We’re often asked if funders recognise and support the core messages in The Lasting Difference. The short answer is: mostly! But it might depend where you work.
If you get funding in Scotland – you are definitely funded by organisations that use and support the toolkit. We don’t have permission to list them all, but we’ve trained, supported or presented the toolkit to pretty much every major Scottish funder in recent years. See below for this year’s examples.
If you work in the UK – we’re getting there! We’ve worked with a handful of UK funders but are always keen to reach more. You can help by:
- Sharing the toolkit with your funders (the Creative Commons licence encourages this)
- Referencing it when you answer the question ‘how will you sustain this work when the funding ends?’
- Signing up for the Lasting Difference Symbol.
If you’re a funder – all of the above! Don’t ask applicants about sustainability unless you give them a clear definition and guidance. The toolkit provides these, so reference it in your applications or issue it directly to applicants.
Our friends overseas – we’d love to hear from you and we’ll make extra efforts to help you if we can.
Recent examples – 2020
In Graeme’s book, Making a Lasting Difference, he explores the use of ‘challenge funds’ to support innovation and sustainability. In fact, there were so many parallels between the book’s recommendations and the good practice being developed by this fund that we created a case study to help other people learn from it. You can view it here or download the audio recording here.
One of the things that pleases us most is when people use the toolkit independently and adapt it for their own use (again, the Creative Commons licence permists this for non-commercial use). So when Gannochy Trust devised a programme of ‘engagement and listening events’ using core Lasting Difference indicators, we were delighted. The events were run in partnership with the Trust’s local ‘Third Sector Interface’ (voluntary sector membership body) and aim to capture the strengths, challenges and to work together with organisations to shape future strategic direction, objectives and support on offer.
Like lots of other funders, Corra Foundation identified sustainability as one of the main challenges for grantholders, in this case the Children and Young People Early Intervention Fund. They commissioned three online workshops in the early days of the pandemic, and the final scheduled year of the Fund, to improve grantholders’:
- Ability to sustain the learning from their responses to Covid-19
- Understanding of how to sustain their work and/or its impact
- Readiness for transitioning out of the current fund, with clearly identified exit strategies.
We took the opportunity to redesign our core workshop offer, developing three participatory new online courses that embed the core elements of the Lasting Difference in manageable ways:
Reaching the next horizon: Understanding charity sustainability principles; using learning and evidence to identify what to sustain.
‘Great session – feeling very inspired.’ ‘Brilliant. Well worth the time!’ ‘Fantastic.’
Developing the capabilities: Applying the five capabilities in practice (involvement, income generation, innovation, improvement, impact measurement); sharing challenges and generating solutions.
‘These sessions are so incredibly useful at the moment!’
‘The toolkit is more relevant than ever now and I understand it much better than before.’
Following the exit signs: Identifying the six possible exit strategies for any stage in a project’s lifecycle; planning for the most appropriate strategy; developing ideas for sharing and sustaining learning – the key to all exits. People said:
‘Very helpful and enlightening!’ ‘Such a great experience.’
‘Practical, realisitic ways charities can sustain impact past project close – one of the trickiest questions in the sector’.
Another longstanding funding partner, Impact Funding Partners, wanted their grantholders to benefit from sharing learning about how they had responded to Covid-19. In turn, this helped the funder to understand and support people’s needs when it comes to sustaining projects and their impact. Working with the funder, we devised two interactive workshops, iterating between questions about grantholders’ priorities and tailored content to address them. Here’s what people said:
‘It’s been great!’
‘Good to share experiences and to be prompted to think in new ways.’
‘Good opportuntiy to reflect on a lot of very topical things.’
In some ways, our journey into sustainability began around 2010 with the Health and Social Care Alliance, who as a funder were interested in helping projects sustain the legacy of time-limited funding. So this year’s half-day workshop for Alliance members was a nice way to return to the core themes from all those years ago: sustainability as participation, partnership, profile and pounds and pence.
‘The session was excellent.’
‘Engaging and extremely knowledgeable.’
‘Tutor ensured group participation, which is not always easy to do on virtual platforms.’