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How your donations can support the world's most effective climate charities.

When we think of actions that improve the environment, we usually think of recycling, driving less, or buying local food. These actions do help a little bit, but we need a systemic change to tackle big global problems like climate change.

What can people like you and I do to create the systemic change we need? Your donations can be the most impactful action you can take to tackle climate change. Based on independent research by charity evaluators, Effective Environmentalism helps you pick the most effective climate charities.

Donating is one of the most impactful things you can do to stop climate change

Research by Founders Pledge shows that effective charities have averted a tonne of CO₂ emissions for less than $10 USD.

When you take existing policies into account, personal donations are among the biggest levers that individuals can have on the climate. They should be a top priority for climate-conscious individuals.

Donating does not negate your personal responsibility to reduce your footprint, but it's a great way to expand your actions.

Effects of donations vs personal actions on carbon emissions.

What makes a charity effective?

Effective charities can make a big dent in (future) emissions with limited resources. Charities that can spend additional funding effectively typically have these three characteristics:

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High-leverage

They focus on tractable, systemic changes with a wide-ranging impact.

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Evidence-based

Independently evaluated to make major important positive changes at scale.

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Neglected

They focus on solutions that get little attention by conventional philanthropy.

We recommend donating to effective charitable funds

Donating to an expert-led fund is typically more effective than directly supporting individual charities.
Expert-led funds have several advantages:

  1. Funds can ensure that effective organisations receive the funding they need when they need it most.

  2. Funds can finance individual projects over organisations, when they deem it more impactful.

  3. Funds can change their recipients when the climate landscape evolves or new evidence emerges.

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Giving Green
Grantmaking Fund

  • Supports climate policy advocacy

  • Advances innovative technologies like geothermal, green shipping, and alternative proteins.

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Founders Pledge
Climate Change Fund

  • Accelerates innovation in neglected technologies

  • Grows effective climate organisations

  • Promotes policy leadership

Donors from the United States, United Kingdom, and the Netherlands can typically donate tax-efficiently via the above links. Additionally, local effective giving funds or programmes may help you free of charge to set up donations and help with topics such as tax efficient giving. Many of the funds below follow the recommendations by Giving Green and/or Founders Pledge.

You can find a more detailed list of effective climate giving organisations and funds, including which charities they support and charity evaluators they consult with, on Airtable.

Some outstanding charities

As evaluated by Giving Green.

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Accelerates the development of next-generation geothermal energy

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Makes alternative proteins like plant-based and cultivated meat no longer alternative

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Works to decarbonize aviation and maritime shipping

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Supports safer, cheaper, and more versatile forms of nuclear energy

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Campaigns to decarbonize heavy industries like steel and cement

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Speeds up the growth of low-carbon technologies

  • Does it matter which charity or fund I donate to?
    Many people think that charities only marginally differ in effectiveness, and so it doesn't really matter which charity you give to. To the contrary, experts expect that some charities are up to 100 times more effective than the average. There are even some well-intentioned projects that have a negative impact. By donating to charities that have independently been evaluated to be among the most cost-effective climate charities, you can get more "bang for your buck".
  • Why aren't there any big, well-known charities in this list?
    The notoriety or size of the charity does not say much about how effective they are. Larger charities often spend more money on marketing and external fundraising contractors than smaller charities. Larger charities are also often already well-funded and work on climate solutions that are less neglected. Smaller charities usually have a larger capacity to absorb new funding: small donations may allow them to expand their programmes or team substantially.
  • Are cost-effective charities selected based on having low overhead costs?
    Low overhead costs don't tell the full story of cost-effectiveness. Charities that have low overhead costs may not be more cost-effective. To work as effectively as possible on their goals, organisations need to be well-governed and well-organised. This requires talented professionals and experienced management with a suitable salary, just like in regular firms. Charity evaluators measure the impact of your donations on environmental improvement, not the percentage of your donations spent on programmatic activities.
  • Do my individual donations really matter?
    An individual donation can make a big difference. The charities recommended on this page and by the charity evaluators we follow are usually neglected by conventional climate philanthropy. Because of the law of diminishing returns, a little bit of extra funding can go a long way in expanding their programmes, hiring new staff, or upskilling their current team.
  • Should I give regularly recurring donations or one-off donations?
    We generally recommend recurring donations if you're able to. Recurring donations allows charitable funds and charities to more accurately predict future donations, which helps them plan activities or grants. Having money available throughout the year helps charities respond to new opportunities more flexibly. You may also find it easier to commit to your donation targets if you donate more regularly and automatically. One-off donations may be more suitable for you if you receive yearly bonuses (but are unsure about how much you'll be able to donate), when you're donating an inheritance, or have won the lottery.
  • How can I donate large amounts?
    For larger gifts, it's generally advisable to first contact the Giving Green Fund or Founders Pledge directly to minimize processing fees and maximise the impact of your gift.
  • Should I donate to local non-profits?
    Think global, act global. Global environmental change needs systemic solutions. Your donations can travel where-ever in the world they can make the biggest difference, which are not necessarily charities in your community.
  • Can I add a charity to this list?
    The charities on this page have been independently evaluated to have high expected cost-effectiveness. Effective Environmentalism does not vet this list, but follows the independent charity evaluators Giving Green and Founders Pledge.
  • Can I donate to Effective Environmentalism?
    We're currently not accepting donations as we're not yet registered as a charity. If you're a grantmaker or larger donor and would like to help us turn this initiative into a well-funded and staffed organisation, please get in touch. We can use funding for paid employment and overhead costs like email and hosting.
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