Original language of the article: German

Foundation funding is an important source of finance for projects run by nonprofit organizations. But finding the right grant-making foundation is a hurdle race. Online databases make the job easier. The offerings at a glance.

Author: Bernhard Bircher-Suits, fundcom.ch
First published in "Fundraising-Magazin" in issue 03/2022 (see here).

Anyone wanting money from foundations in Switzerland is spoiled for choice: According to the Swissfoundations association, around half of the 13524 charitable foundations in Switzerland areGrant-making foundations. They provide financial support to projects that correspond to their foundation's purpose. Due to the large number of foundations, finding the right grant-making foundation for the project is often like looking for a needle in a haystack.

When researching, it is important to match the project topic with the foundation's funding purposes. Or explained with an example: Where can I find the right grant-making foundation for a cultural project in Zurich, which has the promotion of culture in the Zurich region as its foundation purpose? If you have a realistic budget and a timetable for your project, you can start looking for suitable Grant-making foundations . But where to find suitable Grant-making foundations ? The problem: There is no online database that coherently contains the data of all existing Grant-making foundations and provides results throughout Switzerland as well as Europe or even worldwide. Therefore, foundation research often takes a lot of time. Online offers facilitate the search.

Regulatory points of contact: ESA Foundation Directory and Zefix Registry.

Foundations under the supervision of the "Eidgenössische Stiftungsaufsicht" (ESA) can be found free of charge in the directory of the Department of the Interior (see: www.edi.admin.ch - "Stiftungsverzeichnis"). The foundations can be filtered by name, purpose or by keywords. The disadvantage: the filter options are rudimentary. The official "Central Company Index"(Zefix) is another free resource in Switzerland for all cantonal commercial register entries. The official portal also offers information on foundations, provided they are entered in the commercial register. The catch: Zefix data is also poorly structured.

Overview provider

Relief organizations prefer Fundraiso.ch and DeinAdieu.ch

But which tools do aid professionals use to search for Grant-making foundations? According to the Donation Report 2021, the online platforms "Fundraiso.ch" and "Deinadieu.ch" are the most important for Swiss aid organizations. Whereby Deinadieu.ch, in contrast to Fundraiso.ch, does not focus on foundation information but on bequests. In third place in the popularity rankings comes the "Stiftungschweiz.ch" offering from Philanthropy Services AG in Basel (see chart & table ). Felizitas Dunekamp is vice president of Swissfundraising and works as a fundraiser with her agency Dunekamp GmbH. She says: "In the agency, we mainly work with Fundraiso and recommend our clients to create a premium account. Occasionally, we also rely on Zefix." Zefix is free, she says, but does not offer any additional features. National and cantonal foundation directories are "never complete." Pietro Tomasini is project management manager at the Zewo-certified Swiss aid organizationInternational Project Aid, a development cooperation organization. He says: "We work exclusively with Fundraiso. This platform offers everything we need. We work a lot with students, who then search for foundations for our joint project. We find that they can handle this tool right away."

A look across the borders shows: In Germany and Austria, there is no national online register for foundations. Nevertheless, such a register is being planned in Germany. Meanwhile, the national platform Stiftungssuche.de of the Association of German Foundations in Berlin, which is partly paid, offers a remedy. In Austria, there is at least the book "Achtung, Stiftung!" with an overview of foundations.

Rainer Jauch, founder of the online platform Fundraiso.ch, says: "The different platforms complement each other quite well and of course compete in certain areas. Overall, fundraisers in Switzerland have an interesting selection of offerings at their disposal, which can also be combined."

Posted in Fundraising, Foundations Switzerland

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