FAQs

Donor FAQs

Are my donations tax-deductible?
Children of the Nations is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and all donations are tax-deductible. If you purchase a T-shirt, attend a special event with a ticket price, or purchase an item in a silent auction, your charitable contribution is limited to the amount you contribute over the value of the goods or services furnished in return.


How do I get a tax receipt?
Children of the Nations will mail a receipt that you can use for tax purposes. You should receive a receipt within 30 days of your gift. We also mail summary donation receipts in January listing all the previous year’s gifts.


I give monthly. What if I only want one receipt for the year?
This is a great way to save the organization’s printing and mailing costs! Contact our office and we can change our records so that you only receive a summary donation receipt in January for the previous year’s gifts.


What is the most cost-effective way to give?
Gifts by check or through your bank’s bill payer have the cheapest processing costs. Next is an electronic gift that directly debits your checking or savings account. Debit and credit cards charge the highest processing fees, though we have managed to keep these around 3%.


I don’t want to give using my debit or credit card. Where do I mail my check?
Mail your check to:

Children of the Nations
PO Box 3970
Silverdale, WA 98383


I don’t have a bank account or credit card. How can I give a gift to Children of the Nations?
Mail a money order to:

Children of the Nations
PO Box 3970
Silverdale, WA 98383

Please do not send cash through the mail.


How do I set up a direct debit of my checking or savings account?
Call our Finance Office at 360-698-7227 with the routing number and account number from your check, or mail a voided check to our office with a note telling us what your gift is for and the frequency of your gift (one-time, monthly, quarterly).


How do I cancel my existing electronic donation to Children of the Nations?
Email or call our Finance Office 360-698-7227 to let us know. Note that we are unable to cancel a direct debit during the two working days before a debit is due to be made; if you need to cancel your Direct Debit during this two day period, you will need to contact your bank directly.


Can I give to Children of the Nations instead of receiving wedding gifts?
Yes you can! Many couples feel that they already have enough toasters and dishes and choose to ask their guests to make a donation to Children of the Nations instead of buying them a present. Contact our office so we can set up a code to track your donations. You will receive a letter in a few months giving you the names of those who gave to Children of the Nations.


How can I arrange for gifts to be made in memory of a friend or relative?
Contact our office so we can set up a code to track your donations. You will receive a letter in a few months giving you the names of those who gave to Children of the Nations.

 

How do I update my credit card information?
You can update your credit card information online by logging in to your 'Partner Profile.' Log in by clicking on 'My Account' (in the top right corner of this website) and entering your password. From your profile, click on the 'Recurring Gifts' tab and then click on 'Update' next to your recurring gift. On the next screen, you can update your credit card number, its expiration date, and/or your billing address. (Please note that you must enter your entire credit card number to update any information on this screen.) Save when you're finished.

If you have not yet established your 'Partner Profile,' or cannot access your profile, please call 360-698-7227 ext 1032 for assistance.

Finance FAQs

Is Children of the Nations a financially trustworthy organization?
Seven years in a row Children of the Nations has been given a Four Star Rating by Charity Navigator for overall financial health. This is their highest rating. We meet all seven standards of responsible stewardship as members of the ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability). Our goal is to honor God by being good stewards of all the financial resources of the organization.


Where do my donations go?
All gifts designated for specific purposes are used as designated. There are a number of ways you can see how donations are spent. View our Annual Report in our Hope Encounter. Follow the link to Charity Navigator to view our Income Statement. Follow the link to the ECFA to view our Financial Data.



How does Children of the Nations spend my donations? How much goes to overhead?
Our goal is to honor God by being good stewards of all the financial resources of the organization. In 2014, Children of the Nations used 87 percent of its funds to directly benefit our children. Only 13 percent was spent on administrative and fundraising costs.



Can I view any of your financial records?
Our website has current and past IRS Forms 990, located here. In addition, you may request our latest audited financial statements by contacting our Finance Office at 360-698-7227 or finance@cotni.org.

