I think one of the most hands-on ways a person can affect change and support a cause they believe in is by funding it. Giving regularly not only helps protect the causes you care about but it also helps charities plan ahead and make long term investments and improvements that change the world and the lives of people on it.
I donate 1% of my income to causes I believe in, an idea I stole from US environmental charity 1% for The Planet. In November 2019, I actually joined 1% For The Planet as an Individual Member. If you’re looking for some ideas on where you can send your money, this list might be a good start.
I was inspired to write this blog post after watching a video from Dave Erasmus who talks about how the actions we make every day amount not only to the people we become but also the world we want to see. He demonstrates how giving just £1 can quickly turn into a sizeable donation.
The charities I donate monthly to
Cool Earth works alongside rainforest communities to halt deforestation and climate change. They don’t create reserves, buy land, or put up fences, they do it by developing the livelihoods of the people who live near the rainforest, putting it in the hands of the people who rely on it the most.
ClientEarth use the law to tackle the world’s biggest environmental problems and empower people and companies to hold their governments to account to prevent climate change. They focus on changing the system by making sure laws are effective and enforcing them rigorously.
I became enamoured with Greenpeace when they scaled a nearby power station in 2006. They’re on the frontline of the environmental movement in some of the most pressing locations around the world. I appreciate their investigative reporting and disruptive tactics when it comes to standing up for the wellbeing of our planet.
These guys work in some of the toughest places across the globe to deliver three things: clean drinking water, good toilets, and hygiene training. There are a few charities that handle this goal including Water.org and Charity:Water but the trio of water, sanitation and training combined with WaterAid's outreach programme is why I picked them over these other alternatives.
I give in other ways not included in the list too. I have a National Trust membership, a National Art Fund pass, and an annual membership to the Green Party. I buy from cooperatives and social enterprises and even ran my own for a while. I bank and invest money ethically in companies I trust and take steps to provide carbon offsets for waste I can’t manage alone. Those things go beyond simple charitable giving and into the realm of lifestyle activism which is why I haven’t included them in my list above. My logic is that if I get something in return for my donation, it's a purchase rather than philanthropy.
If your interest is piqued, I made a list of the charities and other organisations that I support on Twitter so you can follow their updates. Giving is fluid so I'll also update this article with any changes to my habits as I grow.
Some of these updates are mainly so I can track my own giving but I hope they provide some value to you also. This list does not include smaller spontaneous donations or 'round-ups' at checkouts, where values typically under £1 are donated.
I like Lush's stance in that no money anywhere along their supply chain ends up in the hands of people who stand against their values. That in mind, on August 29th, I donated £12 to WWF's Amazon Emergency appeal to offset all commission earned from a campaign associated with an energy company where oil and gas form part of their portfolio.
On September 21st, I donated to £5 to the World Land Trust's Plant a Tree scheme.
On October 7th, I donated £10 to Extinction Rebellion's Autumn Uprising fund.
On November 5th, I donated $5 USD (£3.87) to the Arbour Day Foundation via #TeamTrees.
On November 28th, I joined 1% For The Planet.
On December 18th, I donated £50 to Cool Earth as part of my 1% For The Planet pledge.
On December 19th, I began carbon offsetting with Offset Earth and asked for Christmas presents in the form of carbon offsets and donations via Offset Earth to the Eden Reforestation Project. Over the festive period, family and friends helped offset two tonnes of CO2 and planted 110 trees.
On December 24th 2019, I made a pledge to plant one tree for every new subscriber to my newsletter for the foreseeable future.
Although I no longer donate to these charities on a regular basis, they're still wonderful organisations that are worthy of note.