charity tin

055: Donate to an environmental or wildlife charity

Cost of taking action: £/$/€ YOU CHOOSE

This is an action that will cost you as much or as little as you want it to cost. Whether a single pound, dollar or euro, or a large donation if you can afford it, we know that all charities will welcome your support.

What we can’t do here is to recommend a charity to you, that is your choice, because everyone will have their own favourite causes and passions. There are massive, globally operating charities and there are tiny, local, community charities. Many merit your support.

What we can do though is help you think about which to support, and how to give.

Choice of causes

Choosing a charity

People give to a charity for many reasons, but the two main things to think about are these:

1. Does the charity’s vision for the world inspire you, and match your own beliefs?

2. Do you believe that the work the charity does is the right way to achieve that vision?

If the answers to these two questions are “yes”, you are well on the way to making a decision.

Other factors will count too of course. Do you prefer to support a local charity or a big name? Do you know people involved? Are there particular projects you would like to support? Is it easy to give – online for example?

Giving to a charity should be a personal decision, and you should take this seriously. If you are a child giving the charity some of your pocket money, or a wealthy business owner writing a cheque for a million, the same applies.

You should donate to a properly registered charity with a registration number, most countries have a charity regulator and you will be able to check their website if you have any doubts.

How to give

The next decisions to make are how much you want to give, and whether this will be a one-off single donation or a regular donation. Regular donations are usually paid over on a monthly basis.

Once you have decided this, most often the best way to give is online. Find your charity on the internet, make sure they have a proper, secure (https) payment system, and make a donation by credit or debit card. If you don’t have a bank account, you can ask a family member to donate on your behalf and give them the cash.

Other ways to give are good old-fashioned cash (if you know someone that works for the charity or know where they collect), sending them a cheque, or telephoning with a card number. Some charities will accept donations from a PayPal account too. If you give cash, only put money into a sealed collecting tin, or make sure you get an official receipt.

If you choose to make a regular donation, you will be asked to give an ongoing card authority or sign a direct debit, allowing the charity to collect your donation automatically each month. This is an easy and convenient way to send a donation to your favourite cause each month. Charities love to have regular donations as it means they can anticipate certain levels of income and plan projects accordingly.

In many countries you can get tax relief on your donations. In the UK, for example, you can sign a declaration if you are a tax payer and the charity will claim back the tax you paid when you earnt the money you donated. In the US, you can enter charity donations on your tax return as a deduction and pay less tax for that year.


Environmental and wildlife charities do a lot of good work directly, as well as lobbying for government and community action. If you believe in their cause then supporting them is a great thing to do and can feel very rewarding. Also, if lots of people make small regular donations, it really adds up for the charities and means they can plan ahead and do more.

This action only costs you what you can afford and want to give, so please give it some thought.

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