 


Does COTN’s leadership have a track record of fiscal responsibility?
The leadership of Children of the Nations demonstrates the highest standards of fiscal responsibility. Executives make considerably less than those with equivalent positions in other companies. To learn more about our leadership team, take a look at their biographies.



How does COTN pay all of its employees?
Children of the Nations' priority is to fund its overseas ministries. Because of this, the staff members make less than people with equivalent positions in for-profit companies. Some staff members even raise their own support in order to work for COTN, thereby inviting other people into their ministry. COTN also has an army of volunteers—individuals who give their time without receiving monetary compensation.



Are my donations tax-deductible?
Children of the Nations is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and all donations are tax-deductible. If you purchase a T-shirt, attend a special event with a ticket price, or purchase an item in a silent auction, your charitable contribution is limited to the amount you contribute over the value of the goods or services furnished in return.



How do I get a tax receipt?
COTN will mail a receipt that you can use for tax purposes. You should receive a receipt within 30 days of your gift. We also mail summary donation receipts in January listing all the previous year’s gifts.



I give monthly, what if I only want one receipt for the year?
This is a great way to save the organization’s printing and mailing costs! Contact our office and we can change our records so that you only receive a summary donation receipt in January for the previous year’s gifts.



What is the most cost effective way to give?
Gifts by check or through your bank’s bill payer have the cheapest processing costs. Next is an electronic gift that directly debits your checking or savings account. Debit and credit cards charge the highest processing fees, though we have managed to keep these around 3%.



I don’t want to give using my debit or credit card. Where do I mail my check?
Mail your check to:

Children of the Nations
PO Box 3970
Silverdale, WA 98383



I don’t have a bank account or credit card. How can I give a gift to Children of the Nations?
Mail a money order to:

Children of the Nations
PO Box 3970
Silverdale, WA 98383

Please do not send cash through the mail.



How do I set up a direct debit of my checking or savings account?
Call our Finance Office with the routing number and account number from your check, or mail a voided check to our office with a note telling us what your gift is for and the frequency of your gift (one-time, monthly, quarterly).



How do I cancel my existing electronic donation to Children of the Nations?
Email or call our Finance Office to let us know. Note that we are unable to cancel a direct debit during the two working days before a debit is due to be made; if you need to cancel your Direct Debit during this two day period, you will need to contact your bank directly.



Can I give to Children of the Nations instead of receiving wedding gifts?
Yes you can! Many couples feel that they already have enough toasters and dishes and choose to ask their guests to make a donation to Children of the Nations instead of buying them a present. Contact our office so we can set up a code to track your donations. You will receive a letter in a few months giving you the names of those who gave to Children of the Nations.



How can I arrange for gifts to be made in memory of a friend or relative?
Contact our office so we can set up a code to track your donations. You will receive a letter in a few months giving you the names of those who gave to Children of the Nations.

 

How do I update my credit card information?
You can update your credit card information online by logging in to your 'Partner Profile.'  Log in by clicking on 'My Account' (in the top right corner of this website) and entering your password. From your profile, click on the 'Gift Info' tab and then click on 'Edit Settings' next to your recurring gift. On the next screen, you can update your credit card number, its expiration date, and/or your billing address. (Please note that you must enter your entire credit card number to update any information on this screen.) Save when you're finished.

If you have not yet established your 'Partner Profile,' or cannot access your profile, please call 360-698-7227 ext 1032 for assistance.

Resources FAQs

Coming soon. Please check back shortly.

Sponsorship FAQs

What specific benefits will the child I sponsor receive?
Your donation will help meet the physical, educational, social, and spiritual needs of your child. Your donation will go into our sponsorship fund and your child will receive the benefits of their program through your contribution. Every child in our program is assigned multiple sponsors to meet all of their needs. 

For a few of the specific benefits, see below:

  • $32 a month: Village Partnership (Sierra Leone, Malawi, Uganda, Dominican Republic, and Haiti)
    Your monthly gift will help a child living with parents or caregivers who cannot adequately provide for them by assisting with their physical, educational, medical, and spiritual needs.
  • $43 a month: Family-Style Children’s Home (Sierra Leone, Malawi, and Uganda)
    Your monthly gift will help an orphaned child living in one of our Children’s Homes.
    Housing, food, medical care, schooling, clothing, and spiritual discipleship for your child are all included.

