Swiss dug deep for charity in first pandemic year

The total amount raised last year represents a 10% increase over donations in 2019. © Keystone / Gaetan Bally

Swiss households, businesses, foundations and other institutions donated around CHF2.05 billion ($2.24 billion) to charitable organisations in 2020, helping relief agencies to make up for an income shortfall blamed on the Covid-19 pandemic.

This content was published on August 26, 2021 - 13:45

Every second franc donated came from private households, the Swiss certification authority for charitable organisations (Zewo) said on Thursday. Although there was a dip in large donations, charities were able to mobilise giving through membership fees and small donations.

The total amount raised last year represents a 10% increase over donations in 2019. Businesses, foundations and other institutions gave 16% more than they did the previous year. The public sector’s contribution increased by 4%.

Many charities were forced to scale back their income-generating activities in 2020 because of restrictions introduced to fight the coronavirus, and thus saw their revenues decline by 3%.

Slow digitalisation

Most donations (98%) are still being made by bank transfer or direct debit. Digital payment methods such as credit card, mobile apps or text message grew in 2020, but the sector still has a long way to go to digitalise donations, according to Zewo.

Roughly two-thirds of aid organisations are certified by the authority. The total donation for 2020 was extrapolated from the annual accounts of the 50 largest charities.

Fundraising for Afghanistan

The Swiss Solidarity charity has launched a fundraising campaign to help people impacted by the crisis in Afghanistan.

Money can be donated via the website ( link) or using e-banking services with the IBAN account number CH82 0900 0000 1001 5000 6.

Swiss Solidarity is the humanitarian arm of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, SWI’s parent company. The foundation also cooperates with private companies and media outlets.

End of insertion

Comments under this article have been turned off. You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Share this story

Join the conversation!

With a SWI account, you have the opportunity to contribute on our website.

You can Login or register here.