Fundraising and Communication

Raise funds fairly and respect the wishes of donors


Standard 18 | Fundraising campaigns

The organization raises funds fairly and allocates donations to the stated objectives and purposes.

Fundraising organizations respect the fact that donations are voluntary. The decision to donate is not compromised by pressure, unrealistic exaggerations or understatements, distorted content, force, intimidation or by fuelling fears. In particular, this means:

  • One-off donations should not create an obligation to become a member of an organization.
  • A suitable withdrawal period must be allowed for types of support whereby donors commit to specific amounts and time periods.
  • Fundraising campaigns must not send out unordered goods against invoice.

Fundraising organizations respect the wishes of the donors. They clearly explain the purpose of their collections. Donations made for a designated purpose are recorded and shown separately. If an organization wishes to use the collected donations freely in the context of the organization’s purpose, this must be made clear in the fundraising appeal.

Fundraising organizations respect the rights of the individuals they support, especially children, and protect their dignity. Their fundraising does not use materials or methods which undermine this dignity. To protect children, they do not use sponsorship-based advertising, whereby an individual child is selected and the sponsor is asked to contact the child abroad (individual child sponsorship).

Fundraising organizations communicate honestly and clearly. Their fundraising campaigns use verifiable facts and provide correct and detailed information on the costs of fundraising and advertising, as well as administrative expenses.

Fundraising organizations respect the law. They do not accept cash which they have to assume to be the proceeds of criminal activity.

Fundraising organizations protect their independence. They do not accept money which compromises their freedom of decision or freedom of expression.


Standard 19 | Data protection

The organization respects data protection and donor privacy.

Organizations must not sell, lease or exchange collected data and addresses of donors, members, friends and interested parties. They may rent or buy new addresses from address brokers.

Organizations remain subject to data protection regulations at all times; in particular, organizations must respect the wishes of the recipients of their advertising efforts, if the latter prefer to receive fewer or no fundraising appeals.

When initial contact is made, the wishes of individuals who prefer not to be contacted must be respected.

If individuals no longer wish to be contacted or prefer to be contacted less frequently, fundraising organizations must react quickly and without raising obstacles.

In particular, organizations must ensure that fundraising by phone, SMS or email, door-to-door and in public areas is not intrusive and does not make the individual contacted or visited feel compelled to donate. The conversation or visit must be halted immediately if the contacted person makes it clear that they do not wish to continue the conversation.

Fundraising organizations have a clear, visible, easily accessible and up to date data protection statement on their website.



Standard 20 | Fundraising partners

Responsibility for fundraising and communication remains with the organization, even when they collaborate with third parties.

The following rules apply to organizations which collaborate with third parties on fundraising and communication:

  • The charitable organization decides for itself how it wishes to present its activity to the public. Responsibility for a campaign cannot be transferred. The charitable organization is responsible for ensuring that its partners also comply with essential requirements of Zewo concerning fundraising and communication.
  • All relevant data, in particular details of donors‘ addresses, remain the sole property of the charitable organization. They may not be passed on to third parties. This must be explicitly stated in respective agreements.
  • Access rights to the postal or bank accounts used for fundraising must always be held exclusively by the charitable organization.
  • The compensation of mandated fundraisers is based on the work involved. Fundraising organizations do not pay commissions in the form of a percentage of the funds raised. They do not enter into agreements under which third parties retain the donations once the charitable organization’s fundraising target has been reached. If success fees are agreed in connection with large donations, such agreements must be spontaneously disclosed to donors without being asked.
  • The major part of the salary of employees of the partner company must not be performance-related or dependent on success.
  • There is no advance financing by contractors.
  • If contractual partners have access to response data, the external partner must be contractually obliged to process such data only in the context of the order (no marking/“vaccination“).


Standard 21 | Fundraising Calendar

Large organizations coordinate and regulate their fundraising collections according to Zewo’s fundraising calendar.

The provisions of this standard apply to organizations which regularly undertake national or supra-regional* collections and campaigns to gain new donors, benefactors or members, provided they raise more than CHF 5 million in donations**.

