Five steps to build resources for climate action

Increased philanthropic investment in climate action is urgent. But it is not just a question of scale, it’s also about strategy and courage.

In 2018, we undertook climate change research, surveying 134 climate-focused community organisations across Australia. This research assessed how resources flow through these organisations, the level of funding and volunteer support dedicated to particular climate-related issues and approaches, and the gaps where funding is needed but not yet forthcoming.

Results of the climate change research

In 2017/18, Australian organisations working on climate change:

Spent a collective total of $50 million

Included 25,000 active volunteers

Employed 284 full time equivalent staff

Building resources for climate action requires philanthropic funders to be generous and take a considered approach to their grantmaking. A funding strategy helps to guide good grantmaking decisions. These steps and associated information resources will help you develop a high impact funding strategy.

The five steps — summary

Step 1: How much can I give and over what time frame?

Acting urgently as a philanthropic funder means giving to your maximum capacity and making timely funding decisions. You can join the growing ranks of funders deliberately spending down to maximise the amount of funds they allocate over the next few years. 

Step 2: What type of emissions will I target?

Your funding strategy should identify the part of the climate change “problem” you want to target with your philanthropy. This means understanding how your philanthropy can change Australia’s energy system and the potential for it to reduce emissions by focusing on an individual sector of the economy.

Step 3: What change-making approach will I target?

Your funding strategy should identify the key approach or approaches you want to support with your philanthropy. We have identified seven key approaches, including communications, advocacy and constituency building, and the potential for philanthropy to build impact. 

Step 4: Which community organisations are aligned with my funding strategy?

When you know what part of the climate problem you want to focus on and the approaches you want to support, you will need to find the right community partners to turn your strategy into climate action.

Step 5: How can I work with other funders to grow the social and economic movement for change?

There are limits to what an individual funder can achieve. But by working with other funders, you can achieve much more. We offer a range of opportunities for collaboration, including a project clearinghouse and networking events. 

Remember, acting sooner with an imperfect funding strategy is better than not acting. You can always refine your strategy over time.


The full guide is in our member’s only section. Find out more about becoming a member or contact us for a conversation.