9 Best Charities for Protecting Nature (Complete 2022 List)

9 Best Charities for Protecting Nature (Complete 2022 List)

By
Carla Shaik

Read Time:16 Minutes

Follow
this site

follow follow

Impactful Ninja is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more Learn more .

Affiliate Disclosure

Hey fellow impactful ninja ?

You may have noticed that Impactful Ninja is all about providing helpful information to make a positive impact on the world and society. And that we love to link back to where we found all the information for each of our posts.

  • Most of these links are informational-based for you to check out their primary sources with one click.

  • But some of these links are so-called "affiliate links" to products that we recommend.

Why do we add these product links?

First and foremost, because we believe that they add value to you. For example, when we wrote a post about the environmental impact of long showers, we came across an EPA recommendation to use WaterSense showerheads. So we linked to where you can find them. Or, for many of our posts, we also link to our favorite books on that topic so that you can get a much more holistic overview than one single blog post could provide.

And when there is an affiliate program for these products, we sign up for it. For example, as Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases.

What do these affiliate links mean for you?
  1. First, and most importantly, we still only recommend products that we believe add value for you.

  2. When you buy something through one of our affiliate links, we may earn a small commission - but at no additional costs to you.

  3. And when you buy something through a link that is not an affiliate link, we won’t receive any commission but we’ll still be happy to have helped you.

What do these affiliate links mean for us?
  1. When we find products that we believe add value to you and the seller has an affiliate program, we sign up for it.

  2. When you buy something through one of our affiliate links, we may earn a small commission (at no extra costs to you).

  3. And at this point in time, all money is reinvested in sharing the most helpful content with you. This includes all operating costs for running this site and the content creation itself.

What does this mean for me personally?

You may have noticed by the way Impactful Ninja is operated that money is not the driving factor behind it. It is a passion project of mine and I love to share helpful information with you to make a positive impact on the world and society. However, it's a project in that I invest a lot of time and also quite some money.

Eventually, my dream is to one day turn this passion project into my full-time job and provide even more helpful information. But that's still a long time to go.

Stay impactful,

Over half of the world’s land is now used for agriculture and human settlement. Just 10% is covered by glaciers and 19% is barren land. This leaves just 37% for rainforests and grasslands. Nature is declining at an alarming rate – threatening all life on this planet. However, charities are now working hard to tackle this crisis and restore our natural lands. So we had to ask: What are the best charities for protecting nature?

The best charities for protecting nature are the Nature Conservancy and Conservation International. Charities such as the Environmental Defense Fund and Cool Earth do amazing work developing and promoting sustainable farming practices that will ensure the survival of our natural world. 

Whether you want to conserve our rainforests, invest in renewable energy sources, or restore natural areas so native wildlife can thrive, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities for protecting nature 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 Protecting Nature 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 South Africa, conserving our remaining natural lands.

Many of the charities on this list focus their efforts on advocacy, to prevent harmful industries like coal mining from damaging our environment further. Others focus their attention on promoting sustainable businesses that work in harmony with nature rather than against it. Yet they all share the same goal; to protect and restore the natural world on which we all depend. 

These Are the 9 Best Charities for Protecting Nature

Below are our favorite charities for protecting nature:

  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Conservation International
  • Wild Foundation
  • Environmental Defense Fund
  • Earth Day Network
  • Cool Earth
  • Trust for Public Land
  • Rainforest Action Network
  • Sierra Club Foundation

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

The Nature Conservancy: Preserving Natural Lands Through Science

The Nature Conservancy was founded in 1951 by Richard Pough after he discovered a need to save threatened natural lands. Today, the charity utilizes up-to-date conservation science to solve biodiversity loss and protect our natural world. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Nature Conservancy holds the Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. The charity also has a 3-star rating from Charity Navigator.

“Working to create a world where people and nature can thrive.”

The Nature Conservancy

What they do: The Nature Conservancy works to tackle the interconnectedness of climate change and biodiversity loss by conserving natural lands and water habitats. By conserving, restoring, and improving land management practices, they hope to store enough carbon to halt the rise in global temperature. They also partner with indigenous communities to promote sustainable farming techniques that protect nature.

