How to give

Support projects and causes that make the change

Giving is about connecting to others – it is about being aware of who you are, what you have and the living earth around you. It is sharing because you have something to give + you care about the survival of us and our planet.

But we need to care in a different way. Just responding to emotional asks or giving after the effect, is not the way forward. We cannot wait and just give once the disaster is at our door. We need to support the work that will make the change now.  We have to think beyond our immediate feel good moment from giving, and share what we have, to make the difference – this is when giving becomes ‘action’.  No plastic cutesy cuddly toys, pens or badges, no glossy extravagant events, no flying around the world to support this and that in the name of the environment – give to those aligned with the planet through and through… use what you have wisely and effectively.

It is of note that historically action for the environment has been one of the least supported worldwide – despite increasing knowledge of it being key to our survival.  In practice this means that even where effective work has been carried out there haven’t been the resources to continue, to scale up, to share, to inspire, to invest in future action. Even now environmental organisations are fighting for small amounts of money and donations to exist despite working on the most fundamental issues of our generation – and future generations.

As a starter for your giving:

  • Support action that gets to the root of the problem, the real cause.

Every gift is incredibly valuable so be sure to find out if you’re contributing to what will be effective.  Feel free to say no to one organisation in order to invest in another that is focussed on change. No organisation is the same and some make much more of an impact than others. Look for those that are getting to the root cause and clear about what their catalyst action for change is.

  • Go deeper than just an emotional response and take time to find those lesser known yet addressing core issues such as reduction of consumption, stopping of exploitation, reconnection to our earth, deep sustained change.

There are many catalysts for change that are not always the most obvious yet are key to our planet’s wellbeing.  Give to those driving these catalysts and who are often not popular or invisible to the public. For example, find and give to those pushing for changes in regulations, or driving large-scale strategies, or high risk initiatives such as projects not tried before, start-up organisations, pilots or radical interventions.

  • Back the change-makers (not just a project) – they are experts in their field, support them to do their work.

Donate differently, instead of donating to an organisation, give to an individual. For example, donate to the change-makers themselves – support the person with their work, especially if they are not getting paid or paid very little (which is very common in the environmental area). Support independent journalists and those bringing the reality to the public – it is key to people being aware of what is going on and what it’ll take for change.

  • Give and give again – every dollar, every resource, every bit you can give is critical to our wellbeing and the wellbeing of the planet.

If you have money, time, expertise, tools, spaces or simply love and care… share them with those doing the work on everyone’s behalf.  Look for those taking different approaches – our old ways of working are highly unlikely to achieve the level of change we need now.


Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi engari he toa takitini.

(Māori proverb) I come not with my own strengths but bring with me the gifts, talents, and strengths of my family, tribe, and ancestors.

What can you give?

We all have something to share, but not everyone is in a position to give. Work out what capacity you have, what you can offer and the best way you can share. Consider the options that are relevant to you below and look out for articles that go into more depth on these issues and examples of organisations and projects that can be supported.
Give donations of money, currency, shares, investments

Financial resources are needed in every aspect of environmental change right now. Don’t hesitate to give in every way you can.  

Money.  Giving money as a donation is the most obvious way to give. This can be done directly – in cash, by card, online, or indirectly e.g. raffle ticket, auction bid, marathon runner support. A very direct way that you can give is through your pay packet – this is called different things in different countries e.g. in Aotearoa NZ it is called payroll giving, in the UK it is called giftaid.  There are often incentives and tax benefits from giving this way too. When giving to a charitable environmental organisation a tax rebate/relief may be possible – be sure to claim this so you can give again.

Currency. If someone has been overseas they may have left over currency that can often be put aside and not used. This currency can be given to an environmental group who can then convert for their own use. In some countries there are also organisations that convert this on their behalf, but it is likely they will take a cost for doing so.

Shares. Gifting shares can be a really great way for a business to support the environment.  Whether a start-up or a going concern, gifting shares can help your business align (they’ll also be your shareholder helping you to do so too), it will create a close relationship with a planetary aligned organisation (lots of opportunities to provide more value), and if you do well they will do well – making your success all the sweeter.

Investments. An investment can refer to any asset or item used for generating future income, including bonds, stocks, real estate property, or a business.  Investing in planetary aligned organisations is a great way to support their contribution to environmental change. Look for those really making a difference – addressing the root cause, working with others to make a big impact, accountable to the change. Or take a current investment, reap the gains and either gift it as a donation or reinvest in a planetary aligned organisation.  Or invest for a major environmental value gain, with either limited or no financial return.


Give time + expertise

Giving time and expertise can be incredibly valuable to those doing work for our planet.  Environmental change organisations are often short on people as well as money.

