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Frequently asked questions

What is Plan?

Plan is an international, child-centred development organisation with no religious, political or governmental affiliations. In 2014, Plan worked with 86,676 communities in 50 developing countries all over the world to promote child rights and lift millions of children out of poverty.

Plan raised €722 million in 2013-14, primarily from individuals through child sponsorship. Plan actively involves local communities in setting up and implementing projects, including families and children. Our aim is sustainable development: a better world for children now and in the long-term future.

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Who benefits from Plan's work?

Children are at the heart of all Plan activities. In 2014, Plan worked with 86,676 communities. Our work areas had a population of 164.9 million people - including 81.5 million children.

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What is child sponsorship?

Child sponsorship is a link between individual donors in 21 countries and children and families in developing countries. Our system of sponsorship allows sponsors and communities in developing countries to exchange letters and build a bridge of understanding between them. Sponsors also receive regular progress reports from Plan. Sponsorship donations are used for community projects, which improve the quality of lives of children, from building schools and health clinics to providing safe water, housing and sanitary latrines.

Sponsorship is therefore one of the most transparent, sustainable systems for helping whole communities lift themselves out of poverty and secure their children's right to education, health and a better future. Most of our sponsors choose to make a commitment to donating money over a long-term period. This provides a reliable source of funding for Plan.

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Why doesn't sponsorship money go directly to children?

To effect lasting change, a child cannot be isolated from a family, or a family from a community. By improving the facilities and resources in the communities where children live, Plan projects help give children their best chance of fulfilling their potential in the long-term future.

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How does Plan choose the communities in which it works?

Plan has developed criteria to ensure we work where there is the greatest need and where we can have the greatest impact. To determine need, Plan considers international development indicators such as infant and maternal mortality rates, the country's wealth, government stability and willingness to work in collaboration with us to improve children's lives. Once need is established, Plan requires family and community commitment to participate actively in bringing about lasting change.

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How does Plan make a difference?

Plan's active support for child development over a long period of time aims to improve the healthy development of children from before birth, through safe delivery, pre-school care and development, primary and secondary education, to an adulthood in which they can be valuable and productive members of their community.

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Does Plan show where the money goes?

Plan has a policy of accountability and openness. We publish an annual report containing worldwide consolidated financial statements. We encourage sponsors to visit our programmes overseas, to meet the children, families and visit their communities, and observe the impact of their assistance first-hand.

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How long do children remain enrolled with Plan?

As long as necessary, but not after they reach 18. If the family still needs our help then we often register a younger brother or sister. Other reasons why a child could cease to be enrolled could be that a family moves out of the area where Plan works, or that our goals have been reached and it is agreed that the community has become self-sufficient. On average, children are enrolled with us for 7 years.

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As a sponsor, can I give more than my normal monthly contribution?

Yes. Extra contributions are always welcome, and are used to provide additional funding to many vital projects. You can, of course, sponsor more than one child. If you use a covenant there could be tax advantages (depending on where you live) in financially sponsoring a second or even a third child.

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Do Plan's fundraising activities comply with international standards?

Yes. Plan is unique in publishing consolidated worldwide financial statements covering its operations. These statements, which are prepared according to International Accounting Standards (IAS), cover the fundraising side of the organisation and the use of funds in programme countries. The statements are audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers and clearly show how Plan spends the funds that are raised. The management and operations of Plan's central organisation have been independently assessed by the International Committee on Fundraising Organisations and are in compliance with ICFO standards.

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Fraudulent e-mails, letters, websites and phone calls - what's your advice?

The fraudulent use of all forms of communication, including letters and phone calls, but especially e-mail, is widespread, and you should be very cautious. You may be offered a job or a financial reward in exchange for personal information such as your bank account or credit card details. The message may feature Plan's logo or use an e-mail address which appears to be from Plan.

You will only hear from Plan if you have expressed an interest in our work. Do not trust any communication, purportedly from Plan, unless you initiated the contact.

We will never ask you for bank account or credit card details by e-mail.

Online donations and payments
Like most other charities, Plan websites offer online payment facilities, including sponsorship and donations. These are made through secure pages, which are subject to very tight security and monitored regularly. Please look out for the padlock symbol which indicates that a page is secure.

If you are in any doubt about the authenticity of any message claiming to be from Plan, contact Plan. By taking the initiative in this way you will be the person in charge, and not a prospective fraudster.

Protection against fraud
Plan will never ask you to:

  • supply bank details via e-mail
  • send money to support an individual child
  • provide accommodation for a child
  • enter into direct personal correspondence with a child without oversight by Plan.

Plan does not practice "cold calling". You will only hear from us if you have chosen to do so.

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For any further queries about Plan, please submit an enquiry through this website, or contact us below:

Plan, International Headquarters

Dukes Court
Block A
Duke Street
GU21 5BH

Tel (+44)1483 755 155
Fax (+44)1483 756 505

Plan Limited

A Limited Company Registered in England No. 03001663.
Registered Office: Dukes Court, Block A, Duke Street, Woking, Surrey GU21 5BH, UK
Plan Limited is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Plan International, Inc. (a not-for-profit corporation registered in New York State, USA)