9 Best Charities for Land Conservation (Complete 2024 List)

9 Best Charities for Land Conservation (Complete 2024 List)

By
Dennis Kamprad

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Every second of every day, one football field of land is cleared to make way for agricultural, commercial, or industrial development. This destruction threatens the planet’s dwindling biodiversity and fuels climate change. Thankfully, charities worldwide are working relentlessly to combat these catastrophic losses. So we had to ask: What are the best charities for land conservation?

The best charities for land conservation are The Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Foundation. Other charities like the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club Foundation have made strides in conservation legislation and advocacy. 

Whether you want to establish protected areas, preserve wildlife habitats, or demand systemic change to protect the environment, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities for land conservation are all about, how they work, and what your best way would be to make a contribution.

Here’s What All the Best Charities for Land Conservation Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen based on their mission, impact and transparency ratings, and achievements.

They operate all over the world, from North America to Asia. And they all share the same goal of preserving Earth’s lands for future generations.

Most of the charities below work diligently to protect and restore threatened public lands. Many of them collaborate with one another to target the world’s most ecologically rich and biodiverse areas.

Yet while their motivations and movements may differ, they’ve each shown their commitment to conservation through impactful global and grassroots efforts. 

These Are the 9 Best Charities for Land Conservation in 2024

Below are our favorite charities for land conservation (you can click on their link to directly jump to their section in this article):

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

1

The Nature Conservancy: Protect Land and Waters

Logo for The Nature Conservancy
Nature is Our Solution

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

The Nature Conservancy holds a 3-Star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. In addition, The Nature Conservancy earned an Accredited Land Trust Seal from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission.

“Our mission is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends.”

The Nature Conservancy

⚒️

What they do:

The Nature Conservancy works diligently to conserve land by establishing protected areas, partnering with locals, and securing funding for conservation projects. Through legal avenues, The Nature Conservancy establishes protections for areas like Aiken Canyon, Colorado and Bennett Springs Savanna, Missouri. In addition, The Nature Conservancy funds indigenous communities with the resources needed to combat development and preserve their cultural heritage Through these programs and ones similar, The Nature Conservancy is fueling projects to save 650 million hectares of land by 2030. 

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, The Nature Conservancy has protected more than 125 million hectares of land across the globe. They established legal protections for 500,000 acres in Montana and funded the conservation of one-third of Seychelles territorial waters. In 2021, The Nature Conservancy partnered on one of its largest global conservation projects to establish legal protections for 236,000 acres of the endangered Belize Maya Forest. 

Ways to contribute:

You can support The Nature Conservancy by donating, volunteering, or attending events. In addition, you can offset your carbon footprint using their Carbon Footprint Calculator or become an ecotourist by visiting their protected areas

2

World Wildlife Fund: You Can Make a Difference

Logo for World Wildlife Fund
How to Save Our Planet

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

The World Wildlife Fund holds a 3-Star rating from Charity Navigator and a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

“Our vision is to build a future in which people live in harmony with nature.”

World Wildlife Fund

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What they do:

The World Wildlife Fund works collaboratively around the globe to conserve the world’s most ecologically rich and important land areas. By providing over 2,800 grants, the charity supports the ecological research of global leading conservation experts. Through this research, they influence public policy to combat developmental threats in globally targeted areas. In addition, the World Wildlife Fund supports indigenous economies like those in Putumayo, Colombia, establishing financial foundations to protect their natural heritage.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the World Wildlife Fund has made huge strides to protect our natural world. For example, in 2019, they helped secure protection for 41 million acres of the Peruvian Amazon Forest. And in 2020, the World Wildlife Fund contributed more than $6 million to conserve over 1 million acres of grasslands worldwide. 

Ways to contribute:

You can support the World Wildlife Fund by donating online. You can also assist the charity by joining the WWF Action Network or by becoming a Panda Ambassador

3

Natural Resources Defense Council: Be a Force for the Future

Logo for Natural Resources Defense Council
We Are NRDC

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

The Natural Resources Defense Council holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Bronze Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

“To safeguard the Earth – its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends.”

Natural Resources Defense Council

⚒️

What they do:

The Natural Resources Defense Council preserves land and natural resources through litigation, advocacy, business, science, and partnerships. Through litigation and advocacy, the charity has established several bedrock environmental laws. By these means, they actively pursue policy solutions to protect national treasures and safeguard public lands from fossil-fuel development. 

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the Natural Resources Defense Council has remained committed to protecting our world’s natural lands. For example, they helped negotiate the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act which safeguarded more than 1.3 million acres of land. Furthermore, they’ve advocated against numerous efforts to overturn protective legislation like the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which protects nearly 50 million acres of national forests. 

Ways to contribute:

You can support the Natural Resources Defense Council by donating online. You can also take action by signing online petitions for systemic change.

4

Sierra Club Foundation: The Foundation for a Healthy Planet

Logo for Sierra Club Foundation
If we act now, we can save nature

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

The Sierra Club Foundation earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and an A rating from Charity Watch

“The Sierra Club Foundation promotes efforts to educate and empower people to protect and improve the natural and human environment.”

Sierra Club Foundation

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What they do:

The Sierra Club Foundation protects public lands and waters through fiscal collaborations with allied organizations. As a result, programs like the Our Wild America Campaign are able to safeguard cultural heritage sites, national monuments, trails, waterways, and other public lands

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What they’ve achieved:

Through their funding, the Sierra Club Foundation has conserved 9 million acres of wilderness by successfully advocating for legislation such as the Omnibus Public Land Management Act and California Desert Protection Act,. In addition, they’ve secured protection for over 439 parks and monuments, covering 4 million acres.

