Before Christmas: How does Corona change the willingness to donate?

Christmas time is donation time. But is that the same this year or has the corona pandemic changed the willingness of Germans to donate?

December is the month of the year when people donate the most money. About twenty percent of all donations are in
Made in the Christmas season, says Max Mälzer. He is the managing director of the German Donation Council. So it’s no wonder that there are already posters advertising for donations during the Christmas season. But the question is: will this work? Do people donate despite the corona pandemic, despite the partial lockdown? Do you donate even though no one knows exactly how hard the economy – your own company, your own workplace – is affected by the pandemic?

Of course, this question cannot be answered now, says Mälzer. In particular, company donations from certain industries – such as automotive suppliers or travel and aviation companies – will probably be smaller this year or disappear entirely, he says. But there are also signs that the willingness to donate is high in Germany despite the corona pandemic. The German Donation Council recently presented figures on how much money Germans donated between January and September 2020. The result: “We are roughly on par with the previous year,” says Mälzer. The organization plans to publish more precise figures at the end of November.

Despite the corona pandemic, Germans have donated a lot of money so far

It could have turned out very differently. After all, at the beginning of the pandemic, many people were on short-time work – and still are. Many shops and establishments were completely closed – and are again. Still, the people were ready to help. “Many bought vouchers in the spring to support restaurants or retailers in the area,” says Mälzer. These are not donations because there will be something in return at some point. “But it doesn’t make a difference for people. The donation cake could have been smaller as a result. But it isn’t,” he says, audibly pleased.

Arndt Hansen can report something similar. He is the managing director of the Kartei der Not, the relief organization for people in need of the media group Pressedruck (to which the Augsburg General belongs) and the Allgäuer newspaper publisher. “We have seen that a lot of things that we normally donate to were not possible,” he says. For example, sporting events, concerts or other theater performances for a good cause could not take place.

Kartei der Not welcomes many donations from private individuals

“For this, however, new forms of donation have emerged. People have registered online and thus took part in a charity run for themselves,” says Hansen. “Lots of individuals who have noticed are doing it in spite of them
well, have donated money. In some cases several thousand euros. “These new forms of donation would have absorbed the lost money.” We can be proud of that, “says Hansen. But he doesn’t know what December will bring either.

In the last two months of the year, about 40 to 50 percent of all donations go to the Notion Card, says Hansen. He doesn’t want to speculate how high the total will be this year. “We’ll just have a look,” he says. But of course there would be actions like that RT1– Donation marathon took place despite Corona – albeit under slightly different conditions.

Can the carol singers 2020 go door to door?

Heinke Rauscher is also familiar with these other conditions. She is the executive chairman of the board at Humedica. The Kaufbeurer Verein provides humanitarian and medical aid in disaster areas. Humedica also collects a large part of the annual donations during the Christmas season – 35 percent of the donations come together in November and December. Now, Rauscher hopes that despite the pandemic – or because of it – people will donate to Humedica in the run-up to Christmas. She is also confident. Because so far Humedica has received a lot of donations. “We were surprised ourselves at how well it has gone so far,” she says. She is grateful that people remained loyal to Humedica even during the corona pandemic.

A corona test station in Lebanon. The aid organization Humedica tries to support Corona projects in various countries.

Image: Humedica

Most of the money Humedica receives is currently flowing into Corona projects – because sending German doctors abroad is almost impossible due to the pandemic. “We are therefore strengthening our local partners and enabling these projects to provide better help,” says Rauscher. For example, by distributing food or hygiene items to people who have lost their jobs due to the corona pandemic.

How complicated the pandemic makes collecting donations becomes clear from the example of the carol singers. Groups of children usually go door-to-door around January 6th each year, donating the Three Kings Blessing and collecting donations that go to aid projects for children around the world. Last year a record sum of more than 50 million euros was raised. But this year? Press spokesman Robert Baumann prefers not to say anything about that: “That would be glass ball reading.” Because whether the carolers will be allowed to move from house to house is still questionable. Although the campaign has already worked out hygiene concepts, it is still unclear whether star singing will be allowed in January. “Creative alternatives are already emerging in many parishes,” says Baumann. That ranges from a landing net, with the help of which the donation money can be collected, to “carol singing stops” where believers can pick up their blessings.

“But we have also prepared blessing packages,” says Baumann. This includes, for example, a blessing sticker and a donation bag. The donation can then simply be thrown in. “This is currently in great demand from the parishes,” says Baumann. For the Kindermissionswerk one thing is clear: the donations are important. “If we don’t have the money, then it is also missing in our projects,” says Baumann.

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