The financial stabilization and consolidation measures introduced and implemented last year at HEKS/EPER have proven effective. Overall 2019 income admittedly fell short of expectations in a still difficult environment. It did simultaneously register an increase of 2.23 million francs over the prior year, however, to stand at 68.4 million francs.
In 2019 HEKS/EPER supported 248 projects worth CHF 63.3 million in Switzerland and in 32 countries around the world. This effectively enhanced the life circumstances of almost a million people. Nationally, a total of CHF 18.4 million was spent on social integration projects, and HEKS/EPER provided legal advice and advocacy for asylum seekers and socially disadvantaged people to the tune of CHF 8.5 million.
Spending on development cooperation projects in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America amounted to CHF 15.3 million, while CHF 11.1 million went to humanitarian aid for victims of war and natural disasters. Another CHF 2.4 million was invested in church cooperation in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
HEKS/EPER introduced a comprehensive package of measures in response to a difficult year 2018, when receipts from donations contracted significantly and consequently necessitated a drawdown on the capital fund. And, in combination with measures to cut staff and administrative costs, targeted focusing in the national and international project portfolio has borne fruit. Overall revenue amounted to CHF 68.4 million (2018: CHF 66.2 million), which was in fact below the envisaged target. At the same time, however, spending could be reduced to about CHF 73.8 million, representing a CHF 1.2 million cut-back on the prior year. Another drawdown on the fund capital was therefore unavoidable, but the amount could be substantially reduced from CHF 7.7 million in 2018 to just under CHF 3.3 million.
Higher revenue from services in Switzerland
One welcome development was the appreciably higher income from services provided in Switzerland, thanks mostly to the new mandate to provide legal representation in the two federal asylum centres in North-western and Eastern Switzerland. Income from work in Switzerland totalled CHF 31.1 million or 45% of overall revenue. Of that amount, CHF 1.1 million came from donations and bequests by private persons, CHF 2.1 million were donations and contributions from church sources. International work accounted for CHF 25.7 million of overall income, with the share of private donations and bequests being CHF 3.2 million and that of donations and contributions from church circles CHF 5.5 billion.
Lower administrative costs
The share of administrative costs in overall expenditure was CHF 10.6 million or 14.4% (2018: CHF 10.8 million). This places HEKS/EPER below the average for Zewo-certified non-profit organizations (21%). The staff complement at the end of December 2019 was just under 246 full-time equivalents (2018 figure: 227). Remuneration to the management amounted to CHF 158,000. (2018: CHF 176,000).
The goal of stabilizing and consolidating the financial situation was largely accomplished. Against the backdrop of the corona pandemic, however, it is hard to make forecasts for the current year. In addition to managing the economic fallout from the pandemic the full extent of which cannot yet be foreseen, HEKS/EPER must also grapple with other major challenges in its efforts to restore a balanced and positive budget situation. These include general conditions such as economic pressure in a highly competitive field, or the new orientation of development cooperation decided by the Federal Council.