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Who to give to?

Ask questions...

When you are seeking an organization or project to give to, answering these questions will help you narrow your search for a recipient for your gift(s). The Directory of Organizations lists hundreds of organizations that are worthy of your support. Find the one(s) that meet your criteria. 

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Debbie Kelsall
  • What are you passionate about?
  • Who serves this area of concern?
  • What values are you seeking in a recipient organization?
  • Is your interest at the community, regional, national or international level? (Are you interested in the big picture or local issues? Or both?)
  • What geographic area are you interested in?
  • What kind of organization are you looking for? (see below)
  • What accountability measures do you expect?
  • What kind of relationship would you like to have with the organization(s) you give to? Now and later? 
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David Denning

Types of Environmental Organizations

There are over 4000 environmental organizations in Canada of which approximately 1800 are registered charities that can issue tax receipts. In general most community-based organizations are affiliated with a regional or provincial network that is in turn affiliated with a national network. There are several ways to find a group that offers you a match for your interests: 

  • search the Directory of Organizations by topic area, location and organization type
  • go to the national networks listed below and from there search for organizations in your region.

You can also search for organizations by going to CanadaHelps.org, the Canadian Book of Charities, and the Canadian Donors Guide..

Naturalists

There are natural history clubs (sometimes combined with hiking groups) in hundreds of communities across Canada. Provincial networks support the local clubs, and the national body is Nature Canada. As well as sponsoring recreational outings, the clubs do a myriad of hands-on stewardship projects, including bird and plant surveys, species monitoring projects like “Frog Watch”, mapping projects, educational events, and school tours.

Hunters & Fishers

Hunters and fishers are usually members of local Fish and Game clubs, that are in turn typically members of provincial wildlife federations. The national body is the Canadian Wildlife Federation. The members also perform on-the-ground work doing habitat restoration projects, as well as taking part in community events, school programs, and wilderness watch programs.

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Debbie Kelsall

Stewardship Groups

Stream enhancement and restoration projects are also undertaken by community groups and supported by services such as Streamkeepers Program in British Columbia. In this example, citizens are trained and supported in the monitoring, protection, and improvement of aquatic habitat. Stewardship Centres across Canada provide information for on-the-ground project teams.

Land Trusts

The emerging land trust constituency is growing quickly. There are now 125 community land trusts in Canada, affiliated with provincial networks. Land trusts raise funds to acquire ecologically sensitive lands, and/or work with donors to receive such lands as donations. They monitor their acquisitions, and often run community outreach programs to encourage private land stewardship activities.

Environmental Groups

The Canadian Environmental Network is made up of diverse groups and regional networks that are concerned about the environment. It is one of the networking mechanisms available to organizations working on toxics and pollution, parks and wilderness, marine, air quality, water, and agriculture issues. Caucuses are formed as needed to research issues and advocate for regulatory changes. Individual organizations are also involved with local educational programs, citizen science and on-the-ground projects.

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Nora Layard

Law Reform & Legal Representation

Law reform is the path to regulating environmental integrity, and the Canadian Environmental Law Association, EcoJustice, and provincial counterparts work on legislative and judicial change through policy reform and court challenges.

National Organizations

There are several national organizations that, while centrally administered, also have regional offices and projects. These include Ducks Unlimited Canada, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Wildlife Habitat Canada and World Wildlife Fund.


While at first glance the range of environmental groups may seem overwhelming, when you sort through the layers you will find a group(s) that spark your interest and with whom you are comfortable. As with any project, due diligence is required and hard questions need to be asked and answered. The rewards will be worth it!

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