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VI Cases

Enabling Caritas to help more people in need

Supported by 500.000 volunteers, more than 690,000 people work in the 25,064 facilities and services affiliated with Caritas in Germany. Together they help around 13 million people every year. This makes Caritas not only the biggest provider of social services in Germany, but also the largest employer nationwide.

Within the course of its digitalisation strategy, Caritas assessed its counselling activities. Their counsellors were already supported by a web-based tool, allowing people in need of help to contact experts digitally. The tool itself did not meet the latest data security standards and was equipped with a user interface which made it difficult for both people looking for advice and counsellors who wanted to help.

  • 300%
    increase in counselling requests
  • 80.000
    counselling sessions per month

How to make counselling available in rural areas

Especially in rural areas, where the next counseling center can be far away, Caritas wanted to utilise the digital possibilities to connect more people in need with its counselling services. Being driven by their vision of blended counselling – allowing seamless transitions from online and onsite dialogues – Caritas asked us to redesign and rebuilt their digital service. 

We started the project with research on both sides: People in need and counsellors ready to help. We learned that people approaching the counselling centers are often in severe distress. Being depressed, losing a loved one, fighting addiction or facing financial doom, often not being able to express themselves. Counsellors on the other hand have a great responsibility, facing crisis, despair and sometimes life-threatening situations.

We were thrilled when Caritas decided to make the software we developed open source.

Online dialogues made easy for help seekers and counsellors

The interface we developed is based on well-known messenger interaction patterns enriched by pre-formulated conversation starters. These allow us to channel help requests to an appropriate counselling expertise and enable synchronous and asynchronous communication with experts nationwide. An automated routing algorithm ensures that help seekers can connect instantly with the matching expertise. For counsellors we removed all unnecessary clutter and automated documentation obligations. We took great care to protect the highly sensitive dialogues, using a multi-layer security concept including end-to-end encryption and a zero-data-emission paradigm. 

Since starting the renewed service, counselling requests grew by 300% and today the application hosts around 80.000 counselling sessions per month.  

We were thrilled when Caritas decided to make the software we developed open source. We are convinced that many other organisations can benefit from the thoughts and love we put into it.

Sarah Hartmann

Client Partner