Insights from our new sector survey show that there is a vital role for philanthropic funding in recognising the importance of environmental action and giving it the stability needed to really make a difference. In this blog, Harriet Williams and Hugh Mehta explore common themes from the What The Green Groups Said survey respondents and what funders can do in response.
Given the urgency of the climate crisis and the shortfall in funding, current and prospective climate funders face extremely challenging decisions to ensure their grantmaking is as impactful as possible. Information on which particular issues, approaches and organisations other funders are supporting, and which are receiving less attention than others, can be very helpful to funders when making difficult grantmaking decisions.
With this in mind, EFN initiated a mapping exercise in 2020 to gather information on climate-related grantmaking from funders that participate in EFN’s Climate Funders Group. This blog summarises our key findings which we hope will be of use to current and potential climate funders.
In the summer of 2020, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation were considering how they could help tackle the climate crisis. They engaged us – Lucent Consultancy – to help with some background research and have graciously agreed that we can share some of our findings and thoughts here. This blog focusses on what we learnt about green funders’ grantmaking, as one of the main – but by no means the only – tools funders use to influence change.
When coronavirus hit, like many other organisations working in the sector, we were determined not to let it stall the momentum for action on climate change that has been built in the last year. We know there is no silver lining to coronavirus. But we also recognise the pandemic represents an utterly unprecedented global ‘moment of change’, in which the regular patterns of hundreds of millions of people’s lives have been forcefully interrupted, not just as individuals but as part of local and global communities. Capturing this moment provides an opportunity to create a domino effect of climate-positive behaviours in communities across the UK, writes Patrik Ewe from Possible.
The need to act on the pandemic has meant new challenges for much of Greenpeace's core work. Our volunteers aren't out on the streets talking to people about environmental issues; politicians and companies are less open to meetings with our campaigners as they struggle with immediate priorities; many events that would usually be crucial to our fundraising have been cancelled or postponed. Meanwhile, governments are injecting trillions into the global economy to keep it afloat. With this unprecedented amount of money available it is our job to ensure that, rather than propping up old industries that are fuelling the climate and nature crisis, governments direct that money towards a greener, more resilient economy that puts people and the planet first.
In a recent EFN survey of 92 chief executives of environmental organisations, nearly half of the respondents indicated that their organisations' funding, strategy or other activities are being constrained by the so-called ‘closing space’ for civil society, here in the UK and in countries spanning the globe. The solutions will likely require groups to work across issue areas. How can funders help?
It troubles me when I hear grant-making colleagues comment that the worst applications they receive are from environmental NGOs. So I thought I’d suggest some tips – Raven’s Rules for Relevant Writing, if you will. I hope you find them useful.
As NGOs, we must frame the environmental challenges of today in such a way that builds coalitions and provides a catalyst for meaningful dialogue and change. A hallmark of success will be the very ability to unify the seemingly disparate causes which affect the grand sum of our environmental condition. Here I am talking about poverty, migration, women’s rights, education, and family planning to name a few.