Sometimes this can be for basic work that almost anyone can do e.g. cleaning up a beach or it can be for roles that are time consuming e.g. answering questions, supporting a campaign.  Some roles can require specific skills e.g. administrative skills, social media skills, fundraising skills, event management, environmental science.

The main thing is that if you gift your time, match your time, experience and expertise with the organisation.  If there is not a match, the organisation can end up being worse off as they then have to remedy the situation and find someone else that does fit.

Be honest and open about what you can bring – if it is limited time say so, if your expertise is limited be clear about that, if you are likely to get a job soon or for some reason cannot continue to gift you time – make sure you share this with the organisation.

The rewards can be great. Not only can you contribute to environmental change, the work can help you connect and be more planetary aligned.  It can also help you gain experience in a role that really matters. It can be empowering and provide stepping stones to more planetary aligned roles. It can bring joy and community, incredible experiences, and lifelong memories.

Give office space, event space

Gifting spaces can be incredibly valuable to environmental organisations. This is more likely to be relevant to businesses.  Reducing core/operating costs by providing a place to work from can be critical to helping make a change.

Often when money or funding is given it can be restricted to projects, leaving the burden of rent and related space costs to be found elsewhere – often unrealistically.  Relieving this burden for an organisation can free them up to do what they need to do best – helping our ecosystems and connecting people to planet.

If this isn’t possible there might be opportunities to help an environmental change organisation host meetings or an event. If your business has space that isn’t used all the time offer it up for free – encouraging planetary aligned people into your building or your open areas can bring multiple benefits and opportunities.

Give products, services, tools, tech, equipment

If you are in a business it is quite possible your products or services could be helpful to those taking environmental action.  Whether it’s redress, restoration, protection or nurture, there could be a match with the work they are undertaking and your line of business.

Gifting products or services that are aligned with the planet can create a wonderful connection and incredibly helpful relationship for those taking action. For example, there are businesses that commit to bringing on an environmental organisation as their client for one year, treating them just the same, providing high quality experience and supporting them as if they are a paying client.  There are many opportunities – reflect on what your business does and see where there might be connections.

Whether you’re an individual or in a business, tools, tech and equipment can be an amazing gift for those carrying out work for our planet.  Perhaps you have computers that you’ve upgraded from, or maybe you’ve been converting your outside space and can gift garden tools, plants or trees.  It will depend on your situation/business – look around, think outside the box – what could you gift?  Make it policy that for any items you must upgrade you give the previous grade to those making a difference for our planet.

Just remember, whether it is a product, tool, tech or any other item, make sure that it is in excellent working order and doesn’t require a lot of time to clean up or set up.  Organisations taking environmental action are usually short on capacity so the last thing they will need is more work on their plate as a result of your ‘gift’.  Be respectful and thoughtful – ideally gift your support to ensure the gift works for them e.g. setting it up onsite, providing pro-bono help, volunteer hours to put in place.

Giving for when you are gone - legacies + wills

Giving through a will is the ultimate ‘giving back’ – it is your last contribution to this amazing earth that you’ve spent your journey of life on.  It ensures that the impact you make lives on.  Given wisely, your gift can be a catalyst for planetary change – the most critical issue for everyone’s future. It may also enable you to make the difference you couldn’t make while you were living and worrying about the bills – leaving your mark on this earth in the biggest and best way possible.

Some tips for leaving a gift in your will:

1.  Put your plan into action – get that will written or amended while you can – with clarity around the gift you want to leave.

2. Get it agreed officially, with an expert lawyer or professional – the last thing you want is for your gift to not be given due to a technicality.

3. Let your closest friend or family know that you are doing this.  That way people are prepared for the gift and can support the process. You may want to encourage those sending you off to also contribute to the environmental organisation – they can help ensure this happens.

4. If you’re leaving your whole estate think carefully about the implications of this.  It will be an incredible gift for the organisation you’re leaving it to but it may be that you need to put in place specific arrangements to make it easy to receive.  Find out what, if any, costs or processes will be incurred by the recipient – try to set up to avoid giving your environmental change organisation undue stress and costs when receiving your amazing gift.

5. If you’re leaving a substantial gift it can be helpful to speak to the environmental change organisation prior to you leaving this earth.  Discuss with them your hopes and wishes, but don’t be tempted to predict the future and limit its use to specific projects.  Provide guidance so they can honour your wishes, whilst still allowing flexibility to address new or unprecedented environmental change.

Lastly, consider giving a living legacy – i.e. beginning your legacy before you are gone.  The value that can bring you and the organisation you’re supporting can be huge.  With environmental change happening so rapidly it may also be wise to do so!

Think about the impact you want to make and work out the best way to do that from now until your final hurrah.  Everyone will be different so consider how your contribution could be maximised – perhaps a donation now could help to kickstart the work you ultimately want to support.

Step by step, change the world.

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