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Our 2021 work in the news

We’re grateful to have received so much interest in our 2021 climate charity recommendations. Some excellent articles below, in chronological order, that highlight our work and some of our friends in climate & effective altruism:

For those who are interested in stretching their philanthropic dollars as far as possible, there are a number of charity evaluators that can help. Giving Green evaluates and recommends the most promising environmental charities in terms of their effectiveness in fighting climate change, and so too does Animal Charity Evaluators with regard to animal protection groups. With so few dollars going to charitable causes, it’s crucial that we allocate them wisely.

So where, if you care about the climate, should you donate? Giving Green, a small group of economists, data sciences and climate experts, has ideas. Shaped by the principles of the effective altruism movement, Giving Green recommends three small organizations that work to change US policy: Evergreen Collaborative, the Clean Air Task Force and Carbon180…

Just two years old, Giving Green is a welcome addition to the philanthropy landscape. It is a meta-charity, one of a very few organizations that seek to help donors identify the most effective nonprofits.

Want to fight climate change effectively? Here’s where to donate your money - Sigal Samuel and Muizz Akhtar, Vox: Future Perfect

Important targets for change are ones that drive a big portion of global emissions. Tractable problems are ones where we can actually make progress right now. And neglected problems are ones that aren’t already getting a big influx of cash from other sources like the government or philanthropy, and so could really use money from smaller donors.

Founders Pledge, an organization that guides entrepreneurs committed to donating a portion of their proceeds to effective charities, and Giving Green, a climate charity evaluator, used these same criteria to assess climate organizations. Their research informed much of the list below.

Right off the bat, we’ve got to acknowledge that the vast majority of the changes we need to make go far beyond what you can spend this Christmas. Governments need to set policies and make huge investments to drive the expansion of clean energy, the electrification of cars and buildings, and much more. Big businesses need to take responsibility for their emissions and make the decisions to cut them as fast as possible.

So, give your most committed friends and family a donation in their name to an organization fighting for those systemic changes. You could support the climate fund at The Founders Pledge, which analyzes the work of NGOs and charities to identify the most cost-effective donations. Or you can choose a specific NGO—if you aren’t sure which, consult the guides produced by the non-profit initiative Giving Green.

The Green List Guide to Giving Green - Rose Mary Petrass, The Green List

The gift for someone who doesn’t want anything: give to a cause that you know they care about. Want the biggest bang for your buck? Giving Green has released a list of the top three charities working the hardest to accelerate climate action and make the greatest impact. If you want your donation to go the farthest, donate to one of the following:

Beyond Zero Emissions is an independent think-tank helping emissions-intensive industries and regional communities work towards net zero.

Farmers for Climate Action helps farmers lead climate solutions on-farm.

Original Power builds skills and capacity of Australia’s Indigenous communities to resist fossil fuel developments and support a transition to renewables.

On a dollar-for-dollar basis, where will your money do the most to fight climate change?

The economist Daniel Stein has a clear answer: You should give to groups that lobby for aggressive climate policies. And if you’re an American, he has three such groups in mind: the Evergreen Collaborative, Carbon180, and the Clean Air Task Force.

“If you’re like Joe Schmo, and you’re looking to do something for climate, I think you should give to policy,” Stein told me. “We think it’s something like 10 times more effective to give to policy than to give to one of these projects that are directly doing emissions reductions.”

A Giving Guide - The New York Times: The Morning newsletter

Even if you know you want to donate to charities that focus on climate change, it can be hard to pick which one. Vox compiled a list of what it says are “the most high-impact, cost-effective and evidence-based organizations.”

If you need more, Forbes also has tips and recommends using Giving Green, an organization that “evaluates and recommends the most promising environmental charities in terms of their effectiveness in fighting climate change.”

Give it away now 💸🌪🌎 - Mike Coren, Hothouse Solutions

Everyone agreed on one thing: We need to fund more boring stuff. Planting trees and banning plastic straws feels right. But achieving net-zero emissions means getting laws into the federal registrar (70,392 pages and counting).

Daniel Stein, an economist who runs Giving Green, an evidence-based donor guide, says climate philanthropy can have the greatest impact, dollar for dollar, in the halls of national legislatures and the White House. “The main things you have to do to fight climate change are not sexy,” he said. “It’s coal plant regulation, electric vehicle subsidies, figuring out clean concrete. Systematic stuff.”

Also praising the virtue of tedium is Michael Thomas, the founder of CarbonSwitch, the rare people, he says, who likes to look at IRS tax filings.

“The groups creating a huge amount of impact aren’t getting a lot of money,” he says. “We need to be funding the boring work, we need to get the tedious details right—fund groups that give donors the highest leverage for their money.”

And who’s doing that well? Stein and Thomas both arrived at similar conclusions in their reports: Small, nimble organizations that punch above their weight advancing strategic policies.

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Our 2023 giving season in the news

As our team looks back on our fourth giving season, here's a roundup of some of our recent conversations about effective climate giving: We spoke to Hothouse about the shifts in the climate landscape


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