Our Strategic Plan

Our mission is to cultivate a global community working for a world where nature is understood, valued and protected

What does this mean for the Linnean Society?

The beauty and value of nature is without limit. We are all enriched by a deeper understanding of the natural world. Protecting nature is essential, particularly in the context of the climate and biodiversity crises affecting all life on Earth. It has never been more important to integrate knowledge of the past and present to better inform actions in the future.

The Linnean Society has a unique and valued heritage as a forum for natural history. As a learned society with globally important collections, our members share diverse experiences and interests to enhance the understanding of the natural world. Through our charitable activities, we aim to inspire curiosity and appreciation of nature more widely. By providing rich knowledge of nature and by translating that knowledge into action, we can and should be active contributors to solving the current crises.

There is public support for nature, as well as awareness and concern that it needs protecting, but there are substantial barriers to action. Our strategy centres around addressing these barriers. We will harness our many assets to provide people with the tools, knowledge, and motivation to make a positive difference for nature. We will proactively bring together individuals and communities to share their experiences and expertise about the natural world. We will facilitate the generation and exchange of information and champion underrepresented voices. We will support those new to nature to learn more and take action. We will build on our unique heritage to work towards a world where nature is understood, valued, and protected.

We have prioritised four pillars of activity to achieve this strategy.

Membership – working for nature

Members and guests in the Linnean Society's library
© The Linnean Society

We are a membership organisation. Our members are advocates for nature around the globe. We will grow, diversify, and support our membership to expand their capacity to work in support of our mission.

Our members are central to achieving our mission. They encompass the full spectrum of experience – world-renowned specialists, nature lovers, and enthusiastic supporters. Their breadth and depth of knowledge covers natural history in all its branches. We will have clear ways for members to lead and participate in activities aligned to our mission, and we will strengthen our membership in its diversity, impact, and global reach.

Key actions include:

  • Growing our membership, increasing its diversity and international representation
  • Ensuring access to membership is inclusive and equitable
  • Developing accessible and welcoming pathways to membership
  • Recognising and celebrating the contributions of our members, particularly those with underrepresented or under-recognised knowledge of the natural world
  • Enabling active participation of members in achieving our mission
  • Providing opportunities for members to meet and share perspectives

Research – deepening the understanding of nature

A researcher helping a student
© The Linnean Society

We are an international resource and hub for the study of the natural world. We will leverage our collections and other assets to promote and enable research and action for nature.

Research is critical to a comprehensive understanding of nature and how to protect it. We will support research by increasing access to our collections, strengthening our journals, enabling diverse, international networks, and developing new avenues for funding and disseminating research.

Key actions include:

  • Curating and increasing visibility, access, and use of our collections to maximise their research impact
  • Conserving our collections to enable research and safeguarding them for future generations
  • Facilitating diversity in all aspects of natural history research
  • Expanding our grants programmes
  • Building and supporting international research networks
  • Increasing journal influence and resilience to changes in the publication landscape
  • Better integrating our publications, membership, events, and communications with research to increase reach and impact

Society – nature for everyone

Person speaking into a microphone
© The Linnean Society

We will motivate people to take positive action, because protecting the natural world requires the involvement of the whole of society.

Using our collections, programmes and membership, we inspire curiosity in and build understanding of the natural world. We will motivate more people worldwide to protect nature. We will bring people with diverse experiences together to learn from each other and develop new networks and action-oriented programmes for nature. We will support our membership to be ambassadors for public engagement with nature.

Key actions include:

  • Using our collections and publications to share the beauty of the natural world, inspire new audiences, and increase knowledge and understanding
  • Supporting new networks across communities to share insights and experiences of nature, building on our role as an international hub
  • Nurturing young people’s interest in, and activism for, nature
  • Using our iconic building and heritage to attract policymakers, influencers, and other key leaders across sectors for informed debate.
  • Resourcing and amplifying underrepresented voices for nature
  • Partnering with neighbouring societies and other like-minded organisations to increase visibility and impact
  • Mobilising our membership to be ambassadors and advocates for nature

Operations – resourcing our work

Couple looking at an exhibition
© The Linnean Society

We recognise that to achieve our strategy, we need to be resilient and sustainable. We will ensure that we have the right tools, resources and staff to deliver our mission.

Our staff and trustees are critical to the delivery of our mission. We will ensure they have the necessary skills and development opportunities to thrive. We must build our resilience and adopt a sustainable approach to increasing our reach and impact. We need to develop additional avenues to resource our ambition.

Key actions include:

  • Developing our income streams, including philanthropy and legacies, to ensure financial sustainability and expand our programmes
  • Ensuring appropriate governance, records management, and compliance with relevant legislation
  • Staffing activities appropriately, and supporting employees’ career development and well-being
  • Investing in Burlington House to improve access, use, and sustainability
  • Integrating events, exhibitions, publications, and membership to maximise impact
  • Investing in improved marketing and communications to boost visibility and reach new audiences
  • Setting up appropriate evaluation mechanisms to assess our impact and effectiveness