Are you interested in the Zewo quality seal? The Zewo quality seal is awarded to charitable non-profit organizations which are trustworthy, use their donations economically, effectively and for their designated purpose and provide transparent information.
It is a useful guide for individual and institutional donors as well as for the public sector.
To retain the quality seal, organizations have to pass the full assessment for compliance with the Zewo standards.
These standards promote a high level of quality in the charitable sector and help to maintain trust in the sector and maintain generous donation levels.
All advantages at a glance
Organizations with the quality seal can benefit from the following:
- increased trust in the charitable sector and the organization
- awareness and protection of the Zewo quality seal
- inclusion in the database of certified organizations by online search at zewo.ch
- regular news updates on Zewo and its standards
- access to Zewo events at reduced prices
- purchase of Zewo studies and publications at reduced prices
- free advice and recommendations and useful tools
- access to offers by/with third parties on the terms published at zewo.ch
- exclusive advertising opportunities in the fundraising supplement
- Step 1
To apply for the Zewo quality seal, you must meet certain basic requirements. Only then can we check whether your organization complies with the 21 Zewo standards and award it the quality seal. These prerequisites include:
- Carrying out a charitable activity (in the social, humanitarian or socio-cultural sector or the environmental, nature or animal protection sector)
- Present a current tax exemption
- Legal entity based in Switzerland
- Evidence that the organization has been active for 2 years
- Audited annual financial statements in accordance with Swiss GAAP FER 21
Study information and select procedure
- Step 2
If you meet the prerequisites, we recommend that you study the 21 Zewo standards in detail. They contain all the requirements which organizations have to meet. In the Zewo quality seal regulations you will find further provisions relating to the Zewo quality seal. These documents are available at zewo.ch or from Zewo’s administrative office and are mandatory for the assessment.
You can then apply for an initial non-binding assessment by Zewo. Take advantage of this opportunity, especially if you are not sure whether your organization meets the 21 Zewo standards. By studying your basic documentation and in a one-to-one interview, Zewo will assess on a non-binding basis whether or not your organization meets key aspects of the standards. This initial assessment will help you decide whether your organization can pass the full assessment. It will give you an early indication of possible adjustments you can make on important issues and how best to prepare for a successful full assessment. After receiving Zewo’s initial non-binding assessment, you can apply for the full assessment within 12 months. For a non-binding initial assessment, go to Step 3.
If you are certain that your organization meets the 21 Zewo standards, you can also apply directly for a full assessment. Zewo decides whether to start the full assessment process based on the documents submitted or whether to carry out an initial non-binding assessment first. To apply directly, go to step 4.
Apply for an initial non-binding assessment
- Step 3
For an initial assessment to find out whether or not your organization meets key aspects of the standards, contact us or download an application form at zewo.ch. We will discuss the scope of the assessment with you: we will either make a standard assessment or focus on specific questions, where you might wish to clarify your organization’s possible deviations from the standards.
For an initial non-binding assessment, simply submit the following basic documentation of your organization:
- By-laws or statutes / foundation charter
- Tax exemption
- Annual report
- Annual financial statements in accordance with Swiss GAAP FER 21 including auditor’s report
We will examine the submitted documents and invite you to a one-to-one interview at Zewo’s offices. This will allow us to clarify any outstanding questions or uncertainties and discuss already identifiable deviations from the Zewo standards, as well as the necessary adjustments. Once you have received our notification on the initial non-binding assessment in writing, you can apply for the full assessment within 12 months.
Duration and costs
There is a flat fee for an initial non-binding assessment of CHF 500 (excl. VAT). After the documents have been submitted, we normally invite you within thirty days to an interview at the Zewo offices.
Submit complete application for a full assessment
- Step 4
If you believe that your organization meets the requirements or would like to continue the certification procedure after the initial non-binding assessment, you can request the questionnaire for the full assessment or download it at zewo.ch. Your application will be considered following receipt of the fully completed and validly signed questionnaire with all the required documents.
We will then check whether you meet all 21 Zewo standards in full. At a one-to-one interview we will jointly clarify outstanding points and any deviations from the standards. We will record the result in a written assessment report. This will state what steps your organization has to take, if any, in order to fully comply with the Zewo standards, and give you a deadline for implementation. You will have the opportunity to comment on the report. We will then draft the application to Zewo’s Board of Trustees. If all the essential conditions have been implemented, we will request that the quality seal be awarded. If important conditions have not been met, we will unfortunately request that the quality seal not be awarded.
Duration and costs
Generally from 6 to 12 months pass from direct submission of an application until the decision of the Zewo Board. After an initial non-binding assessment, 3 to 9 months pass from application to full assessment.
The costs for certification are based on time spent (CHF 150 per hour) and from experience will be around CHF 5,000 for the first time certification.
When the process starts, you receive an on-account invoice (CHF 2,500 if no initial assessment has been made, CHF 1,500 if initial assessment has been made), followed by an interim invoice with the full assessment report. You receive the final invoice after certification is complete.
Awarding of the quality seal
- Step 5
In response to the office’s application, Zewo’s Board of Trustees decides whether to accept or reject an application. We will inform you of the decision in writing. It may come with:
Conditions: if there are minor problems that can be quickly remedied, the Board of Zewo may approve the application subject to meeting outstanding conditions. In order to retain the right to use the Zewo quality seal, these conditions must be implemented by a specific deadline.
Recommendations: The decision may contain information on desirable improvements.
The right to use the Zewo quality seal is normally limited to five years. In exceptional cases the Board of Zewo may also specify a different validity period. If the quality seal is not awarded, the organization can apply for re-assessment two years after the Board of Trustees’ decision at the earliest.
The minimum annual fee is CHF 500 and the maximum CHF 13,000 (excl. VAT) and comprises a basic amount of CHF 250 and a turnover fee of 0.333% of total income.
A reduced turnover fee of 0.143% applies to homes, schools and workshops.
An annual flat fee of CHF 300 is billed for legally autonomous, regional or themed sections of a national network (sub-organizations) with the Zewo quality seal
- Step 6: Regular monitoring
After certification, your organization must be regularly monitored for compliance with the requirements. This indicates to donors that your organization meets the Zewo standards. This regular monitoring includes:
Annual checks: Your organization sends us the annual report and annual financial statements plus auditor’s report for our inspection. Zewo can ask to view other documents at any time.
Recertification: Your organization is re-assessed every five years. Only organizations which still meet the 21 Zewo standards are allowed to use the Zewo quality seal for five more years. In the event of deviations, the right to use the Zewo quality seal is awarded subject to conditions, which must be met within a specified period. In special cases Zewo may carry out recertification earlier.
Check on conditions: We check that you have complied with any conditions for recertification within the specified period. If we find that you have not complied by the deadline, have repeatedly and seriously breached the Zewo standards or have not or only partially fulfilled your cooperation obligations despite repeated reminders, we initiate withdrawal of the quality seal.
If we find that you have not complied by the deadline, have repeatedly and seriously breached the Zewo standards or have not or only partially fulfilled your cooperation obligations despite repeated reminders, we initiate withdrawal of the quality seal.
Obligation of quality seal holders
You are obliged to comply with the Zewo standards at any time.
You also have a duty of cooperation. You notify us of significant changes (amended by-laws, change of name, merger, outsourcing of tasks, etc.), allow us to inspect relevant documents at any time on special incidences and provide information.
For recertification, you provide us truthfully with the necessary information.
You should ensure the Zewo quality seal is clearly visible on all publications, as this will help to strengthen the Zewo quality seal.
Download PDF checklist
You can download the checklist as PDF file here.