 

How does COTN ensure my support benefits the child I sponsor?
We have competent staff in each of our countries who make sure our programs are operating effectively. There are strict financial accountability guidelines in place.

 

Does all $32 or $43 go directly to my child?
Your donation will go into our sponsorship fund and your child will receive the benefits of their program through your contributions. It is our desire to meet the needs of all the children in our care.

 

How long should my sponsorship last?
You may sponsor your child through high school, University Program, or trade school, depending on the child. Our desire is to see these children actively contributing to their society. (For some, this might be 18 years old, others older.) If we determine your child no longer needs support, or if your child moves out of the area we serve, within 30 days we will send you a profile of a new child for you to consider sponsoring; your sponsorship will automatically transfer to this child unless we hear from you.

 

How important is prayer in COTN sponsorship?
Very—we not only desire your financial support; we highly value your prayer support as well. Your child sees prayer as important and will be praying for you.

 

How can I learn more about my sponsored child? 
You can learn more through writing letters, visiting your child on a Venture Trip, and reading our blog and other resources on our website. You will also receive regular updates about our programs through emails and newsletters. 

 

How can I communicate with my sponsored child? 
We encourage you to write letters to your child, and your child will respond to your letters, but please do not send more than one 6-by-9-inch envelope per month. The contents of this envelope should have a monetary value of less than $25 and weigh less than 1 lb. Our in-country staff will translate letters both coming and going. It may take several months to hear back from your child as our mail is sent with staff or teams traveling to our countries.

 

May I send gifts to my child? 
You may send items with your letters to our USA office, as long as they fit in one 6-by-9-inch envelope per month. The contents of this envelope must weigh less than 1 lb. and have a monetary value of less than $25. We will also identify special Christmas and summer camp projects each year. If you visit your child, you are welcome to bring gifts, as long as they are appropriate and their total value does not exceed $25. (See our gift giving policy here.)

 

Why do we have rules for gift giving? 
While we appreciate the intent behind gifts, if directions are not followed, direct gift-giving can cause several problems for your child. These include: (1) causing jealousy among other children; (2) undermining the authority of parents and in-country staff; (3) breeding dependence and materialism; (4) taking the place of more urgent needs; (5) misuse or misinterpretation of the items and their meaning. (See our gift giving policy here.

What can I expect to receive regarding my sponsorship?
You will receive an update from your sponsored child once a year and an updated photo at Christmas. You will also receive response letters from your child if you write.

 

Can I visit my child? 
Yes! Visiting your child can be an exciting and encouraging experience for both you and your sponsored child. We greatly encourage it. For more information on joining an existing “Visit Your Child” trip, or to set up a trip of your own, visit cotni.org/venture/trips or contact us at venture@cotni.org or 360-698-7227.

 

How do I update my credit card information online?
You can update your credit card information online by logging in to your 'Partner Profile.' Log in by clicking on 'My Account' (in the top right corner of this website) and entering your password. From your profile, click on the 'Gift Info' tab and then click on 'Edit Settings' next to your recurring gift. On the next screen, you can update your credit card number, its expiration date, and/or your billing address. (Please note that you must enter your entire credit card number to update any information on this screen.) Save when you're finished.

If you have not yet established your 'Partner Profile,' or cannot access your profile, please call 360-698-7227 for assistance.

 

Why does COTN need to do SmilePacks® events, resource drives, etc.? Aren't the children who are sponsored guaranteed to have food, clothes, etc.? And if they are, then where do the food and other resources go?

While sponsorship provides for the needs of the children already in our care, packaged meals and donated resources allow us to provide for children who do not yet have sponsors, and to help children who attend our schools, live nearby, and take part in partnering programs. 

For example, not all of the children who attend our schools are enrolled in our sponsorship program, but almost all of them eat meals at school. COTN uses the meals you package to feed these students and, sometimes, other children who are not directly involved in our programs but live nearby and have a significant need. 

