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  • Writer's pictureBeatrice Schulter

Disappointment: (Almost) no changes in Swiss foundation law

In autumn 2021, the parliamentary initiative on Swiss foundation law was decided. We recall that some of the proposals in this initiative were of great importance for NGOs:

  • A national register for non-profit organisations to provide a simple and transparent overview of all tax-exempt organisations and grant-making foundations.

  • The possibility to compensate board members

These two important points were unfortunately not included in the law by the parliament. It remains practically impossible to pay board members of non-profit organisations with adequate compensation for their increasingly demanding work. Organisations that do pay their board members run the risk of losing their tax exemption.

The longer this goes on, the more of a problem this can become for NGOs, because they are dependent on being professionally managed and accompanied at the strategic level as well. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find competent people who can do this work for free, which in turn places an additional burden on the management of NGOs and is certainly not conducive to their professionalisation and diversification.

At least there is a little extra: Parliament has approved a simplification of amendments to the statutes of foundations: Amendments no longer need to be certified by a notary. This is at least good news for Switzerland's growing foundation landscape: 356 new foundations were established in 2021, as the CEPS, the University of Zurich and Swissfoundations announce in their advance announcement of the Swiss Foundation Report 2021 (available here I from 25 May 2022).

But all in all, the result of this parliamentary initiative is still a bitter disappointment for Swiss non-profit organisations!

For NGOs, this means continuing to look for volunteers for board work at great expense among a limited pool of qualified and motivated professionals.

If you are interested in board work in a non-profit organisation, please contact us! We will be happy to advise you on the expertise and skills needed for board work and put you in touch with interested organisations.

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