What they’ve achieved: To date, the Nature Conservancy has protected over 125 million acres of natural land in 70 countries around the globe. They also operate more than 100 marine conservation projects. In 2016, the charity partnered with First Nations to permanently conserve 19 million acres of Pacific Coast between Vancouver Island and Southeast Alaska. They have also set up a 77,000-acre preserve to protect some of the most critical wildlands in California. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the Nature Conservancy through their website. You can also support the charity by volunteering or by pledging to take action on one of their campaigns

Conservation International: People Need Nature to Thrive

Conservation International was founded in 1987 by Spencer Beebe and Peter Seligmann to protect biodiversity hotspots around the world. Today, the charity is a global conservation organization with offices in over 24 countries. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: According to their financial report, Conservation International spent 48% of their expenditure on field programs, 21% on grantmaking divisions, and 8% on fundraising. The charity also has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator.

“A healthy, prosperous world in which societies are forever committed to caring for and valuing nature.”

Conservation International

What they do: Conservation international utilizes up-to-date research and scientific advancements to reverse nature loss and tackle climate change. They do this by working with a network of partners, including governments, to conserve coastal and terrestrial ecosystems in the Americas, Africa, and the Asia-Pacific. They also work to protect the diversity of our oceans by establishing conservation management plans and working with local communities to develop sustainable fishing enterprises. 

What they’ve achieved: To date, Conservation International has protected more than 6 million km2 of land and sea across 70 countries. In 2020, the campaigning of the charity successfully led to the conservation of 64,000 acres of land in Chiapas and Oaxaca. Walmart has also now pledged to protect 50 million acres of land. A $25 million partnership between Conservation International and the French government will conserve nearly 73 million hectares of Amazonia by 2025. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Conservation International through their website. You can also support the charity by becoming a member of the Emerald Circle or by setting up a fundraising page

Wild Foundation: Keeping the Earth Wild

The Wild Foundation was founded in 1974 by Ian Player and Magqubu Ntombela after they went on a scouting mission to establish a protected area for the Southern White Rhino. After that, both men became committed to saving our natural planet. Today, the charity is a global movement dedicated to restoring our wilderness. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Wild Foundation holds the Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar and a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator.

“Protecting essential wildlands, defending the homes of endangered and threatened species, and empowering people to live well and live better with the natural world.”

Wild Foundation

What they do: The Wild Foundation combines on the ground projects with advocacy, to protect our planet’s wildlife and wildlands. Through their Mali Elephant Project, the charity is working with local communities to restore elephant habitats. On a larger scale, they are working with regional governments, scientists, and like-minded nonprofits to protect 50% of the world’s land by 2030. Their International Journal of Wilderness is a leading resource for conservationists around the world for research, tools, ideas, and land management practices. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the Wild Foundation has organized 10 groundbreaking congresses. One of these led to the establishment of the Global Environmental Facility of the World Bank, which has provided over $20 billion for global conservation. The charity has also protected over 8 million acres2 of elephant habitat in West Africa. Through their Global Rewildling Alliance, they now work with 3,200 partners to run ecosystem and conservation restoration projects. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the Wild Foundation through their website. You can also support the charity by joining one of their campaigns or by shopping through AmazonSmile.

Environmental Defense Fund: Building a Better Future Together

The Environmental Defense Fund was founded in 1967 by a group of scientists to ban the use of DDT pesticides that were causing eggshells of vulnerable bird species to break. Today, the charity is dedicated to finding innovative solutions to protect our natural world.

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Environmental Defense Fund holds the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. The charity also has a 3-star rating from Charity Navigator.

“To preserve the natural systems on which all life depends.”

