Great solidarity in times of Covid-19: HEKS/EPER donation receipts surpass expectations
In times of Covid-19, Swiss Church Aid (HEKS/EPER) has been able to build on the great solidarity of the entire Swiss population. The readiness to help people at home and abroad who are being particularly adversely affected by the consequences of the pandemic is reflected in the gratifying operating income for 2020. Thanks mainly to markedly higher donations, it amounted to CHF 78.8 million, which was roughly CHF 10.4 million more than in 2019. After several years of dwindling receipts or higher expenditure and the corresponding need to draw down on fund reserves, the positive operating outcome as well as the upcoming merger with «Bread for All» set for 2022 are grounds for optimism as regards the challenges to be faced in a highly competitive environment.
The HEKS/EPER 2020 operating income of CHF 78.8 million clearly outstripped expectations (2019: CHF 68.4 million). At the same time, expenditure of CHF 73.2 million was below budget (2019: CHF 73.8 million). After a fund drawdown of about CHF 3.3 million in 2019, it was possible in the year just ended to reallocate CHF 6.2 million to fund capital thanks to the difference between expenditure and income. Total fund capital was therefore CHF 37.7 million at the close of 2020.
In the course of the year 2020, HEKS/EPER implemented 198 projects at home and abroad worth CHF 61.4 million. CHF 12.9 million went to supporting development cooperation projects in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe. HEKS/EPER provided emergency humanitarian aid to the tune of CHF 11.3 million in the wake of droughts and natural disasters as well as in conflict zones. Another CHF 2.1 million was invested in church cooperation in several countries of Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
In Switzerland HEKS/EPER implemented projects worth CHF 27 million: CHF 17.7 million was spent on projects for the integration of socially underprivileged people and CHF 8.9 million on providing legal advice and representation for asylum seekers, recognized refugees as well as socially disadvantaged people.
Despite tougher competition especially as regards international mandates as well as contracts from the Federal Government, cantons and communes, it was still possible to generate positive operating income of CHF 5.6 million. This is attributable chiefly to increased donations from private persons and institutional donors primarily for Covid-19 aid programmes both locally and internationally. Proceeds from donations therefore surpassed those of the prior year by roughly CHF 11.1 million (2019: down CHF 5.5 million).
Receipts from work done in Switzerland amounted to CHF 32.9 million, or 42 per cent of overall income. Cantonal churches, church parishes and other church organizations contributed CHF 11.3 million (14%). The Federal Government, cantons and communes contributed CHF 18.9 million (24%), private persons CHF 16.7 million (21%) and «Swiss Solidarity» CHF 2.5 million (3%). Income from services provided by the five German-speaking HEKS/EPER Regional Offices and the Siège romand made up CHF 17.2 million (22%) of the overall result.
To bring greater focus to the international project portfolio, less funds were invested in projects in Europe in 2020, in particular in Moldova and Romania (minus CHF 1.4 million); the same was true for Latin America (Columbia, Haiti) and Asia (above all Palestine/Israel, minus CHF 1.8 million). The unstable political situation in some project countries as well as difficult operating environments caused by financial restrictions and embargoes also accounted in part for the contraction in expenditure on work abroad. In contrast, altogether CHF 1.5 million more was invested in humanitarian aid projects.
Owing to Covid-19, some programmes in Switzerland witnessed dwindling numbers of participants during the first half of the year, and this in turn meant reduced expenditure compared to the prior year. At the same time, however, specific Covid-19 emergency aid projects could be very quickly developed and implemented. In addition, already established programmes were continuously adapted in response to rapidly evolving needs and challenges.
Administrative costs (CHF 11.8 million) accounted for a 16.1%-share in overall expenditure. HEKS/EPER therefore remains below the average the ZEWO-certified non-profit organisations (21%).
The HEKS/EPER annual and financial reports in turn offer a wealth of interesting information on project work at home and abroad and on the 2020 operating result.