In addition, COTN uses donated resources and packaged meals to provide for the needs of children who are enrolled in our programs but do not yet have sponsors. When a child enters our care, they do not have a sponsor waiting. We take children into our care by need and in faith—trusting that sponsors will soon follow and the needed funds will come in. While these children await sponsorship, your donated resources and packaged meals greatly help to meet their needs.

 

If you have further questions, please contact our sponsorship department at sponsor@cotni.org or 360-698-7227, or visit cotni.org/letter-writing.

University/Vocational Student Sponsorship FAQs

What specific benefits will the student I sponsor receive? 
Some of the benefits your student will receive are: tuition, room, board, transportation, books, and materials. Your donation will go into our university fund. Every student in our program is assigned multiple sponsors, which enables us to provide the increased support needed for higher education.

 

What specific expectations does COTN have for these students?
One of COTN’s goals is to transform young people into contributing members of their society. Each student must complete an application and be accepted into the University Program. Upon completion of the University Program, students agree to contribute skills and/or finances to COTN in an effort to make the program sustainable.

 

How long should my sponsorship last?
Our desire is to see these young adults actively contributing to their society and becoming leaders. The length of commitment depends on the requirements of the specific area of study your student has chosen. If we determine your student no longer requires support or leaves the program, within 30 days we will send you a profile of a new student for you to consider sponsoring; your sponsorship will automatically transfer to this student unless we hear from you.

 

Does my donation go directly to my student?
Your donation will go into our university/vocational fund for your student’s country, and your student will receive the benefits of their program through your contributions. It is our desire to meet the needs of all the students we serve. We have competent staff in each of our countries who make sure our programs are operating effectively. There are strict financial accountability guidelines in place to ensure that funds are used appropriately.

 

How important is prayer in COTN sponsorship?
Very—we not only desire your financial support; we highly value your prayer support as well. Your student sees prayer as important and will be praying for you.

 

How can I learn more about my sponsored student?
You can learn more through writing letters, visiting your student on a Venture Trip, and viewing news stories, country information, and other resources on our website (cotni.org). You will also receive regular updates about our programs through emails and newsletters.
 
How can I communicate with my student?
Specifics for letter writing can be found at cotni.org/letter-writing. We encourage you to write letters to your student, but please do not send more than one 6-by-9-inch envelope per month. The contents of this envelope should weigh less than 1 lb. and should have a monetary value of less than $25. Our in-country staff may need to translate letters both coming and going. It may take several months to hear back from your student, as our mail is sent with staff or teams traveling to our countries. 
 
May I send gifts to my student?
You may send items with your letters to our USA office. To prevent jealousy among other students, and to protect all of the students from misusing or misunderstanding gifts, please keep our guidelines in place when sending your gifts. We ask that you send no more than one 6-by-9-inch envelope that weighs less than 1 lb., with a monetary value of less than $25, per month. We will also identify special Christmas projects each year. If you visit your student in-country, you are welcome to bring gifts, as long as they are appropriate and their total value does not exceed $25. (See our complete gift giving policy here.)
 
Why does COTN have rules for gift giving?
While we appreciate the intent behind gifts, if directions are not followed, direct gift-giving can cause several problems. These include: (1) undermining the authority of in-country staff; (2) breeding dependence and materialism; (3) taking the place of more urgent needs; (4) misuse or misinterpretation of the items and their meaning. (See our complete gift giving policy here.)
 
Can I visit my student?
Yes! Visiting your student can be an exciting and encouraging experience. We greatly encourage it. For more information, visit cotni.org/venture/trips or contact us at venture@cotni.org or 360-698-7227.

Venture FAQs

General Venture FAQs

What kind of work will I be doing?
Projects vary by team. Visit our Upcoming Trips page to see which projects are happening.

What is the cost of a Venture Trip?
Please see the Upcoming Trips page for a general estimate. Costs vary by country, length of stay, etc.

