Swiss Volunteering Survey
Since its foundation in 1810, the Swiss Society for the Common Good (SSCG) has encouraged active involvement from Switzerland's civilian population. Since 2001, it has paid particular attention to carrying out research into and promoting voluntary work. The SSCG firmly believes that voluntary work is the glue that holds societies based on solidarity together and that in the long term many vital social services can be guaranteed and financed only through the encouragement of voluntary work.

In the past, the SSCG has promoted voluntary work in the following areas:

  1. Research: 
  • Publishing of the Swiss Volunteering Survey
  • Publication of the "Volunteering" series by Seismo-Verlag 
  • Support for research work 
  • An annual convention on voluntary work and community spirit
  1. Promotional partnerships with third-party projects involving a high level of voluntary work
  2. Cooperation with the Swiss Network for Voluntary Work
  3. Promotion of voluntary work in the SSCG's own programmes and projects
  • Job Caddie: Work integration supervised by voluntary mentors

Unlike most neighbouring countries, Switzerland has no state-supervised volunteering strategy and does not carry out systematic research into voluntary work. The SSCG, therefore, decided in 2002 to conduct a broad-sweeping survey on the status quo of voluntary commitment in Switzerland and thus create a well-documented source of information for research into the country's volunteering efforts. Following studies in 2007, 2010 and 2016, the SSCG plans to carry out a fourth research project into the status of voluntary work in Switzerland and publish it in the Swiss Volunteering Survey 2020. Two-thirds of the questions in the survey will be identical to those of 2007, 2010 and 2016, which should help us to highlight trends in voluntary activity in Switzerland. The remaining questions will serve to provide fresh insights into the issue of voluntary work. The Volunteering Survey is a scientific instrument with a practical orientation and was designed to identify the level of willingness for public commitment and at the same time serve as an indicator of social change. 

The Swiss Volunteering Survey was originally initiated and is maintained by the SSCG and is sponsored by the Migros Cultural Percentage, as well as 30 other partner organizations. It is supported by the Federal Statistical Office and is under the scientific guidance of the Institute of Political Science of the University of Bern.

The Swiss Volunteering Survey project group, under the aegis of the SSCG and its Volunteering Research Committee, is responsible for the operation of the survey. 

The members of the project group are:

  • Jeannette Behringer, Society & Ethics department of the Evangelical Reformed national church of Zurich
  • Sandro Cattacin, Directeur de l'Institut de recherches sociologiques, Université de Genève
  • Peter Farago, former director of FORS, Université de Lausanne
  • Cornelia Hürzeler, Head of the Work and Society Project for the Migros Cultural Percentage 
  • Markus Lamprecht, sociologist, Zurich
  • Lukas Niederberger, General Manager of the SSCG
  • Jacqueline Schön-Bühlmann, Federal Statistical Office, Neuchâtel
  • Emmanuelle Sierro Schenk, founder of Compétences-bénévoles, Nyon

Thirty voluntary organizations, relief organizations, foundations, NGOs, professional associations, companies, communities and cantons are partners of the Swiss Volunteering Survey. They benefit from exclusive information, advance notice of results, individual assessments of survey data relevant to voluntary work in Switzerland and have a say in the key content of future nationwide surveys. 
There are essentially three forms of partnership: partners with a voice, results partners and project partners.

Results partners
- have access to evaluations of survey results tailor-made to the needs of their organization;

- are named in the Volunteering Survey publications;

- have the privilege of receiving documentation for strategic planning in the voluntary work sector;

- receive complimentary invitations to the annual SSCG Impulse event on current issues in Switzerland's common good and voluntary work sector.

The annual fee is between CHF 500 and 1000.

