Frequently asked questions

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

About Swiss Solidarity

We usually run a fundraising appeal following a major natural or humanitarian disaster abroad, or a natural disaster in Switzerland. For us to be able to raise funds to provide aid in a foreign country, the country in question must request help from the international community, the disaster must have a widespread impact and we must work with partner relief organizations who can provide aid locally.
We take action, we make things possible and we monitor. This means that we launch appeals in the wake of major disasters, we fund our partner relief organizations’ projects with the money we raise, and we have a strict monitoring system that guarantees the funds are used wisely to provide the best possible help. More information on how we operate can be found 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 a maximum of five per cent of the money raised in major appeals to be put aside as reserves. These are only drawn on if the interest earned from our investments is not enough to cover our operating costs.
We are not certified by Zewo, the Swiss agency for fundraising charitable organizations. There are several reasons for this:
  • We are a foundation and not a charity, so we are not active operationally.
  • Zewo draws up a schedule of which charities can raise funds when. We launch fundraising appeals in the wake of major disasters, so cannot adhere to this schedule.
  • Our fundraising methods differ from those of the other relief organizations. We do not send out appeals for donations to Swiss households by post; instead, we use our own channels and the SRG media.
But we do of course adhere to all the other Zewo standards.

Assistance in Switzerland

If you don't have enough money to pay those unexpected bills, you may be able to get help from our social assistance programme. You can find out if you are eligible for one-off emergency assistance, and how to apply for support here
Has your home or business been destroyed by severe weather? Has the insurance paid out but you still have costs that put you in financial difficulties? Then you may be able to get help from our severe weather assistance programme. You can find out how our severe weather assistance programme operates and how to apply for support here

Donating

The easiest way of donating is online. Alternatively, you can order a payment slip or donate using ou Swiss Solidarity app. An overview of all the ways of donating (including the Swiss Solidarity Rose and Cumulus points) can be found 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.
We are a recognized non-profit organization. We are therefore authorized to collect donations and to receive bequests and endowments. If you donate money to Swiss Solidarity in any form, you can deduct the amount from federal, cantonal and communal taxes. Direct federal tax/strong> Donations made to charitable organizations based in Switzerland are deductible from federal tax (Art. 33, Federal Act on Direct Federal Taxation DFTA). However, total donations made may not exceed 20 per cent of income. For legal entities, non-taxable donations cannot exceed 20 per cent of gross profit (Art. 59 DFTA). Direct cantonal and communal taxes Donations made to charitable organizations based in Switzerland are tax-deductible up to the amount set by cantonal law (Art. 9, Direct Taxation Harmonization Act DTHA). Please refer to the current legal provisions in your canton. If you do not receive confirmation of your donation, please contact us. Simply send us an email or call us on 058 458 12 12.
We provide regular updates about how your donations are used on our website and on our social media channels. We explain which projects are financed with the money and how aid is provided to those in need. You can also subscribe to our e-newsletter to receive more information regularly by email. You will find detailed information about the projects we fund and our finances in our annual report.
Donations which do not specify a particular appeal are put towards the appeal currently running – that is to say, where the money is needed most urgently at the time.

How donations are used

When a disaster occurs, we first and foremost fund the projects run by our 25 Swiss partner relief organizations who have already worked in the disaster-struck region and are therefore very familiar with the country and its people. Our partner relief organizations first establish the precise needs of the local people, and then run their projects to meet these needs. We also conduct regular quality controls to ensure that the money really does reach those who need it.
Basically, of every CHF 100 donated to Swiss Solidarity, CHF 100 is passed on to the partner relief organizations running our projects. Our operating costs are covered as far as possible from the interest from our investments. In years in which the financial markets are weak, we are permitted to use a maximum of 5 per cent of the money we raise to meet our operating costs, but this is rarely necessary. The costs can usually be covered from our reserves, which are formed from investment surpluses and, in exceptional cases, donations. Our partner relief organizations may use a maximum of 10 per cent of their total project costs to meet administrative their costs. At the project site other costs may arise, such as for office space and transport, but in general around 80 out of every 100 francs goes directly to the disaster victims.
Thanks to our long years of experience with disaster relief, we can say that the funds raised following a major disaster are spent as follows:
  • 15% on emergency relief/li>
  • 70% on reconstruction and new sources of income
  • 15% to consolidate project results and hand projects over to the local people
Several years may pass before all the funds are fully spent.
Once an appeal is over, our partner relief organizations submit their project proposals to us. We consider very carefully which projects we fund with your donations, in order to ensure that the people in need get the best possible help. First of all, our project department assesses whether the projects meet our guidelines. In a second step, the Project Committee for International Aid assesses the projects closely to decide whether we will fund them. The Committee is made up of experts from many fields (medicine, child protection, construction, water and hygiene, business). It makes a recommendation about which projects to fund and its decision-making body then makes the final decision. If we decide to fund a project, we cover a maximum of 80 per cent of the total project costs, and the relief organizations may claim 10 per cent maximum in administrative costs.
We provide assistance both abroad and in Switzerland. You can read about the help we provide in Switzerland here. People who have suffered as a result of severe weather or who find themselves in financial difficulties can find out here if they are eligible to apply for assistance, and how.

Our partner relief organizations

When you make a donation, you trust us to use it wisely. We therefore have a responsibility to use your donation as effectively and efficiently as possible to help disaster victims. That is why we work with 25 Swiss partner relief organizations who meet our very high standards. This means we can guarantee that your donation is used wisely and aid is given to the right people.
In order to become a Swiss Solidarity partner relief organization, a relief agency must mainly:
  • be a Swiss aid organization with a charitable function which has carried out projects in humanitarian aid or children’s relief for at least three years
  • be a Swiss organization and run the operations that are to be funded from Switzerland
  • have a quality management system and guarantee transparency and accountability
  • meet the Zewo standards, and in particular publish the annual accounts according to current accounting standards
If your organization meets the accreditation standards, you can send us your application by email.