Do I need a passport? A visa?
Yes, passports are required for travel to any COTN country. Visas must be purchased before traveling to Sierra Leone. All other countries will issue visas to Venture participants upon entry. Each Venture participant is responsible for the cost of purchasing a passport and visa (not included in COTN invoicing). Your Venture Manager will assist you and your team throughout this process.

Which vaccinations are recommended by COTN? Do I need to get a rabies vaccination? Do I need to take malaria medicine?
COTN recommends that immediately upon approval of your application, you consult your local health department or family physician to determine which vaccinations and medications will be needed. If you are traveling to Sierra Leone or if your trip includes a safari excursion in Zambia, you must have a yellow fever vaccination.

Where do I send my payments? Do I (and/or my supporters) pay by check or online?
All Venture participants and supporters may submit payments by cash, check or credit card. All checks should be made payable to COTN, have your code (assigned to you after acceptance) on the memo line, and be sent to:

COTN Venture Program
P.O. Box 3970
Silverdale, WA 98383


Please do not send cash in the mail. You may give cash payments directly to a Venture Manager.

You may submit a credit card payment online. Supporters may also make donations online using your assigned code.

What is my code?
Your code is assigned to you (or your team) after you are accepted into the program.

When do I need to send out my support letters?
Once you have been approved to join a team and have your team code, begin raising funds right away. COTN recommends that Venture participants allow at least three months to raise funds. In addition, it is advised that you begin gathering addresses as far in advance as possible. When considering whom to invite to support your Venture Trip, here's a tip: form a list of individuals, churches, and organizations that you would invite to your wedding/graduation or other special event.

Will I have medical insurance?
All Venture participants traveling with COTN are required to have travel insurance to cover emergency medical care and, in the case of a major medical need, evacuation. This medical insurance will be arranged and purchased by a Venture Manager. The premium for this insurance is included in the cost of your trip. However, in the case that you need to use the travel insurance, the $100 deductible is not included in the cost of your trip. For more information, see the Venture Emergency Plan.

What medical services will be available?
COTN is affiliated with reliable medical clinics in each of the countries in which we serve. In addition, we have trained nurses on staff in most countries. For more information, see the Venture Emergency Plan.

Is there safe drinking water?
Yes. Venture participants generally drink store-bought, bottled water. If not store-bought, drinking water is boiled and filtered.

Where do Venture participants live? What are the conditions like?
Please visit the individual country pages to learn more about our in-country programs.

What is the average temperature in the summer?
Please visit the CIA World Factbook website for each country to learn more about the country’s climate and geography.

Will Venture participants need to sleep underneath mosquito netting?
In any African country, mosquito nets will be provided and all participants are advised to use them every night. Nets are not necessary in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Is there a dress code?
Yes. Once accepted you will learn more about the dress code for each country in your Venture Manual. Please review this carefully before packing, as it is a primary way of communicating respect in each country.

Will there be contact with sick children?
Yes, there will be some contact—it cannot be avoided when working with children in the U.S. or abroad. Venture participants will not be expected to care for sick children (unless part of a trained medical or surgical team). Part of the COTN in-country orientation will cover how to stay healthy and avoid getting sick.

If there is any indication of civil unrest, what does COTN do to evacuate Venture participants from the country?
COTN has a full evacuation plan in place that will be implemented at the first sign of serious unrest. For more information, see the Venture Emergency Plan.

Can I travel to another destination or stay longer at my destination?
Very few exceptions are made for travel beyond the duration and location of the scheduled trip, due to liability reasons. Contact a Venture Manager for specific questions or concerns.

What is the Venture Emergency Plan (VEP)?
The Venture Emergency Plan has been created for the protection and safety of those traveling with COTN to developing nations where dangerous situations and medical emergencies may occur. The safety and well-being of participants traveling with COTN is of utmost importance.


