Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Letters: Behind The Scenes

There are likely as many ways of keeping the letter writing process organized as there are sponsors. At first, we just had one Compassion child and simply kept all the correspondence in a file folder.

This worked for the first few years, but as the number of letters increased, it became harder to keep things in order.

Add to that a touch of OCD, (CDO in alphabetical order, just the way it should be), as well as ten Compassion children to correspond with... something had to change.

We switched to the binder system a few years ago and it has proven to work quite well for us. The binders were bought on school supply clearance sales, and were filled with sheet protectors. We will eventually have one binder per child, but right now, a few of our Compassion children share a binder. Ato Sam is one example -- given that he writes lengthy letters quite frequently, he needed more space than Leo, from whom we've only received two letters.

In the first sheet protector, we keep all the labels and the blank stationery that Compassion sends for that child. The labels we prefer are the Avery 5267, with 80 labels per sheet. We create labels with our child's name and number, as well as our name and number.

We use these labels to label anything we send with the letters, such as small coloring books:

Or snack sized Ziploc bags full of stickers:

We do not need to label the letters, as we created a header with the necessary information. The header also mentions anything included with the letter, that way it's less likely that something will get forgotten or lost. It also makes it really easy to see what we've sent, so that we don't send duplicates of books or coloring books.

Since I normally print our letters on fun paper, the kids use the correspondence paper that Compassion provides to write to our Compassion kids on their own.

The letters we have received from our Compassion kids, along with a copy of each letter we've sent are placed in the sheet protectors in chronological order. This makes it easy to flip back to see what we've written and sent over time, and which letters they are responding to.

The page protectors do a great job of keeping the letters intact so that the kids can feel free to read them as often as they'd like. They love to show their friends the fascinating handwriting from Thailand!

Even though I type most of our letters to our Compassion kids, I do make a point to sign them and add little notes or drawings to them before I mail them to Compassion.

We also created a computer folder for each Compassion child containing copies of all the letters we've sent, as well as scans of letters, drawings and photos we've received over the years. If ever something were to happen to the binders, we'd have a backup copy of all the correspondence we've had.

works for me wednesday at we are that family

Although everyone has their own way of doing all of this... this is what works for me!


Shebecomes said...

Wow...and I thought I was OCD :)

Now that I've read this though and found a couple great tips that I don't already do, I've got some organizing to get the labels, gotta do that, and adding the items I am sending on the header. You are a smart one my friend. Thanks for the great tips!

Anonymous said...

Wow, great tips! Thanks for sharing. I am sooooo useless with being organised - everything (mail) piles up in kitchen, then it gets moved to the table, then eventually when the pile falls over, my husband and I will sort through. Some of it gets taken upstairs (hubby much better than me and actually files bills / important stuff). but some items will get placed back on the kitchen counter and the cycle begins again. shocking isn't it!
If we get any drawings from our sponsored child Guillermo, we bluetack them up in the kitchen. but the letters get placed in the pile... However, as he doesn't write much, I think we'll start a ring binder type document to keep them in.
Also LOVE the label idea - and putting them on the gifts etc! I will be doing that also!!!

thanks for sharing this! :-)

God bless xx

Kimberly said...

Love the idea of having binders! I haven't been keeping copies of letters I have written, just notes in an excel file. I would however love to have a special book/binder to keep any photos/letters I receive! Thanks!

Jill Foley said...

This is great. I organize our letters in binders, as well. I love the header you created on your letters. I write letters on pretty paper, like you, but never thought to create a header.

I've stopped by here a couple times, but never commented. You have a beautiful site. I'm a sponsor and advocate for Compassion - 17 years of involvement.

If you are interested, I recently started a blog called Compassion Family. It's a place to celebrate, experience and share the joy of sponsorship as a family. I'd love to have you stop by and let me know what you think.

Jamie {See Jamie blog} said...

Love these ideas. We've only just sent in our very 1st note to our very 1st Compassion child, so I need all the ideas I can get!

Anonymous said...

I've not yet received any letters from my Compassion Child. Do they come VIA "snail mail" or do I just not know where to look? I've sent the e-mails to him monthly, but get nothing back? Just curious & probably confused & need guidance! Cindy Boo

Anonymous said...

Good for the importance they place on the correspondence of a child to sponsor. This is how you discover the passion for children no matter where they are. Thanks for the tips.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your ideas. I just received my first letter from my sponsor kiddo, so I bought a PINK (just found out it's her favorite color) binder to organize photocopies of the letters I send her and the originals of the letters she sends me.

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