sustainability section grant proposal writing

How to write the sustainability section of a grant

One of the most neglected aspects of any grant proposal federal, state, or foundation is the sustainability section.


Funders often ask how your organization plans to sustain its activities. They want to see you’ll survive after their investment period has ended, after you’ve cashed their check. They want to rest easy knowing your nonprofit won’t close its doors a few months after they send you grant money.


From a nonprofit’s perspective, the answer seems obvious: We’ll raise more money! Duh! But that’s not good enough. If you don’t pay close attention to this section and develop a good plan, it will be a major red flag against funding your proposal. Raising more money rather through grants or individual donations or events is a good starting point, but consider some other avenues, such as:


Sustainability with Fees for Service


How can you build revenue into the services you’re providing? Consider fees for services, or a sliding scale that takes into account the income of those you’re serving. This is one often overlooked aspect of the sustainability section. But, you can strengthen this significantly by including fees for service.


Annual Fund Campaigns in the Sustainability Section


This can be strengthened if you build a membership program that obtains recurring donations  however small  from loyal donors.


Major Gifts


Show you are building a pool of major gift donors that will help infuse significant cash into your budget.


In-Kind Donations


List partnerships with companies and corporations that sponsor events and/or provide in-kind services.


Closing Thoughts on the Sustainability Section


Get creative with your fundraising strategies. Diversify your approach. That means never, ever rely solely on grant writing. And, be thorough when describing your fundraising efforts long-term. Taking the time to really flesh out the sustainability section will help put funders’ minds at ease. Then, they’ll be more likely to chip in with a grant.


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