Aktion Deutschland Hilft, Germany

Aktion Deutschland Hilft

  • Population: 82 million
  • Year of foundation: 2001
  • Staff size: 33
List of members:
  • Action Medeor e.V.
  • ADRA Deutschland e.V.
  • Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund Deutschland e.V.
  • AWO International e.V.
  • CARE Deutschland-Luxemburg e.V.
  • Habitat for Humanity e.V.
  • Help Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe, e.V.
  • Islamic Relief Deutschland e.V.
  • Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe e.V.
  • Malteser Hilfsdienst e.V.
  • World Vision Deutschland e.V.
  • Zentralwohlfahrtsstelle der Juden in Deutschland e.V.
  • Paritätische Wohlfahrtsverband-Gesamtverband e.V.
  • Arche noVa-Initiative für Menschen in Not e.V.
  • BRH Bundesverband Rettungshunde e.V.
  • DEMIRA Deutsche Minenräumer e.V.
  • Freunde der Erziehungskunst Rudolf Steiners e.V.
  • Hammer Forum e.V. Handicap International e.V.
  • HelpAge Deutschland e.V.
  • Kinderhilfswerk Stiftung Global-Care
  • LandsAid e.V. -Verein für Internationale Humanitäre Hilfe
  • Solidäritätsdienst International e.V. (SODI)
  • Terra Tech Förderprojekte e.V.

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Aktion Deutschland Hilft (ADH) was founded in 2001 with the goal of jointly delivering aid more efficiently to victims of large scale disasters. Its first appeal was a national one to support victims of the Elbe flooding in Germany in 2002. Aktion Deutschland Hilft currently consists of 13 member agencies, making it the largest relief alliance in Germany.


Aktion Deutschland Hilft has a permanent structure with clear regulations on projects, fundraising, media and quality assurance.

Funds are allocated through a distribution key based on the capacities of each member organisation and members report their capacities annually to Aktion Deutschland Hilft. Distribution ranges from no less than 2% to a maximum of 33% of joint appeal funding and 1% is reserved for independent evaluation and training. Joint appeals are subject to joint evaluations.

The decision of whether to launch an appeal is discussed by members and decided by the board of directors. Once a joint appeal is launched, member agencies are requested to confirm within 48 hours whether or not they will participate.


A joint appeal usually runs for two weeks, after which it may be prolonged (decided by the board of directors). Aktion Deutschland Hilft contacts the first national public broadcaster (ARD). Depending on the size or magnitude of a disaster, a public broadcaster supports the appeal; charity events may be held, as was the case with the flooding in Germany in 2013, the earthquake in Nepal or the refugee crisis in Europe (2015). There are three ways of reaching out ot the public: appeals in print media, radio and television, emergency mail outs and social media initiatives.

Successes and highlights

The fact that Aktion Deutschland Hilft has been able to provide assistance within Germany has garnered favour with the German public, thus enhancing ADH’s reputation in the field of humanitarian assistance. The main focus of the strategy for 2020 is quality in all relevant sectors, be it in fundraising, be it press relations, be it humanitarian work.


As the trend in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) grows, companies are becoming interested in aligning their strategies with emergencies as well as with Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). Aktion Deutschland Hilft has established a sub working group on CSR with clear ethical guidelines. Partnerships with businesses are recognised by ADH as a growing field.

Challenges and innovations for the future
  • Increasing interest from institutional donors in lowering costs and pooling money for foreign humanitarian aid.
  • Management of cross-sector relationships and new relations with actors from industry.
  • Online presence has become as important as traditional media. ADH is working hard to further explore online possibilities.