The Holy Grail of Grant Writing (excerpts from In the Trenches: Grantsmanship)

Enjoy this excerpt on sustainability from Heather Stombaugh’s book: In the Trenches: Grantsmanship.  Heather is HUB Philanthropic Solutions’ Grants Consultant


Chapter 11: Why is sustainability so important?

For the most part, grant makers do not want the success of an ongoing project to depend entirely on whether or not they provide ongoing funding support. Grant makers want to invest in the impact of your project, not adopt your organization. Grant makers generally favor projects that receive support from a mix of sources and do not depend on their future support to continue providing services.

With rare exceptions, there are two situations that grant makers generally avoid committing themselves to:

1) Being the only source of support for an ongoing project or program.

2) Providing indefinite support to a project.

What should you include in your sustainability statement? You should describe present and historic sources of income for the project. This should include all the different types of revenue (not just grants) your organization uses to raise funds.

  • Do not exaggerate your income projects.
  • If your project includes sharing resources, be sure to describe any projected future cost savings.
  • Do include in-kind resources if they are pertinent to your program.
  • Describe your organization’s success rate in securing grants or other types of support to sustain projects.
  • Identify potential sources of funding support.

If a grant maker’s guidelines do not restrict you from providing future financial data, you might consider formatting your budget to include that information. Moreover, take into consideration what evidence might provide you with assurance if you were to make a significant financial investment and work from that perspective as you develop this section. Remember, impressing a grant maker does not happen by offering exaggerations, but by presenting them with a thoughtful, realistic plan.

What steps will you take to ensure that your grant funder invests in your project?



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