Thanks for asking, Sue.
First, I’ve seen World Vision’s programs and met their staff around the world. Their work often makes the work of other organizations, like Compassion, possible. For instance, in El Salvador I visited one of Compassion’s child development centers where children are served water drawn from a well World Vision had a hand in digging. Compassion and World Vision are on the same team and they need each other.
1.CHURCH BASED: Compassion meets the needs of over 1.8 million children in twenty-five of the world’s poorest countries by working exclusively through the local church. Partnering with churches allows Compassion to ensure that children not only receive health care, proper nutrition, and education but are also given the opportunity to hear and respond to the gospel. Because of this commitment to sharing the gospel through the local church, 500 children, on average, come to faith in Christ every day through the ministry of Compassion around the world.
Every employee and volunteer at Compassion International is a Christian as well. According to Fabiano Franz, World Vision’s national director for Mali, World Vision does not require employees to be Christians. Some are not, and some who are cannot openly share their faith in Jesus because of the laws of the countries in which they work.(Source)
2.CHILD FOCUSED: When you sponsor a child through Compassion International a minimum of 80% of your monthly gift goes toward meeting the spiritual and physical needs of your sponsored child through a partnership with a church in his or her neighborhood. Compassion calls this “child development through child sponsorship.”
When you sponsor a child through World Vision, however, your child is not guaranteed a direct benefit, but their community is. Your money is used to build roads, dig wells, provide food, fund schools, carry out disaster relief (World Vision has an incredible disaster relief program) which will positively impact many lives. This is “community development funded by child sponsorship.” There is no promise from World Vision that your contributions will have any direct impact on the life of the child you are “sponsoring.” World Vision explains it this way…
Under the heading “How It Works”, WorldVision.org/sponsor-child describes what sponsoring a World Vision child accomplishes: “Sponsorship fosters sustainability. World Vision plans and works alongside community members to help build healthy communities for children.”
Compassion International and World Vision are different but together, with many other wonderful organizations, they can curtail extreme poverty. Compassion always works through the local church to develop one child at a time into an adult who can transform their community some day. World Vision, sometimes in partnership with local churches, develops communities in a way that positively impacts the lives of children.