German Central Institute for Social Issues

DZI was founded 1893 in Berlin for the purpose of mediating between those persons who are in need and those who are able and willing to help.

The mission of DZI is defined by the statutes as a collection-/ information-/research center covering the complete area of social work, with particular consideration of the requirements in practical welfare work. The institute mainly has three working areas:

Donor Advisory Service: Since 1906 the DZI collects and documents information concerning donations-soliciting charities and provides independent information and evaluations to donors. The documentation archive presently covers approx. 2,000 charities. Aside from this information service, charities which solicit donations supra-regionally may – by voluntarily joining the self-commitment – apply for the DZI Seal-of-Approval since 1992. This Seal was originally restricted to charities with social, particularly humanitarian caritative goals, but in 2004 was opened to all public benefit organizations (except for political parties) in Germany. Presently, 232 charities with an overall annual collection income of 1,4 billion Euro have successfully applied for and been awarded the DZI Seal-of-Approval.

The goals of the Seal are: donor protection, protection of donations, and protection of state revenue. The German Foreign Office as well as the Federal Ministry on Economic Development and Cooperation, for example, refer to the Seal when checking whether a NPO may receive public subsidies.

Specialized Library: the DZI maintains an extensive library specialized in the field of theory and practice of social work, reaching back in history to 1860. The service is enhanced by the offer of a literature database which can be researched via internet, supporting documentation covering all sources since 1979 (presently approx. 27,000 monographies and 180,000 articles) and subscribed by approx. 180 universities in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Publishing House: in addition to special issues on various field topics , DZI publishes the monthly journal „Soziale Arbeit“ (Social Work, founded in 1951) which discusses issues of social order/systems and provides information on fundamentals, model projects, and trends in social work. Since 2003, DZI also publishes an annual almanac (DZI Spenden-Almanach) covering donation issues, including extensive information on charities with DZI-Seal, discussions of current topics and research in the non-profit sector, financial statistics, and helpful hints for donors.

DZI has 20 employees. It is financed by public subsidies (45%) and own income (55%). Following the statutes of the foundation, the managing Board consists of five persons who have been selected by their respective institutions representing the foundation DZI:

  • the Senate of Berlin,
  • the Federal Ministry of Families, Seniors, Women and Youth,
  • the German Association of Chambers of Chamber of Industry and Commerce,
  • the German Association of Cities, and
  • the Free Federal Association for Non-Government Welfare Work (BAGFW)