Those assessing bids will be asking:
- Will this project have a lasting / sustained impact after the funding period ends?
- Does it include activities that mainstream the learning and skills agenda / ULR role within the core activities of unions (at branch, regional, national level)?
- Does it consolidate and roll-out effective practice?
It is often important to consider and to explain how your project will have a sustained impact. There are many ways that this can be achieved. Some more obvious examples would include:
- Creating enduring culture change in participating organisations
- Upskilling key staff
- Projects focused on meeting set-up / capital costs
- Innovative projects developing new materials and methods
Almost all funders find the idea of there being a 'magic bullet' – a single intervention that can solve a problem in a lasting way, beyond the period of the intervention – enormously appealing. They offer the prospect of freeing the funder from dependent delivery bodies, allowing them to move on to new policies and ideas. In reality, very few interventions can deliver that. Be honest and realistic. It is important to recognise that some activities are not sustainable and cannot be delivered without ongoing financial support or at least ongoing financial support from an alternative funder (which may satisfy the 'sustainability' criteria of some bodies).
Take time to consider how you can design your project to have a sustained impact. Explain this fully to your funder. If, however, your project addresses an enduring problem / market-failure, against which short-term responses are likely to have negligible impact, then say so. You will, however, need to explain why an on-going intervention needing continuing financial support is essential and to ensure that you are applying to an organisation that will not be put off by this.
An example of a mechanism to identify sustainability and return on investment is Social Return on Investment (SROI).