With all the recent concern about the environment, people want to see their money going to a good cause, but also used to better the planet. There are a myriad of environmental organizations out there, but which is the best one to donate to?
Who’s going to put your money to good use? If you’re considering donating to an environmental organization, but are not sure which one to support, ask yourself these questions:
- What sort of causes do they support? What do you agree with?
- Are they non-profit or governmental? If they’re a governmental organization, then chances are you’re already supporting them by paying taxes. Non-profit organizations are supposed to use their money for their causes and activism.
- How many different ways can you support them? Do they just want money or do they allow you to get involved in the cause?
- What is their reputation? How much do they spend on their foundation and on fundraising? They should spend 80% minimum of their revenue on their causes and they should spend as little as possible on fundraising methods. Organizations do have to spend money to make money, but how much they make through fundraising should be much, much greater than what they spend.
We’ve compiled a list of 5 well-known environmental organizations that do the best job in handling their fundraising and supporting their causes. After all, when you put your money into something, you want it to pay off, and when it comes to the environment, you want to make sure that your personal beliefs and causes are being adequately supported.
1. World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
The World Wildlife Fund is perhaps one of the best-known organizations for the protection of endangered species and their habitats around the world. They have been around for over 45 years and their goal is to conserve 19 of the world’s most important natural places by 2010. They focus on several campaigns to make sure that they are making the biggest impact that they can. Currently, the WWF is urging its members to help lions and snow leopards, choose good wood and save forests, and eat sustainable seafood.
The organization’s financial information is readily available on its website and according to that information, you can be sure that your money is being used wisely. In 2006, WWF got 56% of their revenue from contributions, 20% from government grants and contracts, 18% from in-kind and other earned revenues, and 6% from their network revenues.
That same year, they used 83% of their money on program expenses, 11% on fundraising, and 6% on finance and administration. They boast that 83 cents of every dollar has gone to their conservation programs, which actually is quite impressive.
If you choose to donate to the WWF, you can do so in one of several ways. You can donate through their website worldwildlife.org, join their organization as a member, or adopt an animal through their online adoption center.
You can also choose to be a monthly supporter. In return, the WWF will send you a free gift and put your donation to good use.
2. Greenpeace International
If you haven’t heard of Greenpeace, you must have been living under a rock for the last few years, because the members of this environmental organization have been fighting for the preservation of the earth since 1971.
They pride themselves on their method of “bearing witness” to environmental crimes in a non-violent manner, and although some people find them annoying, they have done a lot of good in the world. They are best known for their protests on ships. They support ocean conservation, climate change prevention, forest preservation, and the protection of endangered species.
On the Greenpeace USA website greenpeace.org, pie charts show that in 2005, their revenue breakdown was as follows: over 64% was used on their campaigns, 23% was used in fundraising costs, approximately 10% was used as grants to their Greenpeace Affiliates, and the rest was used for administration costs. Although the fundraising costs are a little high, it’s obvious that this organization uses most of its money for its cause.
If you want to donate to Greenpeace, you can choose to join the organization as a member or make a donation over their website. You can choose to give monthly or make a one-time donation. Greenpeace also appreciates activism and getting involved, so if you really want to support them, join their next rally!
3. National Geographic Society
National Geographic is well-known for their magazine and for their specials on TV. Through their eyes, we have seen the world in a million different facets, and realized the importance of saving the planet we have.
The organization itself is one of the longest-running in the world – they’ve been around since 1888. They focus on exploration and conservation of forests, oceans, habitats, species and societies. Also, National Geographic has a strong basis in history – they pride themselves on their exploration of ancient civilization and culture.
Donations are shifted to one of five areas in the society – education, research and exploration, conservation, cultures and public outreach. You can choose to donate through the website nationalgeographic.com, buy something at their online store, or order a magazine subscription.
4. Friends of the Earth
Friends of the Earth is one of the largest environmental networks, with over 70 national member groups and 5000 local activist groups on all continents. Friends of the Earth USA has been around since 1969 and has supported campaigns in climate change, forests, fair trade, proper use of taxes, and the banning of genetically-modified organisms. They support biodiversity, environmental rights, and repayment of ecological debt by rich countries to those that they have exploited.
With over €2.8 million in revenue in 2006, Friends of the Earth spent much of that money on specific campaigns and staff and volunteer expenses. They ended the year with a balance of €15,388, which is better than last year, when they had a balance of -€25,091.
They gathered €1.6 million from their membership support fund, and much of that was spent on international representation, communications, publications and translations, and specific campaigns and projects.
If you want to donate to Friends of the Earth, you can do so through their website foei.org or buy something in their online shop. You can also volunteer for any of their causes, because like most organizations, Friends of the Earth relies on their volunteers.
5. National Wildlife Federation
Founded officially in 1937, the National Wildlife Federation strives to protect wildlife at all costs. They protect wolves, salmon, bison, whooping cranes, and more – and they’re always striving to do more. They also have campaigns in global warming and environmental education. In fact, they believe that education is the best way to help the environment – the more you know, the more you can protect the world we live in.
According to the NWF’s website, 85% of donations went to conservation and educational programs, while the other 15% went to supporting services. NWF assures its members and supporters that SmartMoney magazine has ranked them among the USA’s top three conservation groups for effectiveness in their use of their money.
Donations to the NWF can be made through their website nwf.org or through one of their many options, like matching gifts, workplace giving, or memorial donations.