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Best Climate Change Charities

Best Climate Change Charities

Look through your daily news feed, and you'll find no shortage of stories on climate change -- and its impact on the world. Glaciers are melting at record levels, causing sea levels to rise. Tornadoes are becoming more common, devastating towns and destroying lives. Droughts in East Africa are creating major hunger crises.  

When faced with major stories like these, it's easy to feel powerless against the effects of global warming. Despite this, environmental charities are taking steps around the world to combat climate change. Their efforts help create new regulations for carbon-producing fuels like diesel and methane. They champion carbon removal technologies and emission-free clean energy sources. And they even advocate for reduced livestock consumption to help lower methane emissions and prevent deforestation.

Notably, all these projects are being funded by charitable donations from everyday people like you interested in playing their part to stop climate change and build a sustainable future. And while many of these climate charities are well-funded and supported, many more can still use donations to tackle immediate climate change issues that are still not getting the support they need.

But how do you pick the best organization to give your support to? Likewise, how can those who want to personally combat global warming make an impact that goes beyond monetary donations? In this article, we'll examine some of the top environmental nonprofits and the causes they support. We'll take a look at what your dollars actually do to fight climate change. And we'll list the variety of ways you can support environmental defense beyond contributing to a local nonprofit.  

Choosing Climate Change Charities

When choosing the right climate change charity to support, it's important to take a close look at the charities you'd like to donate to. Some charities focus on advocating for the use of renewable energies and emission-free heat sources that won't contribute to the problems of global warming. Others work with political parties to assist in the creation of laws and regulations for emission-creating fuels like coal, methane, and diesel. Still others concentrate on helping industries go green by adopting more environmentally-friendly ways of conducting their business.

Whatever charity you choose to support, it's important to look at three things concerning the environmental issue the charity targets to ensure you make an impact: importance, tractability, and neglectedness.

Importance

Does the charity you want to support target a climate change issue that drives a big portion of global emissions? Supporting such a nonprofit would help make a bigger environmental impact.

For instance, the charity Good Food Institute, works to promote the consumption of plant-based meat and reduce the need to raise livestock. This is significant since, according to peer-reviewed studies and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, raising animals for meat creates anywhere from 11.1% to 19.6% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions from animal waste, meat production, and other related factors.

Tractability

Is the climate change issue being targeted something we can make progress on now? Luckily, there are plenty of climate change solutions that can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in measurable ways. Charities that help further the creation and implementation of alternative energies like wind and biomass can show the impact of their work by offering statistics on how emissions are dropping and electricity systems like coal plants are being decarbonized.

Neglectedness 

Is the area your charity is targeting already receiving a lot of attention from other nonprofits and change agencies? Or are they targeting places and people that are currently being overlooked by many charities?

According to the ClimateWorks Foundation, over 60% of country or region-specific philanthropic funding for climate action goes to the U.S., Canada, and Europe. This leaves areas like South America and Africa less funded for climate change issues. Finding charities that target these areas can help create a bigger impact in a currently underfunded area. 

Assessing a Charity's Transparency

Choosing a charity that is upfront about its activities is vital to assess the impact it's making with your donation dollars. Tools like Charity Navigator and GuideStar can help you make an informed nonprofit evaluation when assessing the transparency in charities you decide to support.

Charity Navigator's Protect the Environment List, for instance, offers a selection of curated environmental charities that do everything from promoting conservation to reforestation to supporting environmental research. Charities are selected partly from the impact they make on the environment, based on both publicly-available information and charity-submitted reports. Charity activities are also assessed on how cost-effective they are to ensure they use their resources adequately.

Of course, you'll also want to conduct your own research. This can be done by looking up charities online and reading their GuideStar profiles. GuideStar provides opportunities for nonprofits and charities to explain their programs, mission, and the impact they have on the community. Although not all charities provide detailed profiles, those that do offer a better way for you to make an environmental charity assessment and nonprofit impact review.

