The Environmental Funders Network is a network of foundations, family offices and individual donors aiming to increase the amount of financial support for environmental causes and to improve the overall effectiveness of this support.
The Environmental Funders Network was established in 2003 to better connect UK-based environmental funders, on the principle that a more informed, connected funding sector with a better sense of the context of its work would be more effective in its giving and ultimately in accomplishing environmental goals.
The network aims to transform the effectiveness of environmental philanthropy. Its research indicates remarkably low levels of funding for environmental causes from UK-based charitable trusts and foundations; donations supporting the environment are estimated to represent less than four per cent of total foundation giving in the UK and less than five per cent of public donations.
Given this relatively low proportion of funding, the Environmental Funders Network wants to make sure every pound is spent as effectively as possible. It does this by keeping funders up to date on key issues and approaches; fostering relationships between funders to increase the possibility of useful collaborations; introducing them to effective actors (NGOs and otherwise); and producing informative publications, including research that provides funders with otherwise inaccessible insights into the funding landscape.
The Environmental Funders Network also seeks to increase the funding for the environment by attracting new donors with the aim of increasing total giving levels from GBP 105m per year (in 2016) to GBP 1bn per year by 2025. Its work on this includes designing events and publications that inspire and encourage environmental philanthropy; joining the dots between environmental causes and other issues of concern; and encouraging peer-to-peer knowledge exchange. The network also partners with and supports intermediaries, such as philanthropy and wealth advisers.
In its unique position, with a bird’s eye view of the environment sector, the Environmental Funders Network uses its research to strengthen and support the sector to meet the challenges and opportunities it faces. Some of its approaches to this are fostering more collaboration; strengthening the sector’s communications and framing skills through training opportunities; and creating a Rapid Response Fund of quickly accessible funds for unexpected crises and opportunities.
Synchronicity Earth has been a member of the Environmental Funders Network for several years, and supporting them as a partner aligns with our goal of increasing the level of effective philanthropic funding for overlooked biodiversity conservation issues.