Summary:

  • All Venture participants are registered with the U.S. Embassy in the destination country
  • Venture participants are required to have travel insurance.
    • COTN purchases travel insurance through Seven Corners, Inc. A program summary and benefits are available upon request.
  • Emergency evacuation plans are in place in all COTN countries in the unlikely case of political uprisings or other dangerous situations.
  • Copies of each participant’s passport, medical information (e.g. medications, allergies), emergency contact information, and travel itinerary are kept in a safe and central place while participant is en route and in-country.
    • Both the in-country Venture Manager and the Venture Emergency Contact who is on-call in the U.S. will have access to information in case of emergency.
  • A detailed and specific plan of action is in place in case of sickness or injury.
  • COTN has developed partnerships with several trusted medical providers and facilities in each country



Team FAQs

Will there be Venture Team training? What kind?
The amount and nature of training will vary depending on the type of trip. If you live in the same area as your fellow team members, periodic team meetings which include training, preparation, and team building are strongly encouraged. If not, regular email/telephone communication and close review of the Venture Manual will be essential in preparing for your trip.

Do I need to be a Christian to participate in a Venture Team trip?
COTN does not mandate that all Venture Team members be Christians; however, each team member must understand that he or she is embarking on a mission trip with a Christian organization and may be required to take part in Christian-focused activities. He or she must agree that regardless of personal beliefs, he or she will not compromise the ministry efforts of Children of the Nations by outwardly exhibiting any contradictions to COTN’s Statement of Faith.

What is the age requirement to participate in a Venture Team trip?
Participants must be at least 6 years old to participate on a Venture Team. Children ages 6 to 12 must travel with a parent or legal guardian. If a participant under the age of 18 is traveling without a parent or legal guardian, their parent or legal guardian must complete a notarized Affidavit of Temporary Guardianship which the Team Leader must carry during international travel.


How do I join a Venture Team?
There are two ways to participate with a Venture Team:

  1. Form A Team — Become A Team Leader (apply)
    You can become a Venture Team Leader by gathering a group of people from your church and/or community to form a Venture Team to serve in one of the countries in which COTN serves (Dominican Republic, Haiti, Malawi, Sierra Leone, or Uganda).
  2. Join A Team — Become A Team Member (apply)
    You can join a COTN Venture Team as a Team Member on a scheduled trip with an existing COTN team or a team leaving from your church or community. COTN will connect you with a Team Leader who will consider your application and help you prepare for the trip. As a Venture Team Member, you are responsible for interacting with your Team Leader to receive training materials, and you are required to attend scheduled team meetings. Please visit the Upcoming Trips page to view future opportunities.

    College Immersion FAQs

    What are the dates for the college immersion trips? Are they flexible?
    Yes, dates are flexible. Groups may choose to go during winter break, spring break, or during the summer. Please contact the Venture Teams Manager to learn available dates.

    Will there be training? What kind?
    Yes, there will be training. If you are coming with a university or church group, your group may provide pre-trip training. All College Immersion team leaders are also required to participate in COTN training prior to their trip. Once in country, all teams will receive an in-depth orientation.

    Do I have to be a Christian to serve on a College Immersion team?
    Yes. Because these trips have a discipleship focus, applicants must have a strong foundation from which to mentor the children.

Volunteer FAQs

What volunteer positions are currently available?
To see a list of our current openings, click here.

How do I apply for a volunteer position?
For all positions, we request a completed online Volunteer Application.

What requirements do I need to meet?
Each volunteer position will have its own list of specific skills and talents needed. There are several skills common to all positions.

  • We expect our volunteers to treat each other with respect at all times and maintain professional dress and attitudes.
  • An applicant should possess a willingness to serve and a desire to expand the mission at Children of the Nations.
  • Please possess a willingness to learn new skills and use existing skills while working as a team member with other staff and volunteers.

Is it possible to volunteer from home?
Some of our volunteers do volunteer at home, but it may not be possible, depending on the needs of the particular position.

Where can I volunteer and whom do I contact?
To volunteer at a COTN office, please contact the field office closest to you.

If you don’t live near one of our offices, and would like to volunteer in other ways, please email volunteer@cotni.org.

Can I volunteer in one of the countries where COTN serves?
If you are interested in serving in-country, please consider becoming a Venture Intern, Team Leader, or Consultant with our Venture Program. To find more information about trips, please contact our Venture Program Director.