Excellent Climate Change Charities

While you won't find any shortage of charities to support in the climate sector, a number of them do stand out. Consider the following top environmental charities and their causes:

Project Drawdown

Project Drawdown is a 501(c)(3) non-partisan nonprofit that partners with philanthropists, policymakers, educators, investors, corporate leaders, change makers, and more to help stop climate change. Their website includes a list of climate solutions that outline what people can do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including producing alternative cement, investing in biomass fuel, carpooling, and recycling. In addition, its series of short documentaries, "Drawdown's Neighborhood," highlights what people in cities across the U.S. are doing to stop climate change.

Rainforest Alliance

Rainforest Alliance is an international non-governmental organization that combats climate change by protecting forests and biodiversity while also promoting the human rights of farmers and forest communities. People who donate to this charity can expect to see their dollars go toward improving the lives of farmers and forest communities associated with rain forests. Rainforest Alliance works with farmers, companies, governments, civil society partners, and more to adopt sustainable practices that restore the balance between people and nature.

SolarAid

SolarAid is an international development charity that focuses on combating climate change by making solar lights available to the people in sub-Saharan Africa. Because many of these people use kerosene lamps and paraffin candles that produce toxic fumes which go into the atmosphere, providing solar lights provides an eco-friendly alternative that allows families to study and work after dark while saving money.  

Greenpeace

You've likely heard of Greenpeace, the global campaigning network that advocates for endangered animals and speaks out against environmental abuses. Greenpeace's activities range from conducting climate change research in the Arctic to bringing humanitarian relief to communities affected by environmental disaster to working with authorities to stop illegal fishing operations. The organization has a fleet of ships that patrol the world's oceans, allowing it to conduct research on biodiversity and the negative impact of the fossil fuel industry. Funding for their activities comes from individual donors and foundation grants. In fact, to maintain its independence, Greenpeace does not accept funding from governments or corporations.

WWF

No, it's not the World Wrestling Federation -- this WWF stands for the World Wildlife Fund and has been working to protect animal species and conserve natural resources for over 60 years. Some of their activities include restoring mangrove trees, which store three to four more times more carbon than other rainforest trees, making them an important natural solution in combating climate change. Other projects include promoting ways to grow food with less waste and fewer greenhouse gas emissions as well as protecting freshwater resources and landscapes.  

The Sierra Club

The Sierra Club Foundation funds projects for climate and clean energy, environmental law, and wildlife conservation. In addition, many of its programs support social justice, as racial and economic inequality create environments where pollution and risk exposure increase. People can donate to the Sierra Club in many ways, including individual online donations, vehicle donations, and can even donate stocks, bonds, IRAs, and real estate.   

How Your Donation Impacts the Earth

How exactly are your dollars used to combat climate change? While donations can be used for many things, from creating reports on greenhouse gases to conservation projects to renewable energy advancement projects, it's always rewarding to learn the specific ways your contribution supported climate change initiatives. Following are some real-life examples of how donations made a difference:

Greenpeace Project Successes

According to the Greenpeace International Annual Report 2022, donation-funded projects have led to many tangible resorts. In Australia, Greenpeace Australia Pacific helped run a campaign against AGL Energy, Australia's largest energy generator which creates a great deal of power from burning coal. The campaign, along with negative media attention and a legal case, resulted in four AGL board members (including the CEO) stepping down and the company agreeing to shut down its coal power stations earlier than it planned. 

Clean Transportation for All

The Sierra Club's Clean Transportation for All campaign is a movement to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions produced by vehicles in the process of transporting people and goods. This campaign played a role in passing state laws that provided incentives for the sale of electric vehicles like e-bikes. Some of the laws they supported also require utility companies to invest in electric vehicle charging in an equitable way and make streets safer for pedestrians, making it easier for individuals to ride in zero or lower emission producing vehicles and adopting more environmentally friendly ways of travel.  

Beyond Fundraising: Best Ways to Support Environmental Defense

What if you want to do more for climate change than just donating money to charities and nonprofits? For people who want to take a more hands-on approach to environmental activism, there are a number of volunteer opportunities and advocacy campaigns that could use their help.