Ways to contribute:

You can support the Sierra Club Foundation by donating online or fundraising for Team Sierra. 

5

The Conservation Fund: Making Conservation Work for America

Logo for The Conservation Fund
Welcome to The Conservation Fund!

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

The Conservation Fund holds a 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator and a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

Protecting valuable, conservable land is essential to America’s environmental health and economic vitality.”

The Conservation Fund

⚒️

What they do:

The Conservation Fund protects America’s natural resources by creating conservation solutions with lasting economic benefits. For example, they work with underserved communities in cities, such as Atlanta, to improve access to green spaces and support healthy, sustainable infrastructure that protects nature. They also provide funding to allied organizations for collaborative conservation projects through their Conservation Loans Program

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, The Conservation Fund has protected over 8 million acres of recreational, federal, and cultural lands. In addition, their Conservation Loan Program has helped over 215 partner organizations protect 160,000 acres of land. 

Ways to contribute:

You can support The Conservation Fund by donating online or fundraising for birthdays, weddings, or in honor of a loved one.

6

Earthjustice: Because the Earth Needs a Good Lawyer

Logo for Earthjustice
50 years of Environmental Impact

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

Earthjustice holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

We believe that humans have a moral and practical duty to defend wilderness from exploitation and destruction.”

Earthjustice

⚒️

What they do:

Earthjustice utilizes the power of law and partnership to stop the exploitation and destruction of our planet. Through these avenues they fight to end fossil fuel, oil, and gas developments on public lands. In addition, they sponsor indigineous communities in their battle to protect their ancestral lands from extraction projects, through their Tribal Partnerships Program

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, Earthjustice has fought over 630 legal battles which have secured conservation wins across the Americas. A notable win for Earthjustice was the establishment of the Roadless Rule which preserved 50 million acres of national forests and defense from appeals in 2009 and 2013. Additionally, Earthjustice influenced the conservation of wetlands in Veracruz and protected 3.4 million acres of habitat for the Northern Spotted Owl. 

Ways to contribute:

You can support Earthjustice’s legislative efforts by donating online, creating an action plan, or by signing their conservation petitions

7

Earth Island Institute: Standing Up For Wilderness and Wild Places

Logo for Earth Island Institute
The Story of Earth Island

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

The Earth Island Institute holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

Our projects support hands-on restoration, monitoring and research, along with legislative and legal action, in order to protect critical habitats for all forms of life, and for all time.

Earth Island Institute

⚒️

What they do:

The Earth Island Institute supports global grassroots organizations to protect and restore threatened lands. Through mentorship and funding from the Earth Island Institute, partners like The Borneo Project and The Altai Project make strides in global wilderness conservation. Moreover, the charity encourages youth participation in conservation through programs like Conservation Kids and Kids for the BAY

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Today, the Earth Island Institute sponsors over 75 projects. These projects have halted logging in Yosemite National Forest and preserved 165,000 miles of one of the world’s oldest rainforests in Borneo. In addition, the charity’s Conservation Kids project has donated 100% of proceeds to conservation efforts in the US. 

Ways to contribute:

You can support the Earth Island Institute by donating online or volunteering. You can also get involved by applying to become an Earth Island Institute project. 

8

Ducks Unlimited: Conserving Wetlands & Waterfowl

Logo for Ducks Unlimited
Setting Conservation Priorities

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

Ducks Unlimited holds a 3-star rating with Charity Navigator and a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

Ducks Unlimited conserves, restores, and manages wetlands and associated habitats.

Ducks Unlimited

⚒️

What they do:

Ducks Unlimited works across the US in priority areas to conserve wetlands through research supported methods. These methods include restoring grasslands and watersheds and replanting forests. The charity also works with landowners and partners to acquire land and create conservation management agreements through financial incentives. Ducks Unlimited consistently monitors and evaluates these projects to ensure continued refinement of their habitat projects for maximum impact. 

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, Ducks Unlimited has conserved over 15 million acres of wetlands. In addition, they have protected and reforested nearly 178,000 acres of the Mississippi Alluvial Valley. 

Ways to contribute:

You can support Ducks Unlimited by donating online or purchasing DU gear. If you want a hands-on way to contribute you can volunteer, join as a member, or attend an event

9

Conservation Lands Foundation: Conservation Through Community 

Logo for Conservation Lands Foundation
National Conservation Lands: conservation starts with community

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

The Conservation Lands Foundation holds a 3-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

The Conservation Lands Foundation channels local passion to conserve the public lands we love and need.”

Conservation Lands Foundation

⚒️

What they do:

The Conservation Lands Foundation protects and conserves the US National Conservation Lands through a grassroots network of volunteer groups. These volunteer groups work fervently to advocate for protective policies and preserve cultural heritage sites by raising the voices of local communities. In addition, the charity has developed the Climate Atlas Tool to give policy makers clear visual information on climate change, carbon emissions, and biodiversity loss to help prioritize new conservation projects. 

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the Conservation Lands Foundation has utilized local passion to conserve natural lands across America. For example, they played a vital role in protecting 6.7 million acres of public lands through the House National Defense Bill. The charity also contributed to the designation of several national monuments as National Conservation Lands.

Ways to contribute:

You can support the Conservation Lands Foundation by donating online or joining their extensive volunteer force. 

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities for land conservation. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarize yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing a charity’s progress in reaching its targets, the chances are they’re not making a substantial positive change.
  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

How Can You Best Support These Charities?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. The charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Now it is up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to land conservation – based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,

Illustration of a signature for Dennis



PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:

The way we think about charity is dead wrong | Dan Pallotta

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