Environmental Defense Fund

What they do: The Environmental Defense Fund protects natural ecosystems by working with coastal communities and local fisheries to develop sustainable farming, ranching, and water management schemes. They also use the latest technological advances to cut pollution from the oil and gas industries. This includes their MethaneSAT satellite which is designed to track methane emissions across the globe. In addition, they work with farmers and policymakers to identify efficient financial incentives for those who adopt conservation practice initiatives.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the Environmental Defense Fund has conserved 4 million acres of land that protect 63 rare species. They now work across 28 countries to solve the most critical environmental issues. In the 1990s, the charity pioneered the LEAF initiative, which has already mobilized $1 billion into tropical forest protection. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the Environmental Defense Fund through their website. You can also support the charity by joining one of their campaigns or by fundraising.

Earth Day Network: Campaigning for a Greener Planet

The Earth Day Network was founded in 1970 by Denis Hayes to mobilize Americans to protect their natural planet. Today, the charity is a global movement dedicated to creating a cleaner planet through their widely recognized Earth Day campaign. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Earth Day Network holds the Silver Seal of Transparency from GuideStar and a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator.

“To diversify, educate, and activate the environmental movement worldwide.”

Earth Day Network

What they do: The Earth Day Network is activating a global environmental movement to save our natural planet. They are doing this by setting up events and educational webinars through their annual Earth Day Campaign. Through their Canopy Project, they are mobilizing communities to plant tens of millions of trees to combat climate change and build new natural areas. They are also educating the public on the dangers of plastic for wildlife through their End Plastic Pollution Campaign.

What they’ve achieved: To date, the Earth Day Network has engaged over 1 billion people in more than 190 countries through their Earth Day Campaign. Their advocacy efforts have led to the passage of numerous landmark environmental laws in America, including the Endangered Species Act, and the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency. They have also helped to pass legislation that has provided $7 billion in grants to green low-income schools. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the Earth Day Network through their website. You can also support the charity by joining one of their campaigns or by purchasing items from their online store

Cool Earth: Working with Indigenous People to Protect Rainforests

Cool Earth was founded in 2007 by Lord Field and Johan Eliasch to put an end to needless deforestation. Today, the charity is working to save rainforests and halt climate change by giving power back to indigenous communities. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: Cool Earth holds the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. The charity has yet to be scored by Charity Navigator.

“We exist to back people, to protect rainforest, and fight the climate crisis.”

Cool Earth

What they do: Cool Earth offers cash incentives to local and indigenous rainforest communities so they can set up their own sustainable businesses and protect their rainforest homes. These projects include solar farms, beehives, and satellite tracking programs. Their forest monitoring program provides data on real-life threats so local communities can act to halt deforestation more accurately. Through their Rainforest Firefighters Campaign, the charity raises funds to investigate the causes of rainforest fires and develops effective preventative measures. 

What they’ve achieved: To date, Cool Earth has protected 105 million trees through 40 people-powered projects across the world’s largest tropical rainforest biomes. This has prevented an estimated 117 million tonnes of carbon from entering our atmosphere. In 2019, a record number of people signed up to join their campaign to protect rainforests and invest in our planet’s future, which raised nearly $400,000

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Cool Earth through their website. You can also support the charity by setting up a fundraising event or by purchasing items from their online shop.

Trust for Public Land: Connecting Everyone With Nature

The Trust for Public Land was founded in 1972 by Huey Johnson to provide all people with access to nature and the outdoors. Today, the charity is committed to protecting natural lands and creating new ones across America. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: According to their financial report, the Trust for Public Land spent 75.9% of their expenditure on program services and 24.1% on support services. The charity also has a 99% Encompass rating for finance & accountability from Charity Navigator.

“Creating parks and protecting land for people, ensuring healthy, liveable communities for generations to come.”

