Each year, the German Finance Ministry issues special “plus stamps”, which cost a little extra in addition to the postage fee. The additional amount goes to charitable projects run by different organisations.
“Plus stamps” can be purchased at Deutsche Post branches. Each stamp indicates what type of charity the proceeds go to – social welfare, youth welfare, sports, environmental protection, or promoting philately.
Social welfare stamps
Social welfare stamps were introduced in Germany as early as 1949. In addition, Christmas stamps with a face value of 85+40 cents have been issued every year since 1969. The proceeds from the extra “plus” charge on the social welfare stamps and Christmas stamps support the Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft der Freien Wohlfahrtspflege e.V. (Federal Association of Non-statutory Welfare), an umbrella organisation for several national welfare associations: the Arbeiterwohlfahrt (Workers’ Welfare Association), Caritas, the Paritätischer Gesamtverband (an association of social movements that promote equal opportunity), the German Red Cross, Diakonie (the social welfare organisation of Germany’s Protestant churches), and the Zentralwohlfahrtsstelle der Juden in Deutschland (Central Board of Jewish Welfare in Germany).
Since 1949, over 4bn social welfare stamps and Christmas stamps have been sold, generating proceeds of around €680m for charity. More information on the projects supported with this money can be found here:
www.wohlfahrtsmarken.de (only in German)
Youth welfare stamps
Youth welfare stamps were introduced in 1962. The proceeds from the extra “plus” charge on these stamps are put towards measures promoting the welfare of children and young people. This includes projects such as children’s and youth theatres, renovating residential care facilities for young people, and schemes to educate young people about history and politics. The decision as to which specific projects and schemes receive support is made by the Stiftung Deutsche Jugendmarke e.V. (a foundation that uses stamp proceeds to promote youth welfare projects).
Stiftung Deutsche Jugendmarke e. V. (only in German)
Three “plus stamps” are issued every year in the “Showcasing sports” series. The proceeds from the extra “plus” charge on these stamps are managed by the Stiftung Deutsche Sporthilfe (German Sport Support Foundation) and put towards promoting young sportspeople and elite athletes in Germany. The foundation provides financial and/or non-material support to around 4,000 athletes to help them balance education/work and their sporting activities. For example, the foundation may award scholarships, pay for private lessons or provide assistance to athletes who lose earnings due to training. Sports stamps have been issued since 1968.
Stiftung Deutsche Sporthilfe (only in German)
Environmental protection stamps
Environmental protection stamps have been issued every two years since 1992. The proceeds generated by the extra “plus” charge on these stamps are put towards environmental action. The funds go to the German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection and are used to support national and international environmental projects.
In years where no environmental stamp is issued, a “plus stamp” is issued in support of the Stiftung Philatelie und Postgeschichte (Foundation for Philately and Postal History).
The proceeds from the extra “plus” charge on these stamps are used to help promote stamps as part of Germany’s cultural heritage. Philately stamps have been issued since 1993.
Bund Deutscher Philatelisten e.V. (only in German)
Since 1949, “plus stamps” have raised a total of over €1bn for a range of good causes.
Beneficiaries of the extra “plus” charge
Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft der Freien Wohlfahrtspflege e. V.
Stiftung Deutsche Jugendmarke e. V.
Stiftung Deutsche Sporthilfe
German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection
Stiftung Philatelie und Postgeschichte