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How to Raise Money for Environmental Charities

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GoFundMe Team
|8 min read

Crowdfunding

When it comes to making a global impact, few charitable causes are more worthwhile than those that protect and sustain the planet we call home. In a century, people may look back on the environmental efforts we’re making today as the most important work we could have done in our time.

The pace of climate change is accelerating. Events that once happened on geologic timescales are now happening so quickly that human beings are recognizing them as immediate threats to our personal survival, property, and prosperity.

Crowdfunding for natural disaster relief from hurricanes, floods, and wildfires is becoming more and more common, and people are starting GoFundMe fundraisers to help both people and the planet after such disasters.

If you’re thinking of starting a fundraiser to support environmental charities, January 26th is World Environmental Education Day. It’s a great opportunity to inspire and rally people around environmental causes and climate justice. Of course, given the urgency of addressing climate change, any time of year is the right time to raise money for green charities.

You don’t need permission

Every day, people use our platform to raise money for nonprofit organizations. For example, individuals or groups might run a marathon to raise money for breast cancer research, or endangered species, or other good causes. You might be asking yourself whether you need permission from the charity you’re raising funds for—you don’t. As long as you don’t use any promotional materials that use an organization’s logo, you’re good to go. In your fundraiser description, simply state that all the money you’re raising will be given to the charity. Some campaigns name two or three charities as beneficiaries, and that’s OK too.

How to choose a worthy green charity

Choosing a worthy environmental charity is similar to choosing a worthy charity for any other cause. The organization’s financial transparency is important—supporters should have a clear sense of where their money goes, including how much goes to administrative costs. (Charity Navigator is a great source for such information.) You’ll also want to know how the charity measures its own success and impact, which will help you demonstrate how much impact your own fundraiser might have. Last but not least, a charity’s mission should align with your personal values—so you can be genuinely excited about supporting its work.

With green charities, there are additional factors to consider. The most obvious is the area of climate justice your chosen organization addresses. Is it aiming to solve root causes (energy, consumption, food, transportation, education), address symptoms (refugees, sequestration, flooding, wildfires), or tackle some combination of causes and symptoms? Again, passion for the specific cause can help you sustain your efforts and rally others.

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Kirra – Raleigh Nicaragua 2017

Finding the best environmental charities to donate to

There are hundreds of environmental charities doing amazing work at this very moment. You can seek them out through your own social networks, or on sites including Charity Navigator, Wise Giving Alliance, Philanthropedia, and Idealist. On most of these sites, there are ways to localize your search to find organizations doing work near you.

To get you started, here are some of the more high-profile organizations working for climate justice today:

1. World Wildlife Fund

“For 50 years, WWF has been protecting the future of nature. The world’s leading conservation organization works in 100 countries and is supported by more than five million members globally.”

2. Environmental Defense Fund

“One of the world’s largest environmental organizations, with more than two million members and a staff of 675 scientists, economists, policy experts, and other professionals around the world. We believe prosperity and environmental stewardship must go hand in hand.”

3. Conservation International

“CI is helping to build a healthier, more prosperous, and more productive planet. We do this through science, policy, and partnerships with countries, communities, and companies… Over the years, CI has helped support 1,200 protected areas and interventions across 77 countries, safeguarding more than 601 million hectares of land, marine, and coastal areas.”

4. Audubon Society

“The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation.”

5. Water.org

“We believe water is the way. To break the cycle of poverty. To protect and save lives. To make a bright future possible for all. We’ve empowered more than seven million people with access to safe water and sanitation.”

6. Greenpeace

“Greenpeace is a global, independent campaigning organization that uses peaceful protest and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.”

7. Sierra Club

“Founded by legendary conservationist John Muir in 1892, the Sierra Club is now the nation’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization—with three million members and supporters. Our successes range from protecting millions of acres of wilderness to helping pass the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act.”

8. Sunrise Movement

“Sunrise is a movement to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process. We’re building an army of young people to make climate change an urgent priority across America, end the corrupting influence of fossil fuel executives on our politics, and elect leaders who stand up for the health and well-being of all people.”

9. Monterey Bay Aquarium

“The mission of the nonprofit Monterey Bay Aquarium is to inspire conservation of the ocean.”

10. The Nature Conservancy

“The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. We address the most pressing conservation threats at the largest scale.”

How to raise money for top environmental charities

As the leaders of some nations around the world remain stuck in different stages of denial about climate change, there’s a bottom-up movement of people making a real impact—and crowdfunding is the perfect fit for this grassroots approach.

Raising awareness

If there’s not enough awareness about the cause you want to address, use our suggestions in 15 Simple Ways to Skyrocket Awareness for a Cause, as well as our post on viral fundraising.

Use hashtags

If your campaign coincides with a national awareness campaign, you can use the hashtags associated with that campaign in your posts, and consider adding your own unique hashtag for your campaign. Using tags effectively will help like-minded people find you, support you, and share your campaign.

Leverage social media

If people are already aware of your cause and want to take action, focus on telling your story and showing how much impact supporters will make through their donation. Even if you’re already an ace with social media, take a look at our expert tips for crowdfunding on Facebook and Twitter.

One of the benefits of raising money for a charity is that it gives your campaign instant credibility. You don’t have to spend as much time convincing people that your efforts will make a difference, which frees you up to honestly express your personal connection to the cause and connect with potential supporters emotionally.

Keeping the fun while keeping it real

When you keep the fun in fundraising, it can make for even more success—even when the cause is extremely serious, like climate change. Keeping things fun can take many forms, from a clever fundraiser name to novel fundraising ideas that get people excited about participating.

Examples of green campaigns on GoFundMe

People raise money for charities and environmental causes on GoFundMe every day. Here are a few recent examples.

  1. Forest Friends of Chakchiuma Swamp is a campaign started by local volunteers to preserve and manage a beautiful natural area for the whole community to enjoy.  
  2. The Mejia family started Help Us Bring The Forest Back so they could help recover part of the dry tropical forest, which is one of the most threatened ecosystems in Colombia.
  3. Stephanie started her campaign, Sedna Epic Expedition, so she could conduct critical research in the arctic region.  
  4. Fore the Ocean, by Jack and Alex is a campaign to reduce the number of golf balls that end up in the ocean.
  5. Isabella started her campaign X-ray for Belize Wildlife Clinic so that she and her team could continue medical treatment of their rescued wildlife.
  6. Cedar Cove raised funds for a wildlife preserve so they can continue rescuing animals from the exotic species trade.
  7. Hannah started Gen V Cares Malake Island Relief to raise funds for Conservation International, the world’s largest conservation organization.

Environmental fundraising

When you raise funds for an environmental charity, GoFundMe makes it easy and painless to get the funds directly to the nonprofit of your choice. Our Help Center features helpful information about how Certified Charity campaigns work on GoFundMe. We also offer a wide variety of free resources and fundraising tips to help you every step of the way.

The future is counting on you. There’s no time to wait—start your environmental crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe today.

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GoFundMe Team

About GoFundMe Team

The GoFundMe Team creates fresh content to help answer common fundraising questions and share proven fundraising tips and tricks to help you reach crowdfunding success.

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