Compassion International Logo

Compassion International

Is This Your Business?
star star star_half star_border star_border
LAST UPDATED: July 12th, 2023
Founded in 1952 and headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Compassion International is a child-sponsoring charitable organization that was originally known as the Everett Swanson Evangelistic Association. The sponsorship model was launched in 1953 and the organization officially became Compassion International in 1963. 

Top Ranked Companies


The Good

  • Total income
  • Administrative expenses
  • Fundraising expenses
  • Program percentage
  • Accessible financial information

Total Income

Over the last several years, Compassion International has reported a steadily growing income. All totals are for the organization's fiscal year ending in June of the reported year.
  • 2015: $765,156,592
  • 2014: $712,969,008
  • 2013: $656,893,101
  • 2012: $596,083,005

Administrative Expenses

Compassion International reports a lower percentage of its income going towards meeting its administrative expenses than fundraising activities, which is not the norm among most charitable organizations. For the fiscal year ending in June 2015, the organization reported that 7.4 percent of its income, or $57,323,669, was allocated to administrative support. Top executives received salaries which were less than those given by many other charitable organizations. Current president and CEO, Santiago H. Mellado, received 0.03 percent of total revenue, or $296,044, in 2014.

Fundraising Expenses

Compassion International uses an average of 10 percent of its annual revenue for fundraising activities.

Program Percentage

The percentage of an organization's revenue directed towards delivering its program is a very important measure of the quality of an organization's fiscal responsibility. Most charity watchdog organizations consider a percentage of above 80 percent as an indicator of effective program delivery. Compassion International states on its website that the organization works to keep its program percentage at or above 80 percent. For the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2015, Compassion International used 83.1 percent of its income for program delivery.

Accessible Financial Information

Compassion International publishes its annual reports (2011-2015), auditor's reports (2011-2015) and IRS Form 990s (2009-2015) on its website. This information can be easily found and is comprehensive.

The Bad

  • Negative press
  • Donor communication
  • Awards

Negative Press

Legal Battles about "Compassion" Once in 1997 and once in 2015, Compassion International's legal representation sent threatening cease and desist letters to two organizations which used the word "Compassion" in the name of their organizations. Both entities were surprised at the demands and, without funds to fight a battle in court, changed the names of their organizations. These start-up organizations did not attempt to confuse or deceive, as they were accused; they simply chose a word to illustrate the mission of their organization. Support of "Son of God" Movie Compassion International voiced support for the 2014 movie Son of God, which depicted the life of Jesus Christ. However, many Christians found the film to be contrary to their beliefs in the Bible. As such, many have expressed concern about the Christianity of the mission of Compassion International.

Donor Communication

Donors are promised that they will receive updates on the status of the child whom they have sponsored from the organization, as well as directly from the child or child's family. This seems to be highly variable; some donors report that they wait months or even years before receiving information directly from their sponsored child, while others report more frequent communication. However, donors can expect a high level of communication from Compassion International. In fact, many donors report receiving excessive fundraising requests via postal mail after they have begun to sponsor a child.


Compassion International has been recognized for its workplace environment, as well as the quality of the organization's public relations. The awards that the organization has received are not spontaneously given; rather, the organization submitted information to another organization for entry into a field. The entrants were judged and awards were given out among the pool of eligible entries. While these awards do represent achievement, they are not weighted the same as recognitions that awarded spontaneously.

The Bottom Line

Compassion International has many positives in its model. The administrative costs are very reasonable when compared to other programs. Additionally, the organization's program delivery percentage reflects fiscal responsibility. However, Compassion International has received some negative press and has been accused of over-communicating with donors.
Was this content helpful?
thumb_up Yes thumb_down No

Star Rating


star star star_half star_border star_border

32 Reviews

Review Breakdown

5 grade


4 grade


3 grade


2 grade


1 grade


Sentiment Criteria


star star star star_border star_border


star star star_half star_border star_border


star star star_half star_border star_border


star star star_half star_border star_border

Filter by:


Sort by:

star star star star star

funinthekeys St. Petersburg, FL

The low amount listed for administrative expenses plus percentage that typically goes directly to help the children is amazing! I’ve worked for a non-profit org. It’s HARD to have those statistics! We LOVE Compassion International ! Our grandkids send letters, drawings and photos! And we …. Grandmom and Grandpop,😆… support the finances and send Birthday and Christmas gifts! Our DREAM would be to one day MEET THE CHILDREN! ALL in Ecuador! Our grandchildren live in a rural small town in Florida. Our Compassion kids appear to live in similar surroundings! This benefits OUR FAMILY more I think than Compassion International ! THANK YOU for letting us participate! God Bless You!❤️ Barbara Mueller

9 months ago

star star star star star

J Mag Denver, CO

I've been sponsoring children for 10+ years. I recently signed up for my 4th child as two of them have graduated. I've always received updated pictures, letters, etc. I was a little surprised when I logged into my account and found that I was "auto assigned" a new child. It didn't bother me as that was my intent anyway, but I didn't know I had signed up for that. The website is easy to navigate, and I am grateful for the work the organization does to help children out of poverty.

1 year ago

star star star star star

L Hawthorne Chicago, IL

I have supported multiple Compassion children for over thirty years and have been 99% happy with the experience. Their decision to build a data system from scratch led to a few glitches recently, but I have always received letters and news. I went to El Salvador to visit the three children I was sponsoring and was impressed with all the children were learning at the centers and with the staff we met. We support many charities and I consider Compassion one of the best.

3 years ago

star star star star star


Compassion is the most effective charity I have ever seen. The children in the program are given such wonderful opportunities to grow up healthy, well educated and having hope for their future. I love supporting my two sponsored children through Compassion. We write to each other and I know that they are receiving love and protection from their local church. I have also visited Conpassion projects in Africa. The love that the staff show to the children is amazing and the joy on the faces of the children and their families is so evident.

4 years ago

star star star star star

Bryan Kim La Habra, CA

I Have been sponsoring my child from another mother in Togo, Afrika for past 3 years. My goal is to provide her education and faith to God that anything is possible, and Compassion is providing me with the opportunity to serve God and do God's work at the same time. I thank God for everything and I pray this company will last forever and spread the God's message over to the millions of people in the world.

4 years ago

star star star star star

Kristen Corona, CA

I have been a sponsor for 17 years. Compassion is an incredible organization, and I am happy to have seen first-hand what an amazing job it is doing in the poorest of areas. In my many encounters with Compassion staff both here in the US and abroad, everyone is passionate about the mission of Compassion. I am continuously amazed by the work they do and the lives they transform.

4 years ago

star star star star star

Sam Ahia Lahaina, HI

I have been a sponsor of children for several years. I have found Compassion International to be above reproach in every way. Yes they do consistently ask for help but I never felt like they were doing a "sales job" on me or my wife. We are able to answer letters that we receive from our sponsored children and get to know them a little. Compassion International has been a shining light in making people aware of the tremendous need little children have in poor countries.

6 years ago

star star star star star

June Powell Oviedo, FL

So far we have been very impressed with this ministry and hope to be able to continue to sponsor the child we have chosen. It costs money in anything you do these days but just knowing that a part of our donation is helping a child is enough for us!

5 years ago

star star star star star

Becky Hopkins Andover, KS

Great ministry! We have been sponsoring a child for a few years, and we love getting updates to see how she is doing.

2 years ago Edited September 14, 2021


Review Source

star star star star star

Allie Powell Long Beach, MS

This was a great experience. I loved learning children’s stories. However, it was very expensive to keep sponsoring a child.

3 years ago