United Internet for UNICEF

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Focused on Helping Children in Need

Our United Internet for UNICEF foundation has been at the heart of our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities for roughly 15 years. In UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund, we have a globally recognized, experienced, and qualified partner. This organization’s professional approach allows us to enhance the effectiveness of our own activities.

Among other things, UNICEF supports projects that enhance educational opportunities, health, and child protection, improving children’s living conditions worldwide. In addition, it provides humanitarian aid for natural disasters and their protracted long-term consequences.

Our foundation helps raise donations and acquire sustaining sponsors by running appeals for donations on our online platforms. The high visitor frequency enjoyed by our GMX, WEB.DE, and 1&1 portals increases the reach and awareness of these appeals. This broad coverage makes us UNICEF’s largest German corporate partner.

The United Internet Group employs a permanent staff member to centrally manage the foundation’s activities, with the assistance of volunteer colleagues. This staff member works closely together with the foundation’s chair, Tessa Page, with the other members of the foundation board, and with UNICEF. The foundation’s performance is monitored via the regular reports submitted to the Management Board.

How We Help Raise Donations

Once the foundation has decided to launch an appeal for donations to help with current crises or catastrophes, we deploy a variety of instruments to support this goal.

  • An interdisciplinary team of editors, graphic designers, and marketing experts comes together to design appeal mailshots and a range of different news formats. The team members pool their knowledge and skills to draft informative, compelling e-mails and prepare their dispatch. Sending mailshots via our GMX, WEB.DE, and 1&1 online portals, and to IONOS customers allows us to rapidly reach over 30 million people with our call to donate.

  • In addition, we provide free editorial and advertising space on our online portals for donation appeals. Once again, this allows us to react quickly in urgent cases and provide assistance at short notice.

  • Links to the foundation’s home page offer donors rapid, easy payment options.

  • In addition, United Internet pledges additional financial support for selected donation appeals and for attracting sustaining sponsors: the Company’s “Double It” campaigns match donations by private individuals up to a set limit. Thanks to this additional incentive, the foundation was able to recruit roughly 1,600 new sustaining sponsors for UNICEF as a result of its 2020 Christmas mailshot (2019: 1,000; 2018: 539).

The single and regular donations raised via United Internet’s portals can be passed on to UNICEF in full because all foundation staff are either volunteers or are not paid from donations to United Internet for UNICEF.

“I am consistently impressed when I see how much support we receive from our users. The fact that we have already been able to use more than €50 million in donations to fund aid in crisis situations around the world fills me with gratitude. If I were to single out one special moment in my work for United Internet for UNICEF, it would definitely have to be my project trip to Mozambique. I have very vivid memories of how the donations are used in practice – and how grateful the people on the ground are for them. The projects that I got to know there demonstrate how really important the foundation’s work is.”

Thomas Rebbe, Head of Editorial Content, United Internet for UNICEF foundation board member

Nearly 15 Years of Successful Work

The foundation’s appeals in fiscal year 2020 resulted in a further €4.93 million or so being donated to UNICEF (2019: €4.73 million; 2018: €3.65 million)(1). This brings the total volume of donations raised since the foundation was set up in 2006 to over €52.70 million.

(1) Figures for 2018 adjusted.

Total donations per year in € million

In 2020, the foundation’s main focus was on supporting the crisis zones in Yemen and South Sudan. The two countries have been ravaged by conflicts, poverty, floods, and malnutrition. In addition, COVID-19 is making accessing these areas much more difficult. Healthcare systems in vulnerable countries have been overwhelmed by the pandemic. At its height, more than 1.5 billion children around the world could not go to school and there was a real danger that girls in particular would be unable to continue their education, especially in unstable, poverty-stricken countries. This is why United Internet for UNICEF devoted a number of mailings to COVID-19, calling in particular for educational and healthcare programs to be strengthened.

Donations Exceed €50 Million Mark

In 2020, United Internet for UNICEF and UNICEF Germany passed another milestone for children in need: donations of €50 million have been collected since its foundation. This sum was passed on to UNICEF in full, helping innumerable children in need and in crisis situations.

One example of this partnership is the massive wave of donations for emergency aid following cyclones Idai and Kenneth in 2019. This natural disaster hit Mozambique hard – 2.2 million people, including more than one million children, were impacted. The foundation was able to raise €1.2 million for those affected within a very short space of time, making it the first organization in the world whose UNICEF donations reached the country. This was possible thanks to the enormous generosity of users of the GMX, WEB.DE, and 1&1 online portals and of IONOS customers.

Surpassing €50 Million in Donations: An Interview with Tessa Page

Tessa Page co-founded United Internet for UNICEF together with Ralph Dommermuth and is the foundation’s chair. In the following short interview, she gives us insights into the foundation’s work and current projects, and explains what's behind its “Technology supports humanity” slogan.

Ms. Page, what has happened since the foundation was established in 2006 and what are you particularly proud of? Also, what challenges did you and your team face along the way?

We have built a really strong team since we set up the foundation – one in which we all have the same vision and work every day towards achieving the foundation’s goals. We can be extremely proud of having made a real difference to the lives of millions of children. Our work has resulted in tangible, long-term social improvements in the area of medical care, education, protecting children’s rights, freedom from violence and abuse, nutrition, and clean drinking water.

For us at the foundation, defending children’s rights is our top priority and we work tirelessly to protect them. We are one of UNICEF’s leading partners in the world in this sector as well as UNICEF Germany’s largest corporate partner. That's another thing that we’re proud of.

We regularly had to deal with problems along the way – and still do today. These can be minor or fundamental, like those the world is presenting us with at the moment. The COVID-19 pandemic and climate change have led to massive global challenges and hence to new areas of emphasis for our work.

“Technology supports humanity” – what exactly does the foundation’s slogan mean in practice?

We live in an age in which the internet is vital and offers access to a vast range of information. But despite all the news about “flashpoints” it is often difficult for internet users to keep track of the big picture and understand where exactly help is needed most urgently. In addition, they want to be certain that their donations will reach UNICEF in full. E-mail is still our most important communications tool here. Our mailshots allow us to approach donors quickly and effectively with information.

We can reach nearly 35 million people within 48 hours with such e-mails. This speed and reach are critical to be able to help children in need, especially in emergencies. We can provide our users with information about specific projects directly and free of charge, and can raise donations.

The number of humanitarian crises around the world is rising and the donations raised by the foundation are more vital than ever before. What are the projects that United Internet for UNICEF is focusing on?

In the first instance, we always focus on emergencies, because this is where the need is greatest.

For me, education remains the most important issue for donations, since in my opinion it is the key. Many problems in developing and threshold countries would not exist in my opinion if we set more store by education. Educating the children there gives them a tool to ensure and preserve their nations’ future and stability.

One particularly pressing problem that we have been addressing for years is Yemen – a country that has been plunged into humanitarian tragedy by more than five years of ruthless war. Hunger, disease, and poverty are causing unimaginable suffering. And now the COVID-19 pandemic has reached a population that has nothing to fight it with. We raised more than €1.2 million for children in Yemen in 2019 and 2020 alone.

All in all, I am delighted to see and hear about the difference that our donations make to the lives of children and families in need. It is overpowering and extremely touching every time. I hope all our donors realize the difference their contributions really do make and that each and every donation is transformed into a good deed on the ground, and can change a child’s life for the better.