Swiss Philanthropy Foundation and the Organization of the Swiss Abroad (OSA), SwissCommunity commissioned gfs.bern to conduct a survey to better understand the generosity of Swiss abroad. The focus was on individual values and the link with Switzerland, but also on giving behaviors and motivations.
The 2019 federal elections and subsequent analyses have shown that the voting behavior of Swissabroad goes beyond the left-right divide and is based more on a deep attachment to Switzerland, nurtured by values, ethics and morals. This observation prompted the two organizations to explore whether the bond between the Swiss abroad and Switzerland also translates into a commitment to the community, through financial donations, in kind, time or knowledge.
A total of 2,583 Swiss∙ses living abroad in 123 countries around the world took part in the survey between June 26 and July 26, 2023.
Inherently generous Swiss∙ses abroad
Almost all Swiss abroad make donations. Only 6% say they have never made a donation in the last three years, and more than half make regular donations. On average, Swiss abroad support one to two organizations a year, to the tune of between 50 and 499 Swiss francs. What’s more, almost three-quarters of them attach great importance to philanthropy. Despite this, only 9% of Swiss abroad have already provided for a gift through a bequest in their will.
Transparency and solidarity, typically Swiss drivers of generosity
The most common motivations for giving are precise knowledge of the purpose and use of the donation, and the fundamental value of solidarity. These are notions found in Swissfundraising and Zewo’s Giving Report 2022 , which analyzes the giving behaviors of the Swiss. Furthermore, one of the factors with the greatest positive impact on the likelihood of making a donation is a strong family philanthropic tradition, and therefore in extenso a link with a Swiss tradition of generosity. The main reason deterring Swiss abroad from making a donation is the lack of certainty that their gift will be put to good use.
Donation themes and destinations
The fight against poverty and social justice, humanitarian measures or development aid are the most frequent concerns of Swiss abroad when it comes to donations. Among recent global crises, the war in Ukraine has mobilized this population the most. Over two-thirds of respondents make donations in their country of residence, while just over 10% make donations in Switzerland.
The survey demonstrated that generosity is a well-established behavior among the Swiss abroad: over 90% of those surveyed are committed to the community by making donations, of which around 10% directly in Switzerland. The generosity of Swiss abroad is guided by the typically Swiss values of solidarity and transparency, and is therefore also a manifestation of their attachment to Switzerland.
About Swiss Philanthropy Foundation: Swiss Philanthropy Foundation is an independent charitable foundation established in 2006. The Foundation’s mission is to support donors through philanthropic funds, a simple, flexible and effective alternative to a traditional foundation. It has hosted some 90 funds and distributes over CHF 35 million annually in Switzerland and worldwide. It is also the Swiss representative of the Transnational Giving Europe network, which facilitates cross-border giving in Europe.
About the Organization of the Swiss Abroad (OSA): SwissCommunity is a private foundation that informs, networks, advises and represents 800,000 Swiss living abroad. It publishes “Swiss Review”, an independent magazine, and organizes the Congress of the Swiss Abroad. The OSA organizes summer and winter camps in Switzerland for young Swiss ∙ ses from abroad aged∙e∙s 15 to 25. The Council of the Swiss Abroad (CSE) is the supreme body of the OSA. It is recognized by the Confederation as the official voice of the Swiss abroad.