DEUTSCHLAND RUNDET AUF: Small Cents. Giant Impact.

not applicable, Germanynot applicable
Project Stage:
$500,000 - $1 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Customers of DEUTSCHLAND RUNDET AUF (DRA) retail partners are given the opportunity to round up their payment to the next 10-cent amount by saying “Aufrunden bitte!” ("Round it up, please!"). Since the launch in 2012 customers have rounded up over 46 million times, thus donating almost 2.2 million Euros. 100% of these micro-donations are used to fund selected projects, which have already helped over 28.000 socially disadvantaged children.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

One oft the greatest social problems in Germany is that 2.5 Mio children are threatend by poverty, lacking chances to fully develop potentials for their future. This is every 5th child. In contrast to well established organisations in Germany, many small ones struggle to raise funds. However the success of fundraising is very rarely linked to their impact. Donors often lack the focus on social impact and a transparent break down of overhead costs when choosing the recipients of their funds.There are also great potentials to develop the philanthropic habits of younger target groups with lower income, stressing the importance of sustainability, promoting micro donations as well as adressing issues with a constructive, positive connotation.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

In order to change the current donation paradigm, DRA created a transparent micro donation system by implementing a rounding up function within cash registries at participating retail companies in Germany. Customers of these partners are given the opportunity to round up their payment to the next 10-cent amount by actively saying “Aufrunden bitte!” ("Round it up, please!"). This enables people from all levels of society to voluntarily donate a maximum of 10 cents per purchase, using the power of "Small Cents. Giant Impact.". Since partner fees from the retailers cover all overhead costs, 100% of the donations go to carefully selected, small yet highly effective organisations which help socially deprived children in Germany.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Social impact: The social project "Klasse2000" has received 264.000€ to promote the importance of a healthy lifestyle to 600 primary school classes. "Eltern-AG" has received 245.000€ to increase educational competences of parents in difficult situations, impacting 1.500 children. Societal impact: Market research shows that DRA is already the German organisation with the highest number of donations in terms of quantity, reaching target groups who have not donated regularly in the past by changing their donation habits/perceptions. Partner development impact:60% of the participating companies have not been socially committed before. Besides training their 300.000 employees, many partners have now greatly enhanced their CSR activities.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Changing donation habits within society: Gaining maximum visibility and trust towards the DRA system by changing the peoples' perception towards the importance of transparency and social impact when choosing the recipients and further promotion of the micro donations principle. Social impact: Boosting donations in order to give chances to as many socially deprived children as possible. System expansion in Germany: Making rounding up possible for every transaction (retailer, etailer, banks, insurances, mobile payments etc.) through push / pull strategies. Spreading worldwide: Interest has been shown from over 16 countries (from to China to Panama). A consecutive launch has already been done in France ( in 2013. Also copycats have emerged in Germany (Kaiser's Tengelmann, German food retailer, and partly at H&M) and Austria (Rewe group, food retailer).

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Micro-donations in general are collected by many organisations (e.g.churches,Unicef etc.), using mostly donation cans at public places or standing next to cash registers in retail chains. However this method has no way to communicate the sum of the donation transparently,furthermore they have quite high administrative costs. Many organisations use part of the donations to cover their overhead costs. Within the DRA system, donations are automatically registered in the cashier and can be transparently traced. The unique way of financing overhead costs with partner fees ensures 100% of the donations to go to those in need. Due to quite low entry barriers, some have tried to copy parts of the system (e.g. Kaisers' Tengelmann, H&M or in Germany, Rewe group in Austria), however due to partially different mechanisms they are not as successful as the original innovator DRA.


