Retirees Germany’s most generous charity donors

Thoughts turn to giving during the holidays and pensioners are among Germany’s most generous donors to charity. But the country's seniors are increasingly demanding to know exactly where their money is going.

Retirees Germany's most generous charity donors
Photo: DPA

“More than every other donated euro comes from those older than 60,” said Ulrich Pohl, who is a pastor and head of the Bethel Institute, a religious social welfare organisation that claims to be the largest of its kind in Europe.

About 75 percent of the money donated in Germany goes to humanitarian causes, Pohl said, adding that donations this year have remained steady despite the bad economy.

“The donation revenues are surprisingly stable,” he said, adding that the winter holidays are the most important time of year for charitable organisations, which collect up to 60 percent of their funding in just a few weeks.

But those who give money to a good cause are increasingly demanding to know exactly how it is spent.

“They want to know, ‘How much of my money actually arrives?’” he said, adding that many donors demand to know how their funds are divided between business concerns such as advertising and administration.

Pohl also criticised the lack of donation collection laws in some German states, particularly considering that there are some 40,000 charitable organisations in the country.

Potential philanthropists can consult the Deutsche Spendenrat and the DZI institute for social questions, but they should also look for certain signs of authenticity to avoid being swindled.

“Is the collection vessel sealed? Does the donation collector have an identification card where there is a telephone number for inquiries? If someone comes to the door collecting donations and also wants to sell newspaper subscriptions, I would be extremely sceptical,” Pohl said.

The internet can help with finding appropriate organisations to support, he said, recommending portals such as Better Place, HelpDirect or iDo – which link to blogs and other information from organisations to increase transparency.

“Considering that most donors are older, most of these portals are perhaps an opportunity to reach younger people,” he added.

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German Christmas market closures ‘can’t be ruled out’: health expert

As Germany battles a fierce Covid wave, concerns are growing over events, with one health expert saying closures of the country's beloved Christmas markets can't be ruled out.

Revellers enjoy mulled wine at the 'Santa Pauli' Christmas market in Hamburg on November 15th.
Revellers enjoy mulled wine at the 'Santa Pauli' Christmas market in Hamburg on November 15th. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marcus Brandt

Martina Wenker, president of the Lower Saxony Medical Association, said she believed Christmas markets may have to be cancelled if the Covid-19 situation gets worse in Germany. 

“Depending on the regional incidence situation, closures should not be ruled out in extreme cases,” Wenker told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung.

“We can’t stand by and celebrate while next door in the hospitals, planned operations have to be postponed frequently, corona patients are dying, and staff in practices and clinics are at their limits.”

Wenker said regional leaders allowed the opening of Christmas markets on the basis that the Covid situation was moderate.

“But if we reach higher levels of escalation, we will have to consider whether Christmas markets are still justifiable,” she said.

Germany on Tuesday reported 32,048 Covid infections within 24 hours and 265 Covid-related deaths. The 7-day incidence increased to 312.4 Covid cases per 100,000 residents. 

READ ALSO: Germany’s Covid incidence tops 300 for first time

‘Maximum safety’

Bavarian state premier Markus Söder said on Monday that he wanted to ensure there was “maximum safety” around Christmas markets.

He said it will be among the topics discussed at the Covid crisis talks between the federal government and state leaders this Thursday. 

In general, Söder said mask requirements should remain at Christmas markets as well as distance rules and other protection measures. 

In an interview with broadcaster Bayern3, Söder explained that so far there is no legal framework for Bavaria to cancel Christmas markets. “At the moment, we cannot legally order it,” he said.

Some Christmas markets, which have recently opened to the public, are already enforcing strict rules such as excluding the unvaccinated from entry, or not serving alcohol to people unless they can show proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid. 



Christmas market – (der) Weihnachtsmarkt

Celebrate – feiern

Planned operations/procedures – geplante Eingriffe 

Postponed – verschoben

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