New report: Public and funders still don’t understand urgent need to act on climate crisis


Alliance magazine


Charities say they are struggling to persuade the public of need to act rapidly on environmental issues.

Environmental organisations are struggling to communicate the sheer scale and complexity of the climate crisis to the public and funders. That’s according to a new report by the Garfield Weston Foundation which found that almost half of organisations highlighted lack of public understanding as their biggest challenge when it comes to the environment.

The Foundation commissioned I.G. Advisors to survey 68 environmental organisations across the UK, including the Woodland Trust, the RSPB, Buglife and Hubbub. The report, ‘Prioritising our Planet’, reveals that three-quarters of environmental charities are finding financial sustainability a challenge, while almost 80 per cent admit they are unable to raise the money they need to achieve the impact they want. Over a quarter of organisations fear Brexit and Covid-19 are weakening charitable efforts when it comes to policy work.

‘While we are all experiencing a Covid-19 crisis, we also still face an environmental crisis. This report highlights the need for powerful conversations between environmental organisations, grant makers and the public, to ensure that excellent organisations are able to do what they do best,’ said Garfield Weston Foundation Director Philippa Charles. ‘We need to break this vicious circle so that organisations have clear messages, the public understands the urgency to act and funders are motivated to provide support.’

The research also found that only 30 per cent of those surveyed believe trusts and foundations understand their environmental work and one in four organisations struggle to identify sources of funding.

In response to the findings, the Foundation is partnering with the Media Trust to develop a programme specifically for environment charities to help them build capability in the area of communications, messaging and profile-raising. The programme will run in 2021. The Garfield Weston Foundation is also encouraging charities working on all issues relating to the environment to apply to them for funding.

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