(please also see "co-creation model") DRA team: - highly qualified staff - with various professional backgrounds (e.g. marketing, finance, law, PR, linguistics, public / foundation management) at different experience levels - with a strong motivation to drive social change in Germany and innovate the donation system Pro bono Partners: highly professional and well-established companies from various industries and business functions (e.g. media planning, marketing campaigns, social counselling, consulting services, law, finance, controlling, organisational strategy, etc.) Retail partners: - top level management: commitment to ensure a change towards a sustainable CSR from within - marketing/communication/sales divisions: close co-operation to ensure the optimum visibility - CSR division: close co-operation in order to develop/customize their CSR strategy and activities
About the Lead Co-Creation Partners
15 retail partners, 10 competence partners and 14 media partners (see "project summary" "co-creation model")
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Type of organization (e.g. NGO, association, not-for-profit, foundation, social enterprise)

social business

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15 retail partners, 10 competence partners and 14 media partners (see "project summary" "co-creation model")

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Basic Info
Project Starting Year


Primary European Country where this Project is creating social impact

, XX, not applicable

Additional European countries where this Project is creating social impact

not applicable

Select the category that best fits the type of your project:

New products & services: Entries in this category develop and offer essentials product and services that address needs currently unmet.

What awards or honors has the project received?

Ashoka Fellow: Christian Vater 2012, Effi (Social) 2013, Short listed for PR Report Awards 2014

Project Summary
Co-Creation Model: Tell us about your main strategic partners and how the partnership truly create value. For each Partner please include its type (business/social/public), its name, a short description, its key motivation to participate in the co-creation project, and the key contributions it is making in the co-creation project. Please follow the format displayed below:


BabyOne, bonprix, dodenhof, Jochen Schweizer, Kaufland, KiK, Netto Marken-Discount, Peek&Cloppenburg KG Hamburg, PENNY, POCO Einrichtungsmärkte, Reno, SportScheck, toom Baumarkt, WITT WEIDEN, WMF

type of partner: business

short description: 15 retail chains with a total revenue of about €34 billion (equaling about 8% market share) in 12.000 stores with 40.000 cashpoints in Germany

key motivation:
- developing / defining / expanding their corporate social responsibility activities
- ensuring a transparent and reliable transfer of donations to carefully selected and strictly monitored social projects
- contributing to a network of retail businesses with similar goals in order to create maximum visibility in the German market
- creating a unique customer bonding by strengthening customer loyalty and trust by solving social problems together and enabling their customers to donate small amounts, making sure that everyone can participate

key contributions:
- integrating the rounding-up function into their cashier systems and special monitoring features
- various marketing activities in stores, at cash points, in customer and employee media (offline and online)
- funding the DEUTSCHLAND RUNDET AUF organisation (employees, rent, marketing activities, …) through their annual partner fees

MEDIA PARTNERS (14, pro bono):
Constantin Sport Marketing, DMAX, El Cartel Media, Gruner+Jahr, Hubert Burda Media, Mediengruppe Klambt, myvideo, RMS; SevenOne Media, sky, Spiegel Gruppe, Ströer out of home media, Ströer interactive, Tele5

type of partner: business

short description: media planning, media space exhibition for campaigns

key motivation: supporting DEUTSCHLAND RUNDET AUF in order to maximize media awareness for the donation system

key contributions: providing pro bono media space in TV, radio, online, out of home, print

= name (business type, short description): Active Philanthropy (social, philanthropic and donation counseling), Alpers & Wessel (business, corporate law), Deloitte (business, corporate law and finance / consulting), Handelsverband Deutschland (HDE) (business, German networking organisation for retail), OC&C Strategy Consultants (business, organisational growth / optimization / internationalisation), Omnicom Media Group Germany (business, media planning and media space exhibition for campaigns), PHINEO (social, social counseling and analysis), White & Case LLP (business, legal advice), Young & Rubicam (creative and marketing agency), Reineke Partner (business, PR and marketing)

key motivation: being part of a unique network which supports and contributes to the innovative donation system of DEUTSCHLAND RUNDET AUF

key contributions: supporting / taking over important business functions, advising and counseling

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact. Please specify using qualitative and quantitative data (e.g. # of indirect and direct beneficiaries); help us understand how this solution truly makes a difference.

Financial impact: From Mar. 2012 until Feb. 2014, customers have said the two words "Aufrunden bitte!" over 46 Mio. times, donating almost 2.2 Mio. €. From the 1st to the 2nd year, donations have overall increased by 18%, projecting a steady future growth.