Trust for Public Land

What they do: The Trust for Public Land creates and maintains nature trails, green areas, and parks across cities to diversify wildlife and connect more people with nature. They do this by working with local communities, landowners, and public agencies to acquire land and design new developments that benefit everyone. The charity also raises funds for natural land conservation across America through their Land and Water Conservation Fund

What they’ve achieved: So far, the Trust for Public Land has protected over 3 million acres of land across all 50 states. In addition, they have created a further 5352 natural places, including parks and trails. Their advocacy work has led to the successful passing of 8 ballot measures that have generated $723 million in new public funding for parks, conservation, and climate change. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the Trust for Public Land through their website. You can also support the charity by becoming a member of the charity or by contributing to one of their campaigns

Rainforest Action Network: Protecting the World’s Rainforests

The Rainforest Action Network was founded in 1985 by Mike Roselle and Randy Hayes to fight back against corporate companies that were contributing to rainforest deforestation. Today, the charity remains committed to their mission to protect the world’s rainforests and halt climate change.

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Rainforest Action Network holds the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar, as well as a 3-star rating from Charity Navigator.

“We take action against the companies and industries driving deforestation and climate change.”

Rainforest Action Network

What they do: The Rainforest Action Network preserves rainforests across the globe by empowering and funding local indigenous communities to protect their native lands through Community Action Grants. Through their Stop Deforestation Campaign, the charity is pressurizing large corporations to stop harmful logging practices and keep forests standing. In addition, they lobby against the use of coal and other fossil fuels to protect our planet and halt climate change

What they’ve achieved: Since 1993, the Rainforest Action Network has distributed over $5.5 million to frontline and indigenous rainforest communities to help them protect millions of acres of their natural land. Through their Protect an Acre initiative, the charity has donated $900,000 in 2 years to forest fire protection plans and to stop illegal deforestation in the Amazon.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the Rainforest Action Network through their website. You can also support the charity by signing their petition to protect critical rainforests or by supporting one of their campaigns.

Sierra Club Foundation: The Foundation for a Healthy Planet

The Sierra Club Foundation was founded in 1960 by the Sierra Club to protect natural lands and natural resources from excessive development and exploitation. Today, the charity funds a wide range of environmental projects to protect our natural world. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: According to their financial report, the Sierra Club Foundation spent 85% of their income on programs, grants, and services, 13% on fundraising, and 2% on administration. The charity also has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator.

“Promoting climate solutions, conservation, and movement building through a powerful combination of strategic philanthropy and grassroots advocacy.”

Sierra Club Foundation

What they do: The Sierra Club Foundation funds a wide range of conservation projects to protect nature and promote sustainability. Through their Environmental Law Program, the charity works with communities, policymakers, and governments to direct legal strategies that tackle environmental issues. They also create and protect National Parks in America to prevent excess drilling and logging, through their Wild America Campaign

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the Sierra Club Foundation has been directly involved in numerous environmental successes. Between 2010 and 2020, they had forced over 300 coal plants in America to shut down, making it one of the most successful environmental campaigns in history. In 2020, the charity successfully halted the construction of the Atlantic Coast 600-mile pipeline, which marks a huge victory in blocking the expansion of the fracking industry. In the same year, they persuaded 30 major banks worldwide to say no to funding drilling in the Arctic. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the Sierra Club Foundation through their website. You can also support the charity by making a memorial gift or by getting involved in their Vehicle Donation Program

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities for protecting nature. 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.
  • Donate a percentage of your online purchases. If you bought anything on sites like Amazon lately, you’d find a prompt asking you to donate to your favorite charities through their Amazon Smile program. You can set this up so that your chosen charities will get a fraction of your online purchases.
  • 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 protecting nature – based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,

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:

Sources

Photo of author

Carla Shaik

Carla is passionate about animal welfare and our natural environment and is on a mission to give you the knowledge you need to help protect our planet and all of its inhabitants. She holds a bachelor's of science degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare, is a teaching support officer at the College of West Anglia, and also works as a cat sitter in her local community. Aside from writing, she has a love of music, teaching her daughter how to play piano, and enjoys getting creative with craft activities.

Did you know that the internet is a huge polluter of the environment? But fortunately not this site. This site is powered by renewable energy and all hosting-related CO2 emissions are offset by three times as many renewable energy certificates. Find out all about it here.

Three Related Posts

One Unrelated Post