German Central Institute for Social Issues

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German Central Institute for Social Issues
legal form Foundation under civil law
founding 1893
founder German society for ethical culture
Seat Berlin ( coordinates: 52 ° 27 ′ 55.3 ″  N , 13 ° 17 ′ 32.1 ″  E )
precursor Central for private welfare
purpose Collecting and documenting information from the areas of social work, social education and donation.
Chair Ingrid Stahmer
Managing directors Burkhard Wilke
sales 1,638,591 euros (2018)
Employees 21 (2018)

The German Central Institute for Social Issues (DZI) is a foundation based in Berlin that has been examining social and charitable non-governmental organizations in Germany since 1991 for the use of their donations . The DZI was founded in 1893 by the German Society for Ethical Culture e. V. founded as a legally dependent department. In 1906 it was named Zentrale für private Welfare e. V. independent as a registered association ; since 1957 it has been a foundation under civil law called the German Central Institute for Social Issues (DZI) .

The foundation's largest financial supporters are the Senate of Berlin , the Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth , the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry , the German Association of Cities and the Federal Association of Independent Welfare Care . Acting managing director and scientific director of the DZI is Burkhard Wilke .


In Zimmerstrasse 16i in Berlin-Mitte was the first information center of the German Society for Ethical Culture (DGEK) for those in need. For reasons of space, this facility moved to Unter den Linden 16 in November 1899. On November 25, 1893, another advice center was opened in Füsilierstrasse. 5 opened in the Scheunenviertel . A homeless shelter was housed in the same building. Jeanette Schwerin , the head of the DGEK, names the following priorities in her annual report from 1894:

  • Systematisation of information on welfare institutions
  • active participation of women in the research and the provision of information
  • Cooperation with the poor directorate with a view to reforming poor relief

Schwerin defined the following groups as in need of help:

  • Sick, infirm, old, unable to work
  • families who are able to work but are currently deprived of accidents or social hardship

Jeanette Schwerin was very committed to women's rights. She died in July 1899 at the age of 47. After her death, Albert Levy took over the management. One of his main concerns was to get charities to coordinate their activities together. In 1906 the facility was renamed the Central Office for Private Welfare. The facility was thus constituted as an association and the individual work areas were separated from one another. In 1911 the association moved from Berlin-Mitte to Flottwellstrasse 4 in Tiergarten. At that time, 22 employees and 12 civil servants were working in the counseling center. In addition, 110 women and 30 men did volunteer work.

The First World War gave rise to war welfare , the task of which was to support the relatives of soldiers. The war led to the impoverishment of large parts of the population. The Central Office for Private Welfare tried to speed up the process and provide support as quickly as possible. A new department with 12 employees was established for this purpose. In addition, the Central Office for Private Welfare took over care services for the war blind with the aim of enabling them to live largely independently. A total of 345 employees, including 71 civil servants and 285 volunteers, worked for the Central Office for Private Welfare. By moving the office of the German Association for Public and Private Welfare to Frankfurt am Main. In 1919 and the dissolution of the Central Office for People's Welfare in 1920, important sources were lost to the Welfare Archives. A suggestion from the Reich Labor Ministry prompted the archive to expand the collection focus in 1923 to the areas of legal welfare, specialist bibliography and organization in the Reich, in the federal states, provinces and cities.

According to its status, the archive was the establishment of a community consisting of representatives of the Imperial Council and members of the leading associations. Senate President Spiegelthal from the Reich Insurance Office and Privy Councilor D. Mahling, professor at the Friedrich Wilhelms University in Berlin, chaired the meeting. The former director of the archive, Siddy Wronsky , became managing director. The adoption of the Reich welfare obligation in April 1924 meant a fundamental change in the welfare system. In 1926 an agreement was reached with the Berlin magistrate, according to which the archive was chaired by the magistrate, represented by the German Association of Cities, the Berlin Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Central Office for Private Welfare as an independent company under civil law was constituted. The inquiries from other cities increased. The stocks also grew. On July 1, 1930, the archive moved to Neue Friedrichstrasse 36.

In 1964 the name was changed to the German Central Institute for Social Issues. Since then, the institute's areas of responsibility have included literature documentation for the specialist library on social affairs, publishing activities and donor advice.

On May 14, 1970, the administration building was the site of the liberation of Baader .

DZI donation seal

New DZI donation seal
Old DZI donation seal

Since 1992 , the DZI has been awarding the DZI donation seal to social and charitable organizations that apply for the seal and meet the criteria .


The DZI checks

  • the existence of internal management and control mechanisms,
  • the informative value of the financial reports,
  • transparency to the public as well
  • the quality of the advertising and information material,
  • the use of funds, whereby the proportion of advertising and administrative expenses may not exceed 30 percent.


The criteria are checked on the basis of documents that are to be made available annually by the organizations:

  • a completed questionnaire,
  • the approval of the supervisory body and
  • the most recent annual and financial report.

More than 20 employees are available for this test and related activities.

For the annual examination, the DZI charges a basic fee of 500 euros and an additional amount of 0.035 percent of the annual income. The upper cost limit is 12,000 euros. For initial applications, up to an additional 1,000 euros are due.

