The ability to sustain a community initiative beyond a grant funding period can be just as important (if not more important) as securing the initial funding. Being awarded a grant is exciting because the funds, most often, create the opportunity for new services and the development of assets whether they are financial, human, or capital assets. Every discretionary grant, however, comes with the reality check that the funding could and probably will end someday. Discontinued funding can have a devastating impact on your participants, stakeholders, partners, staff, and community. Without a proper sustainability plan, these entities can feel as though the rug has been pulled out from under them and that your organization has failed to meet its commitments.
A good grant manager must task oneself with constantly traversing and overcoming the challenge of sustainability for each and every grant and initiative he/she manages. That is, each and every grant and initiative worthy of sustainability. Grant leaders should always be asking the important questions that speak to the heart of sustainability:
- How does an agency keep its projects, programs, and the overall organization alive after a grant funding period is over?
- What is the agency really needing and trying to sustain?
- Is what the agency desiring to sustain proven to be a quality resource or service to the community with validated results?
- If an agency continues to provide the resources once funded by a grant, can it fulfil the same level of service? If not, how does one define the level in which sustainability should occur and how does that level impact desired outcomes?
- What other resources can be secured to achieve sustainability at an ideal level?
Over the next year, Resource Associates will be providing you with innovative case studies and tips on how achieve sustainability for practically any program or initiative. Resource Associates’ professionals are the sustainability experts. After founding our own 501C3 many years ago and running well over $7 million in grants, we offer exceptional insight into this difficult topic.
Stay tuned for more to come…