Doing good – the right way

A society is only as strong as its weakest link. This is why social commitment is becoming ever more important – including at corporate level.

Donors seeking a charity for their largesse are spoilt for choice; Germany has around 600,000 nonprofit associations and organisations, and 15,000 private foundations. The largest and best-known include names such as Doctors Without Borders or the German Red Cross. But a helping hand can also be given on a smaller scale – and even on our own doorstep.

Charity begins at home, as the saying goes. In the neighbourhood, in the kindergarten. “In The Honourables, we constantly seek projects that are worth supporting”, explains The Honourables Founding Board Member Michael Lohr. “It’s important to us that we can see where the money goes. We want to be able to track the success of the project.” A wise view – because simply throwing money around helps neither the donor nor the needy recipient.
It’s easy to lose track of the vast number of organisations and foundations. Guidance is provided by the Donation Guide from the German Central Institute for Social Issues (DZI), which has awarded a seal of quality to trustworthy charities since 1992. 262 organisations bear this seal of quality today, receiving a total of 1.2 billion euros in donations every year. A full list can be found at www.dzi.de with descriptions that strive to be as precise as possible. Those seeking inspiration from others can read about companies with charitable commitment at we care.

“Investigate exactly who you are giving your money to”, is the advice of Burkhard Wilke from the DZI. The German Charity Council recommends choosing recognised charitable organisations that prioritise transparency in their operations. This includes regularly informing the public about their work without engaging in aggressive advertising. “The more a donor knows about an organisation, the better it feels to make a donation”, notes Wilke.

What’s true for individuals also applies to companies. As globalisation progresses, some companies have begun to support educational institutions or hospitals at their international locations. These activities generally also benefit the companies themselves; after all, donation is good for the image.
This year the charitable organisation Team-Charity Deutschland was founded in Berlin, combining social commitment with team spirit and staff motivation for companies. The high-calibre board includes Lars Riedel, Olympic winner and five times discus world champion, Prof. Günter Stock, President of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of the Sciences, and Joachim Fuhrländer, wind-power pioneer and visionary.

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