Zewo coordinates the data on these collections each year in the Swiss fundraising calendar, which is divided into the following parts:

  • Calendar 1 | International development cooperation
  • Calendar 2 | National area: Health, addiction and disability
  • Calendar 3 | Social and socio-cultural activities in Switzerland and environmental, animal and nature protection
  • Additional dates

Each organization is entitled to a maximum of three fundraising periods per calendar year. Organizations which fundraise across several themed areas may be represented in several parts of the calendar. They are also entitled to a maximum of three dates in total.

Based on the previous year’s dates, Zewo prepares a draft calendar in which it enters a maximum of two dates per organization. Organizations which require a third fundraising date may then apply for a free slot. Each organization is entitled to a maximum of two dates per quarter in the fundraising calendar.

If only a few dates are still free in a quarter in one part of the calendar, organizations which wish to start fundraising in that quarter may apply for a simultaneous fundraising date. By way of exception, four simultaneous fundraising collections are possible.

If an organization does not agree with the allocation, it is possible to swap with another organization by mutual agreement. If agreement cannot be reached, Zewo’s office stipulates the fundraising period, ensuring that the organization can as far as possible keep their customary fundraising date. The organization has 30 days in which to appeal against the office’s decision to the Board of Trustees on the grounds of arbitrariness. Their appeal must be accompanied by a reasoned submission. The decision of Zewo’s Board of Trustees is final.

A fundraising period normally lasts 2 weeks, with the delivery of addressed and unaddressed fundraising appeals scheduled in the second week. Extensions for the sale of badges, stamps or other items are possible for up a maximum of 6 weeks. Free advertising space for fill ads or surplus posters is not recorded in the fundraising calendar.

Advertising without a collection is possible all year round in all media. A fundraising collection is defined as an appeal for direct financial support for the organization or a specific fundraising campaign.

The following collections are possible outside the fundraising calendar:

  • Collections targeted exclusively at the organization‘s members or existing donors.
  • Collection in kind (e.g. waste paper or clothing).
  • Street or door-to-door collections and stall campaigns at up to 10 locations simultaneously.
  • Regional collections with addressed mailings to a maximum of 150,000 new addresses per quarter.
  • One test per quarter with unaddressed mailings to a maximum of 250,000 households or a test with addressed mailings to a maximum of 100,000 new addresses.
  • Collections for disasters in Switzerland and abroad.

* To determine whether a collection is nationwide, the permanent resident population as at 31.12.2011 in Switzerland’s seven main regions as defined by the Swiss Federal Statistics Office (BFS) can be used as a reference point:

1. Lake Geneva region: Cantons of Geneva, Waadt and Wallis 1.5 million
2. Mittelland area: Cantons of Bern, Solothurn, Freiburg, Neuenburg and Jura 1.77 million
3. Northwest Switzerland: Cantons of Basel, Aargau 1.08 million
4. Zurich: Canton of Zurich 1.39 million
5. Eastern Switzerland: Cantons of St.Gallen, Thurgau, Appenzell, Glarus, Schaffhausen, Graubünden 1.11 million
6. Central Switzerland: Cantons of Uri, Schwyz, Obwalden, Nidwalden, Lucerne, Zug 0.76 million
7. Tessin: Canton of Tessin 0.34 million
These areas always include entire cantons and therefore only partially reflect the actual situation. However, they serve as a rough guide. Certain geographic variations are possible.

** According to Zewo donation statistics, the following income is included in donations: individual donations, member and benefactor subscriptions, sponsorships, events, legacies, donations by institutions (e.g. NPOs, companies, churches, cantons, districts) as well as other and non-allocatable donations.
Each individual case is examined as part of the test process.


The 21 Zewo standards came into effect on 1 January 2016.

Charitable Non-Profit Organization with the Zewo quality seal will be assessed for compliance with the 21 Zewo standards using assessment processes due to launch on 1 January 2017, in accordance with the Zewo quality seal regulations.

Charitable Non-Profit Organization without the Zewo quality seal will be assessed for compliance with the 21 Zewo standards from 1 July 2016 in accordance with the Zewo quality seal regulations.