.

If you’re not already connected to ChildFund through social media, we invite you to find out what you’ve been missing! More important, we want to hear firsthand how you’ve changed a child’s life and what ChildFund means to you.

Living (and Working) in a Social Media World

By David Hylton,
Public Relations Specialist

Are we living in a flat world? Do we no longer have any concept of time or geography because of social media? Author Andrew Keen asked these types of questions this morning at Social South, a social media conference in Birmingham, Ala.

For ChildFund International, these are great questions as we think about our work. While we are headquartered in Richmond, Va., our work spreads around the globe helping more than 15 million children and their family members in 31 countries. Due to the expansion of social media – Facebook, Twitter, this blog – we’re able to deliver information about these countries in a timely manner. You – our readers, our donors, our followers, our fans – are not just in the United States. Maybe you’re reading this in Africa or Australia or Mexico. It may be 10 a.m. or 8 p.m. or midnight or noon. This blog does not care what time it is – we want you to know what is happening at ChildFund International at all hours of the day.

This blog and our pages on Facebook and Twitter are tools for us to use to connect with you no matter where you are or what time of the day it is. We want to have a conversation with you on any and all of these sites. We’re here to give you what you want – you just have to tell us. Without your questions or comments, some of these blog posts would not be possible.

So to answer Andrew’s questions, the answers can be both yes and no. While social media connects us to many people around the world, Internet access is still very limited in many areas we work. While I can send an e-mail to a colleague in Africa today, it may take a few days before they’re able to respond to me. Also, while anyone can access our sites at any time, time zones still exist. This post will go up in the middle of the afternoon on the East Coast in the U.S., but for some of you it is already Saturday. A colleague I correspond with several times a month works in Asia and is 13 hours ahead of me. When I send him an e-mail at 9 a.m., I often do not get a response until some time in the middle of the night for me.

While we’re living in a social media world, communication still is not always instant despite the fact that we think it is.

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