Frequently asked questions

Here you will find answers to (nearly) all the questions you may have about Swiss Solidarity.

About Swiss Solidarity

We typically launch campaigns in response to natural disasters and major humanitarian crises in Switzerland and abroad. Appeals for donations to be used abroad are subject to certain conditions: the affected country must request international aid; at least three of our partner organisations must be on the ground there to deliver aid; the disaster must be substantial; and the Swiss public must be aware of the situation.

We sometimes also launch campaigns for issues, both in Switzerland and abroad, that require long-term attention, such as homelessness and child relief. This is a decision we take internally.

In Switzerland, we launch appeals for donations in response to natural disasters or to support young people having difficulty integrating socially and professionally, and children subjected to domestic violence.

Our work has three main components: mobilising, implementing and monitoring. We launch appeals for donations in a timely manner following major disasters, crises or conflicts, and we use the money we raise to fund the projects of our partner organisations. By subsequently carrying out assessments at various stages during the projects, we evaluate their quality and ensure that donations are being used effectively.

For more on how we operate, click here.

Our operating costs are met from the interest earned on money that we do not spend immediately, but rather invest carefully. If the interest is not enough to cover these costs, we draw on our reserves. The Foundation Council allows us to put aside as reserves a maximum of 5% of the money raised in major appeals. These are drawn on only if the interest earned from our investments is not enough to cover our operating costs.

Zewo is a specialised Swiss service for charitable organisations engaging in fundraising activities. We do not have the Zewo quality seal for several reasons:

  • We are a foundation, not a relief organisation. Consequently, we do not directly carry out activities on the ground.
  • The Zewo Foundation sets out a specific timetable dictating when organisations, and which ones, may hold fundraising campaigns. Unlike these organisations, we launch appeals for donations immediately following disasters, crises and conflicts—urgent situations require immediate action. Because of how we operate and the fact that we launch fundraising campaigns as soon as a crisis comes to light, we are unable to follow this timetable.
  • Our fundraising methods differ from those of relief organisations. For example, instead of making appeals for donations by post, we do so through our own communication channels and the media outlets of the SRG SSR.

However, other than these aspects, we meet all the other criteria of the Zewo Foundation.

No. Rather, we fund the projects of our Swiss partner organisations, whose teams working directly in affected countries sometimes team up with local partners. All our partner organisations have solid humanitarian relief experience abroad and, to receive funding from us, they must prove that their projects meet precise criteria. We also make regular visits to the affected countries to monitor and assess projects in progress.

While we do not work on the ground in Switzerland either, we do fund projects launched by Swiss organisations in response to natural disasters or in support of disenfranchised young people, child victims of domestic violence, and homeless and marginalised people.

You most certainly can! We currently need volunteers to help out on our National Days of Solidarity, primarily to answer the phone and take pledges from donors. For more on volunteering, click here.

We do not seek in-kind donations. Distributing goods directly to affected countries poses a significant logistical challenge, and it is extremely difficult to guarantee that the different beneficiaries are treated equally. Moreover, this type of aid cannot always be sustained over the long term.

Crises, natural disasters and conflicts require a professional response. We fund the projects of our partner organisations, which adapt their humanitarian response to the needs of the vulnerable populations. Oftentimes, material goods can be purchased locally, which supports the local economy.

Assistance in Switzerland

Has a severe weather event destroyed all your property? Have the costs you still have to bear once your insurance company has settled your claim left you in a difficult financial situation? Under certain conditions, we can help you.

Click here to find out how our assistance works and how to apply for it.

In Switzerland, Swiss Solidarity supports child victims of domestic violence, young people having trouble integrating into society and the job market, and homeless and marginalised people.

We do so via three different permanent funds that are regularly replenished through fundraising campaigns and donations. Applications for support may be submitted only in response to a call for projects. We launch calls for projects at most once a year for each fund.

You can find information on this here.

We consider it important to fund only effective, high-quality projects, in Switzerland and abroad, to ensure that donations are put to the best possible use and that they help those most in need. For aid in Switzerland, we work with a Project Committee made up of recognised experts from relevant fields, who ensure that donations are used judiciously. These experts analyse the projects submitted to us by Swiss organisations in response to our calls for projects and, if a project meets our quality criteria, we may choose to fund it.

We apportion the funds we raise as efficiently as possible, making sure to maintain high quality standards for all aid projects. We verify both how the money is spent and the impact it has.

To cover the costs involved in conducting these quality assurance and monitoring activities, we may deduct up to 5% from the total amount of donations received.

Donating

The simplest option is to donate online. You can also donate using your credit card (VISA, Mastercard, American Express), Postfinance card, TWINT or PayPal.

You can also request that a QR facture be sent to you by post.

On our National Days of Solidarity, you can call us on 0800 87 07 07 to make a pledge, at which point we will send you a payment slip.

