Being able to sustain your organisation financially requires that you choose a good funding mix, so that you are not limited to one source of funding. This diversification of funding requires careful planning, thus a strategic approach to sustainable funding is necessary for every organisation.

Sustainability should be seen as a more strategic and rounded approach to ensuring the future financial sustainability of the organisation and this encompasses effective planning and diversification of an organisation’s income. Choosing the right funding mix to drive development is important and the correct timing is essential.  A key element of sustainability is to know what income streams are available and being open to new approaches. The numerous funding opportunities and income streams need to be well understood. They also need to be managed in different ways as there are different individual and organisational relationships to be negotiated.

Sustainable fundraising is an approach that requires strategic planning to account for varied income streams available within an organisation. There are different skills needed to access money from each income source, for example, the ability to fill in a form may be useful in winning grant funding, but understanding how to negotiate would be crucial when it comes to obtaining funds through trading or contracting.

Although organisations are different, the message of diversification applies to everyone. Over-reliance on any single income source is a risk. It is much better to have a diverse funding mix. Exploring available options of funding is essential, and requires thorough research in accordance with an organisation’s developmental cycle. It thus requires appropriate funding within the correct developmental time. Planning future funding allows for:

  • A reduction of dependency on a single income
  • Increased organisational independence
  • A build-up of reserves allowing for a more financially secure future
  • Creation of a sustainable funding base

Sustainable fundraising requires a strategy which is as important an aspect of organisational planning as any other, and should be prioritised as something that is synchronised with the long-term plans of the organisation.

Questions to think about:

  • What do you understand by sustainability?
  • What major issues do you come across when addressing sustainability in your organisation?