About SOS-Kinderdorf

Website relaunch results in increased traffic and donations for children’s charity



  • SOS Kinderdorf Germany has been actively supporting children’s needs, concerns and rights for nearly 60 years
  • The charity employs around 2,800 people, of whom 130 work in the Munich head office
  • In addition to the core site at www.sos-kinderdorf.de, several microsites and some 50 facility sites for the individual SOS communities have now been launched, each sharing the same design and layout
  • Mobile versions can be managed centrally and tailored to match the consumer device
  • Since the introduction of the CoreMedia system, online donation receipts have risen by 25 percent, with child sponsorships up by as much as 35 percent

SOS-Kinderdorf Germany has been actively supporting children’s needs, concerns and rights for nearly 60 years. The work of the charity focuses on abandoned or neglected young children and disadvantaged families. In Germany there are currently 45 SOS communities: these include Kinderdorfs (children’s villages), parenting and advice centers and educational facilities.

Worldwide, the charity funds a total of 129 Kinderdorfs. The organization employs around 2,800 people, of whom 130 work in the Munich head office. Since the charity relies on donations to carry out its work, providing up-to-date, good-quality information is the key to acquiring donors and supporters.

Increase online reach despite limited resources

SOS-Kinderdorf has run its own website since 1996 and expanded it steadily over the years. In addition to editorial work for the various projects and SOS communities, the sections for donations, child sponsorships and friends of the charity have been consistently enlarged. Here, SOS-Kinderdorf offers a number of plans that are tailored to suit the individual needs of potential supporters of the charity. As the site grew, so too did the number of employees now entrusted with editorial care of the Web presence.

When the organization considered a website relaunch in 2008, it focused on the following main objectives:

  • Attracting new target groups for SOS child sponsorships by improving the charity’s online presence
  • Improving its donation and child sponsorship application handling processes
  • Attracting new donor groups
  • To achieve these objectives, it was agreed that the website design needed to be more modern and emotive, and that the site should be much easier for SOS-Kinderdorf staff to edit.

“The current giving climate is a major challenge for us, since it is becoming increasingly difficult to attract the attention of our supporters,” explains Thomas Laker, Communications Officer at SOS-Kinderdorf. “We felt that a more modern online presence would help us in trying to attract younger donors. By designing the site appropriately, we are hoping to attract the interest of new donors. In addition, our plans for contributing members and sponsors are highly complex, since we offer people a number of ways to support our work. Starting with an option to simply make a single donation, we then move through a range of different levels where donations can be set up. We wanted to ensure that all this complexity was mapped to our new website.”

As a charity, it was also important that the technical implementation for SOS-Kinderdorf should be as cost-effective as possible.

Relaunch website to provide a dynamic online experience

Support for the SOS-Kinderdorf project was provided by digital communication consultants Aperto. For the relaunch and implementation, Aperto brought in its long-standing partner CoreMedia. “Aperto and CoreMedia are both professional and efficient,” comments Thomas Laker. “They not only understood the requirements of our staff who work with the website, but even formed an editorial unit to provide us with active support.”

For the relaunch, SOS-Kinderdorf made fundamental changes to its Web presence. While one focus was the re-design of the site look and feel, another key area was technical implementation of the charity’s newly-defined goals. CoreMedia’s content management system (CMS) played a key role in addressing this latter aspect. The system not only offers functionality for preparing content items individually and for specific target groups, but can also present these as required in a uniform layout — while still ensuring that pages are rendered consistently on mobile consumer devices.

Today, the CoreMedia CMS not only supports the charity’s core website (www.sos-kinderdorf.de), but also serves additional microsites and around 50 facility sites for the individual SOS communities — all in a uniform layout. The CoreMedia CMS also manages the mobile version of the SOS-Kinderdorf site, tailoring content according to the different types of mobile devices accessing the mobile website while still ensuring full central administration.

In addition to conceptual design work, the Web team also focused on optimizing the donation process. For example, the various payment service providers were integrated via appropriate interfaces supported by the CoreMedia system.

CoreMedia CMS enables individual modules to be created and then continuously re-used across a variety of different contexts. With the help of workflow management, SOS-Kinderdorf’s editors are able to work together effectively as a team. In addition, the website editors also found familiarizing themselves with the system much easier. Employees with responsibility for editorial content initially attended a two-day training course on using the content management system and editing system before starting to work with the CoreMedia software.

The project began in September 2008, with the official relaunch following in March 2009. In the future, the charity’s website activities will receive further benefits as CoreMedia continues to develop the system. Because the CMS is able to support future modifications, SOS-Kinderdorf can plan with confidence.

Fifty percent increase in site visitors and a 25 percent increase in donations

Powered by the new CoreMedia CMS, editors at SOS-Kinderdorf were able to complete a wide range of activities in the first six months, composing and creating over 2,000 announcements and 7,000 detail pages, more than 1,100 pages of reports, and over 17,000 images and other documents.

Thanks to the simple, task-oriented usability and an attractive new website design delivered by the CoreMedia CMS, SOS Kinderdorf has managed to increase online donation receipts by 25 percent. For online child sponsor applications, the rate of new sponsors rose by as much as 35 percent. The SOS-Kinderdorf web presence is also increasingly popular, with the number of visits to the website rising by 51 percent.

“We are very satisfied with the project, and the results have already been very encouraging,” said Thomas Laker. “The CoreMedia CMS runs reliably and without downtime. With this relaunch, we have managed to attract interest and donations from new target groups and are enjoying our improved public profile.”