The Lasting Difference Symbol helps you to demonstrate to funders, partners, staff and communities that your organisation is committed to developing good practice.
As a symbol holder, you’ll join a community of practice, with facilitated peer support and an annual networking event to share ideas and generate new learning about sustainability. Along with our subscribers, you will also be our first port of call when we have new opportunities and resources to share.
“It’s important to feel part of such a warm and welcoming group of talented leaders, to take part in the practice sharing events and to share the learning from the incredibly useful resources produced by your amazing team.” (Lasting Difference Symbol holder)
Applying to use the Symbol is simple. Just download further information and the application form here. Applications are reviewed quarterly. Our next deadline for applications is 31st December 2022. Once approved, the trademarked logo can be used on all your organisation’s publicity materials for the next two years.
“Being a symbol holder is hugely beneficial both as an individual and an organisation. It is a declaration of our commitment to create a lasting difference.” (Lasting Difference Symbol holder)
Remember, it’s a journey not a destination, so you can apply right now, wherever you are on the road.
Examples include organisations whose strategies contain organisational sustainability goals; boards forming sub-committees on the topic; senior managers creating lateral leadership opportunities, teams developing criteria for prioritising funding applications and projects creating exit strategies for their work.
The Symbol Holders
Any non-profit organisation (charities, social enterprises or public sector organisations) can apply for The Lasting Difference symbol, including funders. Find out more about our existing symbol holders below.
Befriending Networks are an intermediary organisation who involve their members in their evaluation, learning and improvement. They have developed their income generation strategy to ensure their services are sustainable across the UK from a range of income sources.
“I hope that by becoming a symbol holder and maintaining our close links and using the new resources we can inform our thinking and practice over the next two years to continue our journey and ensure that we don’t grow too quickly or become unsustainable by poor planning, leadership or decisions.”
Camphill School Aberdeen
Camphill has developed their own self-assessment tool, drawing on some of the principles from the Lasting Difference and Lasting Leadership guides. They’ll be using this to involve their teams in identifying priorities. They’ll also be using the Lasting Difference self-assessment to review their sustainability as an organisation. This will then feed into a new sustainability plan for the organisation.
“It will provide us with the tools to understand change and adapt to it without compromising future capacity.”
Dyslexia Scotland have embedded sustainability thinking into their strategic planning processes, supporting good governance, developing funding plans and involving volunteers.
“We found the resources and ways of working dyslexia-friendly, accessible and inclusive. I would encourage other organisations to use the practical and inspiring resources and ideas in this toolkit – and to join a new community of practice, to support the ongoing challenges of sustainability in the third sector.”
Future Pathways are a national service who support people who experienced childhood abuse or neglect in Scotland. Sustainability is firmly embedded in their work, providing sustainable impact for those they support; promoting reflection and learning through their quality assurance tools and generating a legacy of learning for future services.
Health in Mind
Health in Mind promote positive mental health and wellbeing in communities across Scotland. By involving a wide range of stakeholders in their strategy development, using the Lasting Difference toolkit as a focus, they have firmly embedded sustainability in their new strategy.
“Integrating sustainability into our plans ensures that as an organisation we can be there for people where, how and when they need us. It helps us understand when to say yes and when to say no – to focus on our purpose, strengths and raise our profile whilst keeping people and communities at the heart of all we do.”
Larkhall and District Volunteer Group
Larkhall and District Volunteer Group deliver activities and services which promote the wellbeing of the 55+ community in South Lanarkshire. They have a firm focus on their core purpose, embracing change when it helps them to work more effectively, but resisting taking on new work that doesn’t meet their aima and objectives.
Merida Associates are the first commercial partner to be awarded the symbol. The Lasting Difference licence permits non-commercial use only, but intermediary organisations and consultancies like Merida can apply for a separate commercial licence. The Merida team now support clients using Lasting Difference principles in their consultancy throughout the West Midlands.
The Oxygen Works
The Oxygen Works provide oxygen therapy and personal support in the Scottish Highlands. They have used the Lasting Difference to inform a re-brand and re-launch to ensure their work meets their core purpose and is clear to stakeholders.
Sacro provide support for people in and leaving the criminal justice sector, for vulnerable people who are victims of crime, for people affected by homelessness and to people with learning disabilities and mental health challenges. They used Lasting Difference principles to involve people from across their organisation in creating a strategy which focuses on their core values. They are now investing in sustainable leadership by creating capacity for leadership development.
“We believe that this approach makes us braver – saying no is a brave thing to do – we will all be focused on our core and work towards a stronger organisation. We will also get even better at the things we do best.”
Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance
Through their Lasting Difference self-assessment, SIAA have identified the need to focus on involvement and impact. They have adapted their approaches to better understand and respond to their members’ needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have improved their approach for data collection to better understand and report on their own impact.
“As a small organisation, the way we keep organisational sustainability as a central consideration has been to have regular discussions internally and with the board around member involvement and impact measurement and shape our work plan around member feedback.”
Shelter Scotland sets out its long-term commitments in a ten-year strategy. The team are clear on how to measure impact, use this to identify successes and potential improvements, and have involved the whole organisation in strategy development. This stands them in good stead for making a lasting difference.
“It keeps us focused on our organisational purpose and ensures that is our north star. The most important element has been to challenge ourselves to only deliver what meets our purpose. This means saying no and it also means stopping things we currently do or reshaping them to ensure they are future-focused.”
Starcatchers have embedded sustainability thinking and tools into their planning cycle, with successful use of the Exit Strategies section of the toolkit and Income Analysis template.
“The Lasting Difference provides such a clear framework for our organisational development. It fits perfectly with our purpose-led approach with clear processes for decision-making.”
Stop it Now! Scotland
Stop It Now! Scotland were part of a programme which developed the Beyond Survival toolkit of resources to enable survivor support organisations become more sustainable. They took the learning from this back to their organisation and conducted a sustainability self-assessment to identify their main challenges. They now have an action plan in place and are starting to conduct self-assessments for each of their projects. They are embedding sustainability thinking into their work and it is now a standing item during staff development meetings.
“Integrating sustainability into our forward planning will allow us to have clear exit strategies for each project. It has also encouraged us to identify potential challenges which may threaten our long-term future and encourage us to have action plans which identify clear lines of responsibility. It allows us to identify and consider any threats to sustainability in good time so that a potential problem does not become a crisis.”
Victim Support Scotland
VSS have a sustainability focus across the organisation, including: involving staff and volunteers in strategic planning; leadership team development sessions; and lateral leadership programmes with Learning and Improvement Groups.
“The toolkit has opened our eyes to the ways that we can ensure our sustainability and future as an organisation, which ultimately will help victims and witnesses across Scotland.”
Voluntary Action North Lanarkshire
Voluntary Action North Lanarkshire are ambitious in their aims to build the sustainability of local voluntary organisations. They have developed an action learning programme where participants can build their capacity with peer support. Alongside this, they have focus on their own strategic development.
“We have refocussed our strategic objectives, strengthened our Board, reviewed organisational structure, in the process of recruiting and exploring funding to support the achievement of our strategic objectives, and starting the process of systematising our evaluation and learning approach.”