Thursday, April 13, 2006

Swiss Philanthropy in 2005

It seems that 2005 was a record year for Swiss philanthropy. At least that is the conclusion of research just published by one of Switzerland's leading market and social research institutes (Forschungsinstituts gfs-zurich: http://www.gfs-zh.ch).

Because the website exists only in the German language, and the research (as is often the case in this part of the world) is published only in that language, I provide a summary as well as some reflections below.

According to GFS, 81% of the Swiss population contributed to philanthropic organisations. I am not sure if that makes Switzerland the country with the highest percentage of people giving money for philanthropic purposes, but it must be pretty close to the top.

The total amount given was 1.34 billion Swiss Francs (CHF), outdoing the last record year, 2001, when 990 million CHF were donated.

However, the average gift was a pitiful 562 CHF for the country - up to 763 CHF from 599 CHF in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, as against 261 CHF (up from 199 CHF) in the French-speaking part.

That amounts to just under 50 CHF a month across the whole country, about the same as a main course and drink for two at a cheap restaurant in Switzerland.

Not exactly generous for one of the most wealthy and least-taxed countries in the world.

Among those who give regularly, the second and third most popular objectives were to support children and the disabled but, surprisingly, the number objective was medical research. That money goes of course to medical research companies – and I do not understand why people think it philanthropic to give money to medical research, when that has become entirely a game of investment and returns. Natural catastrophes in the country got twice as much support as international ones.

How do the Swiss decide which philanthropic organisation to support? The most-quoted criteria were: the trustworthiness and professionalism of the organisation, and personal identification with the objects supported by the organisation. Surprisingly, but perhaps instructively, how well-known the organisation is comes in only fourth among the criteria in Switzerland, well below the other criteria.

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1 comment:

Peter Spichiger-Carlsson said...

Not exactly generous for one of the most wealthy and least-taxed countries in the world. So Prabhu Guptara.
Maybe, but I think the Swiss give nearly most of all the countries per capita. One reason is, that the Swiss Government and Parlament are by traditon not very generous because the tradition of the private philantropy. So it gives not realy good reasons to complain and can damage the motivation if you tell the best in class that he is not at all good, not even good looking.
It is also to mention that the European philanthropy is quit different from f.ex. an American one with the personal asking for contributions and the possibility to leave traces (Parts of an university or hospital) in this world and even taxfree. Here the Swiss government could open more possibilites to comply with narcistic needs.
Peter Spichiger-Carlsson