10.6. Project sustainability
Detailed Exit Strategy
Begin by mapping out a clear exit strategy that describes how the project will transition from being grant-funded to being self-sustainable or how its benefits will continue to be felt by its beneficiaries.
Diversify Funding Sources
Explore multiple avenues for funding including private sector partnerships, local government support, crowdfunding, and more. Avoid reliance on a single source.
Invest in the training and development of local staff and stakeholders. This ensures that there is local expertise to continue the project even after the initial funding and external support end.
Engage stakeholders, both beneficiaries and local authorities, from the beginning to ensure they have a vested interest in the project’s continuation.
Build Strong Partnerships
Form partnerships with local businesses, NGOs, and other relevant organisations. These entities can provide both resources and expertise to keep the project running.
Design your project in a modular or scalable fashion. Start with a pilot, and if it is successful, expand gradually. This can demonstrate efficacy and attract additional funding.
Document Successes and Lessons Learned
Maintain detailed records of what works and what does not. This not only aids in refining your approach but can also be used as evidence to attract further support or funding.
For projects that can have revenue-generating components, focus on making them profitable. This can include training local participants in business skills or investing in marketing for the products/services of the project.
Promote Local Ownership
Empower the local community or stakeholders to take ownership of the project. This sense of ownership can drive them to find ways to sustain the project after the initial funding.
Monitor and Evaluate
Continuously monitor the project’s progress and evaluate its impacts. By understanding its strengths and weaknesses, you can make necessary adjustments and ensure its long-term viability.
Seek Policy Integration
If your project aligns with national or regional priorities, work towards integrating it into local or national policies. This can ensure that it gets sustained support and recognition.
Establish a Legacy Plan
This goes beyond an exit strategy. Think about how the project’s infrastructure, knowledge, and resources can be utilised for future initiatives, ensuring that the project’s benefits continue in some form.
Practical project applications
Support for the transformation of the Home at Rychmburk Castle, Domov Na cestě, Czech Republic: Domov Na ceste uses EU funds to transition from institutional to community-based services. By sharing knowledge stemming from this transition process with countries like Croatia and Slovenia, they increase sustainability.
Innovative approaches in the Pardubice Region, Pardubický kraj, Czech Republic: The Pardubice Region commits to sustaining project practices beyond the obligatory period. They intend to share their methods community-wide and stress quality assurance through regular audits.
Quality audits in social services, The Association of Social Care Providers of the Czech Republic: The Association of Social Care Providers of the Czech Republic provides ongoing access to project resources, promoting continuous learning and quality assurance through both offline seminars and online resources.