Society & Community Sustainable Cities & Communities

One thing you can do: make smart donations

Sustainable Cities & Communities


For most of us, it is very difficult to figure out whose efforts are actually making a difference to the environment. This article is a start to understanding environmental organizations that are truly making an impact.

Perspectives and insights

  • The group Founders Pledge that relies on evidence and analysis helps entrepreneurs navigate the world of giving, in part by examining which charities offer the greatest return on investment.
  • Data-based reports of effective altruism provide a good starting point for donors, even if the analyses do not always tell the entire story.
  • Here's one suggested framework for your decision-making on who to fund: first pinpoint the impact area (for instance, transportation or renewables), then the approach (like mobilization or innovation) and next the geographic location that interests you.

Xoologue - a discussion between Xoo and Moo

Moo: That’s a logically good approach to giving, Xoo, what do you say? Impact area first, approach next & geography third.

Xoo: Well Moo, charity and giving are topics that interest the rich, Moo. You know we precariously stay just above penury

Moo: Who knows, Xoo, with your self-proclaimed expertise in cleantech perspectives, you could be rich soon. So, tell me, Xoo, if you are rich and would like to donate to an environmental cause, would you follow the template suggested?

Xoo: As you say, Moo, there’s logic in it. But you see, donations aren’t the same as professional investments, for which logic is supreme. Logic is purely of mind. But donations also involve the heart .

Moo: I agree. So how does that change things?

Xoo: If I were donating my money, I’d probably take the same three elements, but put geography second instead of third.

Moo: So your pecking order would be impact area first, geography next, and approach third?

Xoo: That sounds just about right.

Moo: But isn’t approach more important than geography, Xoo? 

Xoo: For the mind, yes. For the heart, no. Well, at least not for my heart.