Ecosystem services can bridge biodiversity conservation and development needs, but there is little information available on how conservation organizations implement such projects. We documented 103 ecosystem service projects - from 37 countries - implemented by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). These projects commonly involved traditional conservation tactics, such as land purchase and restoration, but also adopted new approaches, such as targeting working landscapes, using new financial tools, and drawing new funding and partners from the corporate sector. We identified nine specific project types, characterized by consistent combinations of tools and activities. TNC and WWF used project types differently; TNC focused more on land purchase, whereas WWF concentrated more on developing markets. Both organizations showed some alignment of project type with socioeconomic conditions. For example, land purchases were used in countries with relatively secure property rights, while access to clean water or food was targeted when these human needs were unmet.