Frequently Asked Questions

What is your mission and how do you work?

Our mission is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends.

We bring a science-based approach to conservation delivering pragmatic solutions, working collaborative with all agents of society, at a scale and pace to effectively build a sustainable world. A world, where our quality of life for us and future generations continues to thrive on a healthy environment.


Today’s society faces unprecedented challenges. Dwindling natural resources, declining economies, a rapidly changing climate and other threats require that all of us begin working together to reach common solutions.

More than ever before, we must find innovative ways to ensure that nature can continue to provide the food, clean water, energy and other services our growing population depends upon for survival. Now is a time of opportunity. A time to move conservation from the sidelines of global priorities to the center of the world stage—because human wellbeing depends on a healthy, diverse environment. 

What do you do?

Since 1951 globally, and for over 12 years in Australia, we have been working in partnership with individuals, local communities, government agencies and private businesses to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends.

We empower our supporters to be catalysts for change. Through personal action, every supporter is on a journey to address environmental issues, one effort at a time. We equip our supporters with the knowledge to be ambassadors for nature, spreading their passion for smart and impactful conservation across their personal networks. Whether as an individual, or collectively as a corporation, you can be a catalyst for change.

What makes you different from other charities in the same space?

We have the experience, the vision and the scientific expertise to conserve our planet in ways that will make a real and lasting difference—starting today. Plus, as a global organisaion, we have the unique resources needed to enact positive change at the scope and pace our world so critically requires.

Do you work on the Great Barrier Reef?

Not at the moment, there are a lot of conservation organisations that are involved with The Great Barrier Reef, so a lot of great work is already happening there. We work in areas where we can have the most impact, and many of our projects are in locations which desperately need support but are less well-known.

How do you approach your work?

Everything we do is based on sound evidence aided by our hundreds of staff scientists who are experts in their fields.  In Australia we have 8 staff scientists and there are over 500 staff scientists around the world gathering, sharing and using their knowledge. Our Ecological Science program works with many partner groups to increase knowledge and awareness of conservation values and how they should be protected and managed.

What educational/knowledge sharing opportunities do you offer?

We have provided 33 fellowships to 11 partner organisations in Australia to build partners’ capacity in conservation planning and manager, fundraising and leadership development.

What is your role in the Natural Reserve System?

The National Reserve System is Australia’s collective place-based conservation effort and includes public, private and indigenous conservation areas. More than 17% of Australia is protected in the National Reserve system and it is made up of over 10,000 individual protected areas. In all, the National Reserve System covers an area about twenty times the size of Tasmania. We have helped achieve the acquisition and/or management of 29 high priority additions to the National Reserve System, covering 3.5 million ha including many of the largest private protected areas in Australia.

How do you work with Indigenous communities for conservation?

We have a track record of delivering projects that have social, economic and community results. We are currently influencing conservation over nearly 40 million hectares of Indigenous lands across northern Australia’s vast savannas and aridland deserts from the Kimberley to the Cape and Central Australia.

Working collaboratively with Indigenous communities underpins much of our work. For example, we have worked in collaboration with the Kimberly Land Council, and Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC).

We were delighted with the declaration of the Karajarri indigenous Protected Area (IPA) that covers over 2.4 million hectares and conserves diverse coastal and desert ecosystems.

The new IPA was established and protected by a partnership between the Kimberly Land Council The Nature Conservancy, the Australian Federal Government and indigenous landholders.

Traditional landowners will continue to manage this massive area through the work of indigenous rangers.

One of our greatest achievements has been to partner with the NRS program of the Australian Government and the ILC to secure and return ownership of Fish River Station to its Traditional Owners. Fish River is a 182 thousand hectares property that supports extensive savanna woodlands and floodplain wetlands as well as at least 4 nationally threatened animals.

What role are you playing in improving the capacity of indigenous communities to manage their land and improve lives?

We are collaborating with the Indigenous people and organisations including Aboriginal corporations and land management groups, Land Councils, peak bodies and National Government bodies to place that land in the hands of Indigenous Australians who will sustainably manage it.

The employment of Indigenous rangers will be critical to this work, with the Conservancy supporting land management planning and training in and habitat restoration so that traditional knowledge and the best modern science are combined for lasting results.

We are also learning from, and working with Indigenous conservationists in the area of fire management.  We are combining traditional ecological knowledge with Western science to manage savannah grasslands across Northern Australia to not only conserve the regions incredible biodiversity but also store carbon dioxide in the vegetation to combat and mitigate the effects of climate change.

What are you doing to build the capacity for conservation across Australia generally?

Across Australia, we have invested in training many  Conservation Action Planning coaches, resulting in the Action Planning being used by over 20 organisations in hundreds of places across Australia.

What will happen if people don’t give to The Nature Conservancy Australia?

We need to act quickly; we are truly up against the clock.  We are ready and have a plan, but we need more people with us.  The actions you are already taking for conservation are important, but they alone are not enough.  We need you to be part of a worldwide effort to turn things around.

Do you accept one-off donations?

Yes – please do make a one-off donation any time with your credit card.

Why do you do Face to Face fundraising?

Fundraising in this way is one of our most cost-effective ways to find new supporters, as it means we sign people up to become regular givers. Regular giving gives us long term, dependable revenue, so we can invest in big projects, confident that the money will be there to fund them. We do fundraise in other ways, and try to offer as many different ways for people to get involved in the cause.

Why don’t you use volunteers for Face to Face fundraising?

The job requires extensive ongoing training and people who will work in a unique environment for 7 hours a day, 5 days a week. It is a demanding job, both mentally and physically, and not suitable for a volunteer. Although fundraisers do get paid, it is still our most cost effective fundraising program as it means we sign people up to become regular givers. Regular giving gives us long term, dependable revenue, so we can invest in big projects, confident that the money will be there to fund them. We do fundraise in other ways, and try to offer as many different ways for people to get involved in the cause.

What are your administration costs?

We all want as much donated money as possible to go to the cause, but every charity has administration costs. We are committed to keeping our administration costs as low as possible.