Trust is essential to charity, so UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein wants to improve trust in its website and data handling through digital certification.

When donating money to charity, trust is key. Trust in the people, the institution, and trust in the processes. Giving donors confidence that their money arrives where it should is the key foundation of charities’ funding. Consequently, it is a massive problem when trust is lost. UNICEF is a prime example.

Different chapters of the organization have been involved in several controversies over the past years. Often, they involved mismanagement of funds and donations. In 1995, in what was called “the worst scandal in its history,” UNICEF disclosed that employees had stolen or mismanaged $10 million in Kenya. In the late 2000s, UNICEF Germany faced accusations of mismanagement, abuse, and waste of funds. More than 5,000 donors withdraw their support at the time, including former German chancellor Angela Merkel. In 2012, UNICEF confirmed fraud in a Pakistan school rehabilitation project, where roughly US$4 million was lost.

Digital Trust Label

Knowing how important trust is, and considering the history of UNICEF, it is a wise idea for UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein to invest in trust-building and transparency. The organization is the first non-profit organization certified by the Digital Trust Label, focusing on more transparency and trust in the donation process. “For UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein, transparency and donor trust are essential,” reads the press release.

Trust becomes even more important in the digital age, where it becomes more and more difficult to understand what exactly happens to data shared on the web. To make users of the website feel secure, UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein have gotten certified by the Digital Trust Label.

“It is a key concern for us that supporters of UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein can rely on their data being handled securely and that our donation process meets the highest standards of digital responsibility,” says Bettina Junker, Executive Director of UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

The Digital Trust Label was launched in January 2022 by the Swiss Digital Initiative and already counts several well-known customers, including Swisscom and Credit Suisse. With wefox, the label was recently able to win over its first company outside of Switzerland.

Doris Leuthard, former Federal Councillor and President of the Swiss Digital Initiative, says, “We are proud to have UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein as the first non-profit organization and wefox as the first European use case for the Digital Trust Label. The market leaders of the future are organizations that live digital responsibility.”

Improving the use of funds transparency

Digital technologies can enhance trust in many ways. For example, if donations and the use of those donations were recorded on a blockchain, donors could always know where the money flows – and charities could always prove how the money has been spent. Digital certifications of third parties are surely a good way to enhance trust in data security. UNICEF could go one step further to enhance trust in donations and payment flows.

Read more here how blockchain could help humanitarian aid.

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