The following organizations are results partners: BASPO (Federal Sports Office, Youth and Sport); Benevol Switzerland; Benevol St. Gallen; Mühlehalde Home for the Blind; Friends' Association for Neighbourhood Help Zurich; Society for the Common Good of the city of Lucerne; canton of Bern (Health and Welfare Office); canton of Schaffhausen (Department of Home Affairs); canton of Uri (Social Affairs Office); canton of Zurich (Public Safety Department); Society for Economy and the Common Good of the canton Bern; Procap; Swiss Employers Association; Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches; and the Swiss Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Partners with a voice
In addition to the benefits of a results partnership, partners with a voice are entitled to a say in the content of a new bulletin. They can approach the research team with their experience and concerns, discuss the questionnaire for the pilot survey and have a say on the topics and questions to be covered in bulletins. The annual fee is CHF 2500.

Partners with a voice are: Swiss Federation of Youth Parliaments; Caritas Switzerland; canton of Zug (Department of Internal Affairs); Pro Infirmis; Pro Juventute; Pro Senectute Switzerland, Raiffeisen Switzerland; Roman Catholic Central Conference; Swiss Red Cross; Association of Swiss Municipalities; Swiss Women's Society for the Common Good, Swiss Syndicate of Youth Associations; city of Zurich (Department of Health and the Environment); and the ZEWO Foundation.

Project partners
The Swiss Volunteering Survey limits the number of project partners to a maximum of three. Migros Cultural Percentage has been a project partner since the first Swiss Volunteering Survey and contributes CHF 100,000 towards each edition of the survey. Project partners have a place in the project group and play an active role in the effective implementation of the survey. There is no upper limit to the level of financial involvement.

If you are interested in a Survey partnership or require further clarification, please contact SSCG management directly: lukas.niederberger@sgg-ssup.ch

The Swiss Volunteering Survey is a reliable source of information about volunteer work in Switzerland. It publishes current figures about the level of commitment in civil society and enables us to make forecasts about future trends. Founded by the Swiss Society for the Common Good (SSCG), the Volunteer Work Bulletin is sponsored by the Migros Culture Percentage and supported by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO). The 2007, 2010 and 2016 editions of the Bulletin were supervised by the Institute of Political Science at the University of Bern. Thirty companies, associations, foundations, relief organizations and state institutions are entitled to become partners of the Volunteer Work Bulletin, receive exclusive evaluations of the data collected and submit specific questions for examination.

You find the data of the Volunteer Survey 2016 at the FORS : forsbase.unil.ch

Further information on the FORS / DARIS - Data and research information services, on the Website forscenter.ch/en/




Fig. 1: Types of voluntary work

Fig. 1a: Volunteers in Switzerland, 2006, 2009 and 2014

Fig. 2: Volunteer work in organizations and associations, 2006, 2009 and 2014

Fig. 3: Volunteer work in organizations and associations, by association type, 2014

Fig. 5: Time given by formal volunteers; 2014

Fig. 6: Formal voluntary work by gender; 2009 and 2014

Fig. 7: Formal voluntary work by age; 2009 and 2014

Fig. 14: Formal voluntary work by place of residence; 2009 and 2014

Fig. 15: Formal voluntary work by language area; 2009 and 2014

Fig. 15a: Informal volunteering, 2006, 2009 and 2014

Fig. 15b: Time given by informal volunteers, 2006, 2009 and 2014

Fig. 18: Informal voluntary work by gender; 2009 and 2014

Fig. 19: Informal voluntary work by age; 2009 and 2014

Fig. 23: Informal voluntary work by place of residence; 2009 and 2014

Fig. 24: Informal voluntary work by language area; 2009 and 2014

Fig. 26: Motivation for volunteering, 2014

Fig. 45: Voluntary work online, by area of activity, 2014

Fig. 45a: Voluntary work online, by place of residence, 2014

Fig. 45b: Voluntary work online, by language area, 2014

Fig. 46: Voluntary work online, by age and gender, 2014


The Volunteer Work Bulletin is a project run by the Swiss Society for the Common Good in partnership with Migros Culture Percentage and with technical support from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).