US-based Giving Green advises philanthropists on how to contribute meaningfully to the fight against climate change. Although Giving Green is not a funder, it can provide valuable insights into the funding strategy Political Advocacy. Driving policy change is one of the priority strategies through which it encourages funders to take action.
Dr. Daniel Stein
Co-Founder and Director
Historically, positive solutions to climate change have followed decisions made by governments or the innovative application of technology. This includes, for example, the creation of carbon markets or the scaling-up of wind and solar energy technologies. Indeed, Political Advocacy and technological development go hand in hand, as policy creates the conditions for a favourable environment in which technological innovations can thrive. A dollar spent on Political Advocacy has ten times more impact than a dollar spent on Direct Support. Even though the chances of a single policy being passed are slim, they are extremely effective if adopted.
In addition to fostering positive solutions to climate change, strengthening advocacy work is of decisive importance as a counterweight to the strong lobby of the fossil energy industry that seeks to stall climate action.
Based on extensive research and analysis, Giving Green profiles and recommends organisations working to foster policy change in the US, Australia, and worldwide. This concerns both organisations that use "insider" tactics such as policy drafting and "outsider" tactics like activism or protesting.
One of Giving Green‘s 2021 recommendations is Carbon180 which pursues "insider tactics" by closely working with policymakers and scientists to develop policies for carbon dioxide removal.
Another organisation in Giving Green's selection is the Evergreen Collaborative, which has worked to develop, pass, and implement a comprehensive set of decarbonisation policies. By working directly with congressional offices, the organisation seeks to put pressure on the US government to take bold climate action.
Successful Political Advocacy through “insider” and “outsider” tactics has been proven to change laws and regulations and advance climate protection.
As an example of effective insider advocacy, Carbon180 has been successful in advocating for the inclusion of carbon removal in several major bills in the US, such as the Energy Act or the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Bill.
As for outsider advocacy, the Sunrise Movement, which was recommended by Giving Green in 2020, has successfully advocated for redesigning the structure of US climate governance. With its call for a White House Office of Climate Mobilisation, it provided a blueprint for the White House Office of Climate Policy, which President Biden established in 2021.
What has worked well?
- Pick your timing and geographies effectively: Background analysis and research on policies have the best chances of influencing policy decisions when they seize the political moment. The current political discourse or events such as elections provide a window of opportunity for effective Political Advocacy.
- Connect “insider” advocacy with “outsider” advocacy: While "outsider" advocacy generates public pressure, "insider" advocacy reaches out to policymakers and enables them to respond to that pressure. The track record shows that Political Advocacy is most effective when these two tactics go hand in hand.
- Build long-term relationships with policymakers: Relationships of trust with decision-makers help you understand current trends and needs and give you the opportunity to have access to the right people at the right time.
What are opportunities for new funders?
- Focus on the heavy industry: So far, there is no clear roadmap for decarbonising the heavy industry. This is a field with a high potential for impactful climate policies.