Volunteering

Perhaps the most hands-on way to support climate change charities is by volunteering for a nonprofit or charity. These organizations can always use people to provide manpower during fundraising and awareness campaigns. Volunteer activities can include anything from planting trees to organizing recycling drives to performing crowd control at major events. You may also receive training to lobby your government representatives and senators to pass significant bills and laws regarding environmental protection and conservation.

If you have specialized skills in writing, graphic design, or marketing, you could be assigned a significant role in social media marketing campaigns, recruiting events, and letter writing campaigns to the media.  

Sail with Greenpeace

Greenpeace regularly receives applications from people interested in sailing on their ships and working with their crews to further environmental research and take a stand against pollution. If you have experience working on a ship as a captain, doctor, engineer, cook, or deckhand -- and have valid marine qualifications and licenses -- you could be very valuable to this organization. Sailing with Greenpeace also provides opportunities to learn and further existing skills, so applying for a position with them can lead to great personal and professional growth.

Campaign for Environmental Activism

Sometimes the best way to take an active role in environmental activism is to start and run your own advocacy campaign. Many climate change charities, including Greenpeace, support this and encourage individuals to find an environmental issue facing their school, local community, or planet and generate their own awareness campaign to advocate for more responsible environmental stewardship.

If raising funds for these environmental issues sounds like your preferred way of helping, PayBee can help. Our online fundraising platform has helped countless schools, churches, nonprofits, and community organizations run successful galas that have raised thousands of dollars for many worthy causes. Thanks to our user-friendly software, you can now host any type of campaign you like -- from traditional in-person events to hybrid galas to completely virtual fundraisers. This allows you to interact with a very large audience on affordable budgets, enabling anyone to make a strong impact.    

Moving Forward

Climate change continues to be a major issue affecting the planet, making climate change support and eco-consciousness vital to creating a sustainable future. Donating, volunteering, or advocating for a climate change charity are all powerful steps anyone can take in supporting environmental stewardship. And while many climate change charities receive adequate funding and media coverage, many more are dealing with lesser-known climate change issues and could use your support in running or funding important environmental defense projects.

When selecting a climate change charity, be sure to do your homework. Visit their website, read articles on their activities, and see what sites like Charity Navigator and GuideStar have to say about their transparency and environmental impact. Knowing how your donations will ultimately impact the environment is a great motivating factor in supporting charities.

If you'd like to do even more to fund and support climate change charities, consider holding a fundraiser of your own to raise money for eco-activism. This is a great way to not only help support underfunded climate change charities but also raise awareness of their mission in your local community and encourage your supporters to make some sustainable changes in their own lives. Using an online fundraising platform like PayBee can also help you reach supporters not only in your immediate city or state but also across the country and even the world. There's really no better way to unite people around the globe to a common cause, so contact us today and see how we can help!  

FAQs

What makes a climate change charity effective and trustworthy?

Climate change charities that have a focused mission statement to combat environmental issues that are relevant and tractable -- and have an organized plan to address these issues -- are posed to make a measurable and effective change in climate issues. In addition, climate change charities that are upfront and transparent about their activities and can offer clear information about their impact and their use of funds can develop more trusting relationships with their donors and supporters.  

Can small donations to climate change charities really make a difference?

Yes! In fact, some big organizations, like Greenpeace, rely largely on individual donations and refuse to take large amounts of funding from governments and corporations.

Other donors prefer pooling their money in funds like the Giving Green Fund, which doles out the money to charities in need of more funding.

It's also worth noting that many charities help develop and/or support government policies that encourage the creation, promotion, and use of environmentally-friendly devices and practices that go a long way in reducing greenhouse gases. Thus, small donations can help create long-range effects.  

Are there any climate change charities focused specifically on renewable energy?

Many of the climate change charities listed in this article fund programs dealing with renewable energy. In addition, there are groups like Empowered by Light that deal in solar energy projects throughout Africa, Asia, and the Americas by installing solar panels and helping others start their own solar business.  

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Michael Jung

Michael-Jung

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