For an overview of the different ways to donate (Swiss Solidarity rosebush, Cumulus points and more), click here.

If you donate online, you will automatically receive confirmation of your donation by email.

If you donate CHF 500 or more using a payment slip, we will send you confirmation of your donation by post.

If you do not automatically receive confirmation, you can provide us with the receipt or other proof of money transfer. Simply send us an email or call us on 058 458 12 12 .

Whether an individual or a company, you can organise a fundraiser for a special occasion.

Please contact us using the contact form: select “Other question” and mention that you would like to hold a fundraiser for a special occasion.

If you donate online, you will automatically receive a receipt for your donation by e-mail.
During busy periods on our donation platform, the receipt may take longer to reach you.

If you donate by payment slip or bank transfer, you will receive a donation receipt by post for any amount of CHF 500 or more.

If you have not received a receipt, you can request one by sending us an e-mail or calling +41 58 458 12 12.

Swiss Solidarity safeguards your data. Donor data is processed internally in a strictly confidential manner. Swiss Solidarity does not provide data to any other entity or trade in addresses.

As a recognised foundation working for the public good, we are entitled to receive donations, inheritances and legacies. Donations can be deducted from direct federal tax as well as from cantonal and municipal taxes.

If you have not received a receipt for your donation, you can request one by sending us an email or call us on 058 458 12 12.

We post regularly on our website and social networks (Facebook / Instagram / LinkedIn) about the work we do thanks to your donations. We describe the projects we fund and explain how aid reaches affected populations. Sometimes, television programmes such as Ensemble on RTS feature dedicated reports on our projects.

You can also subscribe to our newsletter to keep up with our latest news.

Last but not least, our annual report contains detailed information on the projects we support and our finances.

Donations not earmarked for a specific campaign are turned over to the current campaign, i.e. where they are most urgently needed.

To offer online payment methods such as credit cards, we are dependent on the corresponding suppliers and service providers. We also pay an account-management fee. On average, these fees amount to 2% of the donation amount. To ensure that the entirety of the donations received can be used to fund our partner NGOs’ aid projects, we have decided to give donors the opportunity to cover these fees. Every donor is free to decide whether to help cover these transaction fees.

How donations are used

In the aftermath of a disaster or humanitarian crisis, we fund the projects of our 25 Swiss partner organisations already working on the ground. This gives us a very good knowledge of the country and its inhabitants.

First, our partner organisations assess the needs of the affected population and implement projects based on their observations.

Then, as the projects are carried out, we conduct quality checks to ensure that the projects are truly benefiting the affected populations.

Basically, for every CHF 100 donated to Swiss Solidarity, at least CHF 95 goes to the partner organizations carrying out the projects. This is because we use our investment income to cover our operating costs and do not need to take a large percentage of your donations.

Our partner organisations send us project proposals during or after our fundraising campaigns. We scrutinise these requests to ensure that donations will fund only those activities that best meet the needs of people facing difficulties.

Our Programmes department first checks whether the applications submitted meet our guidelines, which list our project-funding criteria. The applications are then handed over to the Project Committee for International Aid, which examines the files in detail and makes a recommendation on whether to grant funding. The experts who make up this entity come from a wide range of relevant fields: medicine, child protection, construction, water and hygiene, and business. Finally, the Project Committee’s decision-making subcommittee makes a final funding decision based on the recommendation received.

We support people in need, both in Switzerland and abroad.

All information about our relief operations in Switzerland can be found here.

Private social institutions supporting young people at risk and child victims of domestic violence can consult this page to find out to what extent and how they can apply for funding. We also support assistance for homeless and marginalised people in Switzerland. You can find information on this topic here.

Our partner relief organisations

The trust you place in us by donating commits us to using your money in the most effective and useful way possible for the benefit of victims of disasters or humanitarian crises.

That is why we work with 25 Swiss relief organisations that meet our high quality standards: it enables us to guarantee that your donation will be used responsibly to support those who need it most.

To be accredited by Swiss Solidarity, an organisation must meet the following conditions in particular:

  • Be a Swiss non-profit organisation that has been involved in humanitarian aid or child relief projects for more than three years
  • Have the means to manage projects from Switzerland
  • Have a quality-management process and ensure transparency and accountability
  • Meet ZEWO standards, including the publication of annual accounts in accordance with the accounting standards in effect
  • Organisations wishing to become an accredited Swiss Solidarity partner and receive funds for their projects abroad can find information on our accreditation criteria and the two-stage application process for foreign partners (humanitarian aid and child relief) here.

    Do you have any further questions? Then simply E-mail us or ring us on +41 58 458 12 12 during our office hours: weekdays from 08:30 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. and from 14:00 p.m. to 16:30 p.m.

    If you have any questions or would like to know more about our Foundation, please contact us. We will be happy to answer you.