Preserving our independence and ability to speak out

Aim 9:

Safeguard our independence and stability by maintaining gifts from individuals as our core source of income, while diversifying other sources of income.

We will safeguard our independence and stability by maintaining gifts from individuals as the source of a significant majority of our income, recognising that the economic instability – and political responses to it – accompanying Brexit may constrain people’s ability to give. We will give individual donors a stronger connection with others in the network and a more active sense of being changemakers. We’ll show donors how our grassroots people-power approach multiplies the power of their donation many times, and contributes to impacts for real people. As an organisation that supports, enables and connects people making change on the ground, we’ll also explore new ways in which individuals and groups can give or raise money for their work with Friends of the Earth.

We will increase our flexibility by diversifying our income streams, including through multi-year funding and new innovative approaches.

We will grow our income to enable us to support more people-powered action and hence have more impact. However, if there is a trade-off between income growth and other priorities we will place a greater emphasis, particularly in 2016-18, on increasing:

  • The quality of the experience that people have with us, so that more people stay active with us for longer and act as champions for Friends of the Earth (which should ultimately grow the total value of our supporter base);
  • The diversity of the people involved with us (including on our Board and our staff).

We will align our staff and spending with our strategic priorities, with roughly 70% of our campaigning effort going on building people power and 30% on focusing that power onto decision-makers at key moments. Over time we will rebalance resourcing and staffing away from a main London office towards the communities where people are. Where we maintain significant offices, they will act as a welcoming hub and resource for people wanting to take action towards our goal in line with our values. Over time we will also grow the proportion of our expenditure going to operational campaign spending, relative to fixed and permanent staff costs.

Aim 10:

Defend our freedom to campaign and speak out.

We will defend the freedom for people and civil society organisations to speak out and influence civic life and public policy, championing the role of campaigning in building a good society. This is an existential necessity for us to keep doing our work, but it goes beyond Friends of the Earth or environmental issues, so we will act together with others. It is part of a wider need for post-referendum democratic renewal with high levels of public participation – giving all people freedom to participate in, and freely access information about the decisions that affect them and access justice if decisions are unjust.

Alongside our allies and partners we will participate within wider movements for social justice, such as anti-racism, women’s rights, fuel poverty and opposition to austerity, where they demonstrably intersect with environmental concerns and solutions. Our concerns can only be addressed as part of a tolerant society and an open politics that acknowledges our interdependence.

We remain party political independent and party politically impartial. We will continue to build allies and champions across the mainstream parties to advocate – and vote – in favour of our positions in the UK and devolved Parliaments and in local councils.