Funding the grassroots – it’s different for climate

Effective Philanthropy Gift Collective

Cheryl from The Gift Trust and Geneva Pritchard from Move92 look back on their session from last year’s Philanthropy Conference on grassroots climate funding.

The Gift Trust and Move92 teams were part of the panel for the session on funding grassroots initiatives and why it’s different for climate.

Funders are looking for creative and new ways to fund grassroots groups making a positive difference for the climate. Some steps on how and where to get started follow.

Over the past 20–30 years, discussion and funding around the climate crisis has mainly focused on shifting national policies, partnering with government and large aid organisations, and prioritising scale. However, there is new evidence that suggests funding grassroots solutions has potential for greater and more rapid results. Philanthropy can play an important and impactful role at the grassroots with unrestricted funding that supports innovation, and fewer bureaucratic systems allowing for agile and real-time decisions.

Graphic recording by Jacqui Chan

We have a few recommendations for a more grassroots-centred way of giving:

  1. First look internally at your systems. Where can you adopt more trust-based philanthropy methods such as multi-year funding, unrestricted funding and less burdensome application and reporting requirements? If you have restrictive criteria that doesn’t allow grassroots groups to access funding (for example, requiring registered charity status), look for creative solutions like allowing groups to sit under a fundholding service like Gift Collective. Philanthropic funding has an advantage being untethered from the bureaucracy of large government or aid organisations – this can be critical for the fast-moving needs of the climate crisis.
  2. Get guidance on how to make the shift to a trust-based approach to climate funding. The climate crisis is complex and sometimes it is hard to know where to even begin. Many foundations are exploring this new way of giving and roadmaps are available to help get you started.
  3. Connect with existing networks that know grassroots organisations locally and globally and who can help you find organisations suited to your geographic and thematic interests.

The climate crisis highlights the interconnectedness of our world. We are seeing an increase in record heatwaves, intense drought, massive wildfires and supercharged storms and we can expect an increase in these extreme weather events. No country on Earth is immune to the effects of the climate crisis, and it will take collective action to begin reversing the impacts of global warming.

As funders, we have an important role to play in empowering, educating and increasing funding within the communities most affected by climate change – both here in New Zealand and globally. Rather than be daunted by the overwhelming messaging of the climate crisis, let’s work together with the mindset that is highlighted in the inspiring book Drawdown – that it is game on, not game over.

This article originally ran in the November 2023 issue of Philanthropy News – our thanks to Philanthropy New Zealand for letting us share it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

“The Gift Trust provides a personalised service for my plan to give, donate and support the causes that are important to me at a reasonable cost.”

— Gillian, Gift Trust donor

"The gift accounts offered by The Gift Trust are a good option for individuals or organisations wanting to consolidate their charitable giving. I encourage all financial advisers to consider this important development."

– Dr Rodger Spiller, Financial Adviser, Money Matters

“An area of importance to our clients is charitable giving. The Gift Trust offers an opportunity to streamline the gifting process, while adding increased confidence and transparency. It also provides robust due diligence of eligible charities and access to additional support services for clients with complex needs.”

— Philip Stevenson, Bloomsbury Associates. CEFEX Certified Investment Adviser

“We would like to recognise and offer thanks for the support we receive though The Gift Trust’s donation. An annual donation from one of your donors is one of the largest donations that Kaibosh receives each year and has been absolutely pivotal to our ability to operate with confidence and to expand our operation across the Hutt Valley. We are extremely thankful.”

— Matt Dagger, Kaibosh, Gift Trust grant recipient

“My gift account has made my giving easy. It lets me get straight to the fun and satisfying part of giving to the causes I care about, without the hassle.”

— Anake, Gift Trust donor

"The Gift Trust provides a flexible and robust structure, to support donors' charitable giving intentions, while still enabling them to have a say in the investment of donated funds."

– David Ireland, Partner, Dentons Kensington Swan

"A Gift Account with The Gift Trust is a great option as an alternative to setting up a charity or private foundation while still preserving clients' control over their giving."

– Steven Moe, Partner, Parry Field Lawyers

"The administration and ongoing compliance requirements involved in setting up a private charity can be onerous, and even risky. Setting up a Gift Account allows The Gift Trust to look after those requirements, and provide support that allows the donor to focus on what they really want to do with their gifts."

– Sue Barker, Sue Barker Charities Law

"The Gift Trust takes the guesswork out of giving. Having support with research and due diligence on donations ensures that funds are truly making the desired impact. It has been a real pleasure to work with The Gift Trust."

– Ben, Gift Account holder

Get in touch

    PO Box 19120, Marion Square
    Wellington, New Zealand

    04 391 4438