How do I donate correctly?

The 7 most important tips for donors from the DZI (German Central Institute for Social Issues) 


Donations do not tolerate pressure

Do not allow yourself to be put under pressure - neither by door-to-door or street canvassers, nor by printed advertisements for donations. After all, donations and supporting memberships are voluntary contributions that no one should be persuaded, coerced or even forced to make.

Targeted donations

Concentrate your donations on just a few organizations. This makes it easier to check that the organization is reputable and reduces the advertising and administration costs. Anyone who donates to many charities will be registered as an "active donor" by all these organizations and will receive all the more advertising.

Exaggerated urgency

Do not trust overly urgent appeals for donations. Reputable aid organizations have made provisions for emergencies and disasters and can start first aid regardless of the amount of donations received. The donations are then important for financing further measures or replenishing disaster funds.

Make an informed donation

Donate thoughtfully, not impulsively. The number of donation organizations and the intensity of fundraising are constantly increasing. Donors should therefore decide all the more carefully which cause and which organization they support. Find out via the Internet, ask for annual reports, project descriptions or regular publications. These should be comprehensible, factual and informative. If in doubt, the DZI's assessment can help.

No right of withdrawal

As a rule, the Doorstep Selling Act does not apply to sponsoring memberships, i.e. there is no statutory right of withdrawal. Therefore, do not lightly commit to paying a monthly sponsorship fee by signing up. Find out in advance about the notice periods stipulated in the articles of association.

Cash donations are better than donations in kind

Funds can be used more flexibly and efficiently by aid organizations than donations in kind. Expensive transportation routes are eliminated, many products can be bought more cheaply locally and also strengthen the economy at the destination. Donations in kind are only recommended if they are specifically requested by reputable organizations.

The advantage of "free" donations

Earmarked donations should remain the exception. They only make sense as a supplement, not as a replacement for unrestricted donations. This is because they severely restrict the decision-making scope of aid organizations, cause additional administrative and advertising costs and disadvantage aid purposes that are not suitable for earmarked advertising.

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