I speak on behalf of Compassion International more than a hundred times a year. I feel like I’ve heard a million different questions regarding Compassion and poverty. A handful of them though are in heavy rotation.
I’m in Kenya right now on Compassion International’s fifth blogging trip! And those same few questions are hitting the comment sections of our blogs with the same frequency. So, how about some answers and responses from my vantage point? I’ll do my best.
We have poverty in America too. Why isn’t Compassion doing anything about it?
Certainly. Unfortunately, people of every nation are in poverty’s grip. Even America, which is the 4th wealthiest country in the world according to the World Bank, has been touched by poverty.
To serve America’s poor, Compassion International launched a holistic child development ministry in 1973. After 30 years of studying the effectiveness of that ministry, it was decided that America’s poor would be better served if that ministry was spun off as a separate organization. It exists still today as YouthPartnersNET. Like Compassion International, YouthPartnersNET “works through partnerships with churches, youth workers and faith organizations to reach out to children and young people in the United States who suffer from spiritual and physical poverty.”
Why is Compassion spending money to fly bloggers to Africa when that money could help the poor?
Compassion is the only non-profit in the child development category to have received Charity Navigator‘s coveted four-star rating eight consecutive years in a row. The American Institute of Philanthropy has likewise awarded Compassion its highest rating and Worth magazine placed Compassion on its list of the top ten most fiscally responsible charities.
Compassion, like all non-profits, must spend some money in order to raise money. Every marketing investment is scrutinized before and after it is made. Compassion has taken FIVE blogging trips because the return on investment is far higher than that of traditional marketing.
Every effort is made to reduce investment costs. For blogging trips, this includes purchasing hotel stays (with meals) and airfares at reduced group rates. And in the end, the investment made is more than worth the thousands of lives transformed by the generosity of sponsors.
Is Compassion forcing children to become Christians?
We Christians are sometimes, rightfully, criticized for being hypocritical – for not consistently living out what we believe. Christianity teaches that the deepest poverty a human being can experience is of a spiritual nature. It would be inconsistent and hypocritical of a Christian child development organization to offer physical but not spiritual assistance. So Compassion does so.
Compassion ministers to the physical and spiritual needs of many Hindu, Muslim, and atheist children around the world. Every child, regardless of religious background, is exposed to Christian teachings but, like the offer of clean water and food, the choice to accept these teachings is purely up to the child.
If a child does not believe in the God of the Christian faith, they receive no less love and care from Compassion. The care they receive differs in no way from the care given Christian children.
Have more questions to ask?
Shoot me an e-mail or leave a comment. I’ll reply shortly.