How do we operate?

From donation to aid project, what happens exactly? Find out more how our organization works.

Volunteers take donations pledges over the phone on a fundraising day.

We take action

When there is a major disaster somewhere in the world, along with our partner SRG we launch fundraising appeals and organize national fundraising days.

Emergency aid following the earthquake in Haiti

We make things possible

With the money raised we fund emergency aid and reconstruction projects run by our 24 Swiss partner NGOs.

Taking stock 10 years after the tsunami

We monitor

We monitor the projects regularly in order to ensure that your donations help people in need as effectively as possible.

We take action

Whenever a disaster occurs somewhere in the world, we launch a fundraising appeal for the victims. We do this when the following conditions are met:

  • The extent of the damage and the number of victims are huge
  • The country struck by the disaster requests international aid
  • The Swiss public is informed about the situation via reporting in the media
  • At least three of our partner NGOs are already operating locally

Whenever a disaster occurs somewhere in the world, Swiss Solidarity launches a fundraising appeal for the victims.


Simonetta Sommaruga receives donation pledges via telephone on a national fundraising day.

National fundraising days

Working with the SRG SSR, we launch fundraising appeals and organize national fundraising days to raise money for major disasters.

On national fundraising days we are also supported by our partners including Swisscom, ‘Privatradios pro Glückskette’, and other private media, and hundreds of volunteers man the phones taking down donation pledges.

Whenever we launch an appeal for donations for the victims of major disasters, a huge wave of solidarity sweeps across Switzerland, and the public gives very generously.

How we operate

We make things possible

Once the appeal is over, our partner NGOs 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 in great detail to decide whether we will fund them.

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.

Emergency aid following the hurricane in Haiti

Emergency aid during the climate catastrophe in Ethiopia

Emergency aid and reconstruction

We use about 15 per cent of the donations we receive to fund emergency aid projects. The majority of the funds we raise, about 70 per cent, is used to finance long-term reconstruction projects with a maximum impact, and for projects that enable the local population to recover from the disaster and live independently again as quickly as possible.

We use the remaining 15 per cent to consolidate the project results, round off the projects properly, and hand them over to the local people. After major disasters, the funds raised may be used over several years.

Reconstruction following the earthquake in Haiti

Funding over several years

We don’t spend all the money we raise immediately. When there has been a major disaster, it makes sense to support projects that run for several years, in particular reconstruction projects. Meanwhile, we invest the money raised very carefully, and try to make it work for us.

The interest earned pays our operating costs such as salaries and rent. If it isn’t enough, we pay the operating costs from our reserves or, if absolutely necessary, with a maximum of five per cent of the donations we receive.

More on our finances

A fund for innovation

Our Innovation Fund enables us to finance activities which apply scientific advances to bolster the effectiveness of humanitarian aid. The use of drones to map disaster zones following earthquakes, renewable energy in refugee camps, 3D printers to produce prostheses: just a few examples of the activities Swiss Solidarity’s partner NGOs have already developed.

At the same time, our platform, made up of 15 of our partner NGOs, will foster the exchange of innovation-related best practices.

The fund will be endowed through unallocated funds such as bequests. Innovative projects can also be submitted as part of fundraising campaigns following natural or social disasters, both in Switzerland and abroad. This fund has been active since 8 February 2018.

We monitor

We work with 24 Swiss partner NGOs in order to ensure that your donations are put to the best possible use.

But we don’t just blindly trust these organizations to carry out good work. We monitor the projects on a regular basis, until they are concluded.

Our partner NGOs report to us on their progress or on any problems there might be, and we conduct project visits and evaluate the projects on the ground.

More on monitoring

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