In the past I have heard of organizations that collect money to "help children in under-developed countries" but that money dissapears somewhere and no one really knows what happens. I've even seen in "post secret" cards sent in by people who have worked in those organizations and have seen what takes place. It's really heart-breaking to hear those stories but there is no reason to use that as an excuse not to do something.
I am here to give you insiders info - World Vision are completely legit and actually do what they say they do with the money they get and accomplish so much more than what they even say they will accomplish. They do sanitation projects, they go into villages and help whole communities, not just single children or families. I have seen reports and case studies and they really do their work well. I am sure there are others who do their work well, it's just that I have worked with them and know their comapny in a more personal way through my company.
So if the only reason why you have not sponsored a child yet is distrust about misused finances, I vouch for World Vision. Pick one or two or ten kids to sponsor and start living beyond yourself. There are not many things in this world more fulfilling than to know that you are able to change someone's life for the better. It's a gift to be able to help someone. The priviledge that we have is that we can change so much with so little because of where we are politically and financially.