Social impact: With the donations, 8 social projects have already received 200.000-300.000 €, giving 28.950 socially deprived children a chance for a better future. 6 new projects are already selected for 2014/15.

Societal impact: A brand awareness of 58% and brand reliability of 76% indicate the customers trust and affinity towards the system, presumably growing over time due to further promotion (supported by media partners) and a higher awareness towards transparency/impact issues.

Partner development impact:
All partners have trained their employees (about 300.000) and are now actively expanding their CSR activities.

Funding: How is your project financial supported? [select all that apply]

Individuals, Businesses, Loans.

Sustainability Plan: Has your project already reached financial sustainability? If not, what is this solutio’s plan to ensure financial sustainability? Do the main partners have enough stake to sustain the solution? If this project requires limited budget, how will other resources be secured to maintain or grow this work?

Currently, DEUTSCHLAND RUNDET AUF is a self-sustaining model, since most overhead and organisational costs are covered by the participating companies. Retail partners pay between 2.000 and 100.000 € each year depending on their total revenue, media partners provide pro bono media space for marketing campaigns, competence partners support DEUTSCHLAND RUNDET AUF pro bono in different business functions.
For the start, loans have also been taken up.

Within medium term the most important strategic goal is to win over more retail partners to increase partner fees and pay back the loans.
The break even is planned by the end of 2015.

Founding Story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the Partners to get started and/or to see the potential for this to succeed.

When Christian Vater (a former music manager) learned about the high number of socially deprived children in Germany, he realized that also such a well-developed country needed important changes. He became very enthusiastic about the idea of a micro-donation system, realizing that it had the potential not only to raise money and start easy giving in Germany, but also to promote small social organisations ("hidden champions") and create a focus on impact giving in the country.
A micro-donation system can only work effectively when many people and parties participate in it, which is quite contrary to the competitive retail industry. It took about 3 years to convince enough partners that the DRA system can include competitive companies which drive social change together, thus changing the CSR perspective completely and overcoming several barriers from the inside.

About the Co-Creation
Barriers: What main barriers may you have encountered to co-create during the creation and implementation of the project and how did you try to overcome them?

- changing the perception of the retail sector from competing against each other towards a joined CSR approach
+ creating a donation system which works best when everyone participates, because the more visible and the bigger the network, the greater the trust and thus the donated amount by the customers

- changing the legal/tax framework in Germany
+ receiving an exceptional permission from the German finance ministry

- changing donation habits and public conception
+ promoting DRA through support of media partners by comprehensive campaigns (= 15.8 Mio € pro bono media volume) using TV, radio, online, print, etc. (= 1.77 BN contacts)
+ explaining the innovative system to everyone, thus also changing their payment habits when shopping
+ introducing donating as fun, easy and possible for everyone (rather than sending donors on a guilt trip or working with bad conscience)

Governance: What is the type of the relationship between the partners? (e.g. joint venture, contractual relationship, joint project...)

- Retail partners: contract
- Media and Competence partners: contract
- Financiers (loans): contract

- independent board of trustees / board of experts: voluntarily
- celebrity brand ambassadors: voluntarily

Interaction model: How is the project a transformative partnership? How is the interaction transforming the partnering organizations and their employees/ leadership in terms of creating a new vision, new management practices, new skills and new organizational structures? Please provide for concrete examples

Both retail and pro bono partners have undergone important transformations since entering the DRA system.
60% of the participating companies have not been socially engaged before. After working intensively together for the past 2-3 years, the value of CSR has increased significantly, spanning the entire organisations from top management through the main divisions down to each employee. Many have included CSR topics and DRA in their customer and employee communication media, including their websites, social media, leaflets, brochures, posters etc. as well as features in nationwide magazines and newspapers.

Concrete examples:
Netto Marken-Discount has started its own CSR division and joined other donation campaigns.
White&Case LLP incorporated general pro bono work as a social strategy in Germany.

How did you find out about this competition?

Ashoka Germany