Go Global: Tips to Link Your Environmental Cause to the Whole Earth

According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, there were 27,485 environmental non-profits in the United States in 2013. If you are one of them, what makes your mission and organizational goals stand out from the rest?

Even though it’s sometimes a challenge to relate our world to the whole world, more and more, globalization and the virtual reality of our Smart phone, plugged-in lives is forcing us to have a greater global conscious. (National Center for Charitable Statistics website.)

If you are an environmental charity, you have a natural opportunity to connect to that greater good in the name of saving our shared earth. That connectivity could be just the nudge to make you better than the rest to compete for funding amongst the other 27,000 environmental charities. Here are some unique tips that go beyond carbon footprint and the more obvious to make your local cause globally different!


butterfly painted lady
Image: Marita Braun



If you have anything to do with water – whether it be as small as litter pick up in beautification projects addressing non-point source pollution in local streams, tree planting at a local park helping clean up a riparian corridor, or environmental education programs that talk about using less water in daily household chores – link it to the Earth’s water supply.

Clean water is so important as a scarce resource that it is causing wars internationally and state conflicts nationally. What your little local organization is doing is linked by raindrops to all of those conflicts, and you should incorporate that awareness into your programming if you can to make your organization more relevant.

  • Use statistics. If you are planting trees, calculate how much water is being filtered by their roots over time and use that statistic in your programming materials.
  • Map it. Link your community’s water to where it ends up, whether it be a river or an ocean or a cloud over a neighboring town. Show it on a map on your website!
  • Sell it. You can calculate how much water you are keeping clean, and then what the cost saved to the community is and solicit donations for your work. For example, if your education students save 700 gallons of water as a class a month, market those savings as $700 of community investment to pay for your program costs!

Carbon sequestration

Are you saving any open space, planting trees, discouraging development, or recycling/reusing materials as a non-profit mission? If you are, you are sequestering carbon!  Link your carbon savings to bigger global causes. (More about carbon sequestration.)

This is much more creative and unique than “carbon footprint” calculating and adds an extra element of awareness for the contributors of global warming to your program.

  • You can estimate how much sequestered carbon is in each block of land you conserve if you are an easement or land trust group, for example. Then link that sequestered carbon back to a big international forest, like the Amazon, and claim your land preservation is offsetting X number of acres of destroyed rainforest.
  • If you are recycling or reusing materials, you can calculate how much carbon is being saved in your reused wood or cardboard, or by the energy savings in not having to produce a new material from a tree source and use carbon based energy sources. That can offset X acres of carbon release from melting tundra in the Arctic Circle.

Bird or butterfly migration

Bird and butterfly migration links North, Central, and South America and even other continents in some cases. You can honestly claim you are helping global biodiversity if your organization does anything to preserve their habitat!

You might not even know you are doing so. You can consult the National Audubon Society or other bird and butterfly experts, but if you have any quantity of native plants, trees, grasses, or even just a few birdfeeders on your grounds you are probably helping a species or two.

  • Common migrants that are easy to attract are hummingbirds, warblers, and other local song bird species that you know, love, and want around depending on where you are. Consult a birding guide or Enature.com to supply the right plants and seeds, and which places in the world these creatures also call home.
  • Monarch butterflies in some cases migrate thousands of miles between continents and are found nearly everywhere in the US! Plant milkweed as a student project in your environmental education class, or have artists in your nature art program paint local species and then tell their migration story on your website.

With over 27,000 other environmental groups out there, you want to make as much effort to make yourself relevant to our globalized world as possible. These are just three ways to go global – and subsequently more interesting and fundable – with things your organization is already doing!

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