There are two schools of thought within OA as to whether the sponsorship relationship is a confidential one:
⦁ Should you keep your sponsor anonymous?
⦁ Should you keep who you sponsor secret?

Some think that it strengthens the relationships among members when they know who sponsors who. Two members who share the same sponsor might tend to be more supportive of each other as they share this relationship. Similarly, relationships form between individuals and their grand-sponsees (sponsees of their sponsees) and great-grand-sponsees, even sponsee nieces and nephews. This creates a natural circle of “family” support.

On the other hand, there are some very good reasons to keep your sponsor a secret. If a member needs to change sponsors and find another one, those people who know the identity of the former sponsor may wonder why the change or unfairly have some negative misconception about that person (or about the previous sponsor). Similarly, if you have ended a sponsorship relationship with a sponsee, it will serve that person better if you have not told anyone that you were sponsoring them. It is important not to taint that person’s chances of finding a new sponsor.

Another reason for confidentiality has to do with sponsor/member communication. Members will say in their sharing, “My sponsor always says _____.” or “My first sponsor always told me to do ______.” If the sponsor did not want it known that they personally provided that advice, but the member has already identified who the sponsor is (or was), a boundary may have been violated in the member’s sharing something the sponsor said in private. However, if sponsor’s identity has been kept anonymous, the member can freely pass along the sponsor’s gems of wisdom without inappropriately crossing a boundary.

It is critical that the issue of confidentiality be discussed between sponsors and their potential sponsees and their communication boundaries agreed upon.