UK: The case of the missing plant charities


A new report, Charity Brand Index 2009, provided interesting reading but notable by their absence were plant conservation charities.

I was alerted to the report by reading the excellent blog of World Land Trust CEO, John Burton. The World Land Trust are an extraordinary charity who have worked for over 20 years protecting rainforest around the world, but strangely they weren't in the top 100.


The top 100 charities were whittled down from 150 surveyed through a public survey by factors including: recognition of the charity, willingness to donate, attitudes towards their cause, trust, effectiveness of media relations and understanding of their work. Charities initially made the surveyable 150 to by being the largest terms of voluntary income (donations mainly).

Most the top 100 were big well-known organisations such as Macmillan cancer Support, NSPCC, Oxfam, and Save the Children. The only wildlife charities making the cut were WWF-UK (22), The National Trust (23), The Woodland Trust (43) and a surprisingly low showing for Royal Botanic Gardens Kew (62). I included The National Trust because although they are better known for historic buildings they are also the stewards of some of the UK's finest landscapes and rarest wildlife.

Not being on the list didn't worry Burton: "In theory, as the CEO of a charity,  brand awareness should be very important to me. But in the way this report describes it, it simply is not important or relevant. I am only really interested in how aware our target audience is. Our target audience probably does not include a large part of the general public."

In theory, I agree with him. But something about the list worries me. In the coming years of austerity if wildlife, and particularly plant conservation, charities don't have big enough incomes and, therefore, are not widely recognised by the general public do the plants of the UK have an even more insecure future than they do now? Can organisations such as Plantlife, Landlife, and Flora Locale compete in an increasingly competitive charity environment?

Interestingly the top 100 looks set to change for 2010. Tristan Donovan of the influential Third Sector, said: "We have adjusted the methodology for this year’s edition, which is set to come out in October. We now draw up the list based on voluntary income and income from charitable activities. That change has brought more wildlife charities onto the list including Fauna & Flora International and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust." Good news then.

Related links:

UK: Plantlife gets a new look


plantlife new logoPlantlife, one of the UK's most important plant conservation charities, has received a face-lift from non-profit branding experts Spencer du Bois.

South America: Atlantic Forest brought to life at Chelsea


world land trust exhibit at chelsea flower show The World Land Trust (WLT) has won a coveted gold medal at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show by bringing to life one of the world's most endangered forests.