Once you have built up a picture of the likely new or shifting needs and operational challenges that climate change may bring, you will be able to identify options for how your organisation could respond.
Addressing new needs
If you believe that your beneficiaries are likely to have significant new needs or your user group will grow, you could:
- start planning to meet these extra needs yourself by expanding your services or increasing capacity in other ways, for example, through partnerships with other providers
- encourage other players to help tackle these climate-related needs
- revisit the scope of your work in the light of this growing demand, and perhaps even redefine your mission to focus your efforts.
Advocating on climate-related needs
Ensuring integrated services
You might have a role to play encouraging your partners or stakeholders to take climate change seriously too, so that your beneficiaries receive a seamless service in other areas of their lives as well. This is a question the British Red Cross has recently explored.
Or perhaps your own experiences of tackling these issues will enable you to lead by example in your specialist area, helping to ensure all the beneficiaries in your field are supported effectively into the future, whether or not you work with other operators. Equinox Care, for instance, believes it has a part to play along these lines in the drug and alcohol sector. Umbrella and sector support bodies also have a key role to lead by example on climate change, to help set agendas and carry messages from their members to decision-makers.
With climate change affecting many different groups of people globally and in the UK, you may decide you have a responsibility to ensure that the climate change impacts on your own beneficiaries are understood and considered by government and other decision makers. For example, Friends of the Elderly is aware that calls to reduce energy use could have a negative impact on older people who need to stay warm. But at the same time, energy efficiency would be of great benefit in reducing the bills of older people in fuel poverty. So the charity wants to ensure that older people's needs are identified and climate change policies and messages are nuanced enough to protect them.
Campaigning to prevent climate change
You might decide that the longer-term impacts of climate change on your work are so great that your organisation needs to take a more public stand and advocate for action to ensure that we tackle the carbon emission problem successfully.
The ideas featured here are all major questions which will affect the future direction of your organisation. They need to be built into your ongoing strategic planning processes. Some of your operational challenges may also need to be addressed in the same way. Others might be best built into your ongoing risk management processes.
To help you assess the importance for your organisation of the different climate change trends, you may find the tools on the NCVO Third Sector Foresight website useful. The top tips in this section also offer some practical guidance.
Whatever decisions you make, it’s still vital to act sustainably so that your organisation doesn’t inadvertently contribute to making climate change worse.
Advice and support
- Funding and finance
- Coping with cuts
- Addressing needs
- Managing change
- Planning for the future
- Involving people
- Public Service Delivery
- Governance and leadership
- Compact Advocacy programme
- Campaigning and influencing policy
- Collaborative working
- ICT (information and communication technology)
- Climate change
- People, HR and employment