If the requirements for the donation seal are no longer met, the donation seal can be revoked. For example, the seal of UNICEF Germany was revoked in February 2008, the main reason for this being the fact that commission payments to donor seekers were not disclosed. In November 2010, UNICEF Germany was reassigned the donation seal after a renewed examination.

Audited organizations

Until 2004, the donation seal was only awarded to humanitarian and charitable organizations. After this time, all non-profit donation organizations can apply for the seal, including environmental and nature conservation organizations.

In 2006, 212 (5 percent) of the approximately 4,180 supraregional donation-collecting organizations in Germany were carriers of the DZI donation seal.

In 2017, 225 organizations were reviewed, no organization was rejected, and no organization was revoked.


The library has the task of making the collected information accessible and making it accessible to users through research and provision. On request, searches are carried out in the SoLit literature database. The results of literature research can either be printed out or made available on diskette for a fee.

In Germany, anyone interested can obtain information about organizations that collect donations from the areas of social, environmental and nature conservation at the DZI. This also applies to organizations that do not bear the seal. The organizations with the DZI donation seal are published annually with a short portrait in the "DZI donation almanac".

publishing company

The publisher publishes the monthly trade journal Soziale Arbeit . The target groups of this journal are learners, teachers and researchers in social work, those working in practice, the social administrations of the federal states and municipalities, associations and institutions as well as public and voluntary welfare work. The main topics are youth welfare, social affairs and health care.

Since 1896 the archive for economic maintenance , since 1964 DZI, published the Graubuch - Guide through social Berlin . The designation gray book is due to the color of the cover. The original title was Die Wohlfahrtseinrichtungen Berlins: an information book . In 1915 a guide through the war welfare in Greater Berlin appeared , in 1917 a manual of the war welfare in the German Reich . Since 1952 it has been entitled The Guide through Social Berlin . For cost reasons, the publication had to be discontinued after the 17th edition in 1996, which was published this year both in book form and for the first time on CD-ROM. The gray book documented aid from public and free welfare in the areas of social affairs as well as youth and health. It also contained additional information on politics, administration, the administration of justice, as well as work and education.


  • Helper syndrome, desire for prestige or common sense? Berlin: DZI, 2009
  • DZI donation almanac.
  • Ethics in Fundraising. Berlin: Dt. Central inst. for social issues, 2007
  • Graubuch: the guide through social Berlin. / Ed .: German Central Institute for Social Issues, DZI. Editing and design: Norbert Demgensky and Dirk Bartsch: DZI, 1997, [in accordance with 17., revised. Book edition]
  • 75 years of social work in Germany. Berlin: Dt. Central inst. f. Social Issues, [1968]
  • Social work journal. 59th year


Some organizations say they can not afford the donation seal due to the fees or do not want to use their donations for it. In addition, applying for the DZI seal is associated with a high level of bureaucratic effort for the organization making the application.

In 2010, the Association for Development Policy and Humanitarian Aid of German Non-Governmental Organizations criticized the considerable increase in prices and the greater bureaucratic effort caused by the reform of the guidelines for the award of seals. The original requirement associated with the award of the seal to advertise the donation seal was dropped after heavy criticism. The monopoly position of the DZI with its sometimes slow processes was also criticized.

The environmental protection organization Greenpeace points out on its website that the DZI criteria do not apply to large organizations like Greenpeace, especially if they are campaign-oriented or purely donor-based.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. [1] DZI website, legal notice, accessed on November 1, 2018
  2. See also the article Ethical Movement
  3. DZI donation seal guidelines. DZI, January 1, 2016, p. 5 , accessed January 14, 2017 .
  4. DZI Annual Report 2017. DZI, July 1, 2018, pp. 7/44 , accessed on November 1, 2018 .
  5. a b DZI Annual Report 2017. DZI, July 1, 2018, p. 8/44 , accessed on November 1, 2018 .
  6. DZI Annual Report 2017. DZI, July 1, 2018, pp. 22/44 , accessed on November 1, 2018 .
  7. Recognition for transparency at UNICEF ( Memento from August 16, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) , November 2010, accessed on December 9, 2011.
  8. Donation Seal Guidelines 2011 ( Memento of the original from December 26, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , DZI, PDF file, accessed December 9, 2011.
  9. Donation information and information , DZI, accessed on May 13, 2018.
  10. cf. DZI: DZI Spendenalmanach 2008/9 , 2008, ISBN 978-3-9805028-9-4
  11. ^ Journal of Social Work on the institute's website. Retrieved September 15, 2010 .
  12. Why Wundertüte eV does not apply for a donation seal. Website of Wundertüte eV, accessed on September 4, 2013.
  13. ASB is a member of the German Donation Council. Retrieved May 16, 2019 .
  14. H.-J. Vehlewald, E. Koch: Helpers want to boycott donation seals. In: , August 10, 2010, accessed on September 4, 2013.
  15. Aid organizations struggle for stricter guidelines: Donation seal under criticism ,, August 12, 2010, accessed on December 4, 2015.
  16. Sigrid Totz: Collect donations, win colleagues ,, November 25, 2010, accessed on December 4, 2015.