Philanthropic funds are scarce; they are also transformative. Right now, they are needed more urgently than ever before to safeguard the Earth’s capacity to sustain life.
The powerhouse behind positive action
In Australia, philanthropic funding to the environment must grow rapidly so that it can fuel the powerhouse behind positive change — the country’s 900-strong network of community organisations.
These organisations are the voice of our natural environment. They can show Australians how to personally contribute to sustainability. They can advocate for better policy and legislation to protect our environment. And they can demonstrate how change can happen — fast. With funding behind them, these organisations can achieve a world where people and nature thrive.
The fuel for transformative change
Funding is critical — without it, we simply cannot achieve the scale and scope of change needed to reverse global warming and protect nature.
Our research shows that environmental charities are a tiny part of the charitable sector by total revenue (revenue from all sources) and by giving revenue (revenue from individual and philanthropic donations). In 2016, environmental charities in Australia only received 2.3 per cent ($187 million) of all charitable sector donations and we estimate that around $34 million of this came from structured giving. Of total revenue for all charities including government grants and fees for service, the environment received just 0.59 per cent or $729 million. Considering the scale and complexity of the environmental challenges we face, this is simply not enough.
We need a new level of investment in practical environmental projects and in the advocacy that underpins them to accelerate the momentum for change.
Time for strategic, super-charged giving
The Environmental Giving Pledge
We are calling all donors to join our community of action and pledge to increase funding to protect the environment between now and 2022.
Launched in 2017, our campaign — The Environmental Giving Pledge — seeks to raise an additional $50 million in five years for the environment. To date, members have contributed or pledged more than $21 million as part of this campaign, aiming to stop land clearing, restore soil health, stop climate change, save the Great Barrier Reef and protect our precious freshwater and sea life. We are well on our way to reaching our goal.
We know that to achieve environmental sustainability, philanthropic funding must be strategic and back the most effective, efficient projects and organisations.
For this to happen, funders need to have the skills and knowledge to best decide how to distribute their funding. They need to understand the priority issues as well as the projects and organisations best placed to tackle these, and how they can collaborate and work with other partners.
In 2018, we invited more than 60 of Australia’s best environmental minds to come together to identify the top priorities for our environment and where increased funding will have the most impact. Our experts told us that to have maximum impact, the philanthropic donor’s best strategy is to fund advocacy to shift policy; communication projects that change the hearts and minds of all Australians; enable a diversity of voices to add their call to action; and catalyse collaborations of activists, sectors, communities and funders.