Aging By Design: Project Sustainability

Aging By Design provided funding for 18 months to support the continued use and implementation of projects/improvements generated through human-centered design. 

As this funding period came to an end, the Aging By Design project team and grantees began working on the identification of ‘sustainability pathways’ that similar projects and initiatives can use or borrow. 

Sustainability is the ability to sustain the work and the impact for as long as there is a need for them.

— National Center on Nonprofit Enterprise

What is sustainability?

Project sustainability means different things to different people, and the needs of your particular organization or projects are likely to require some advance planning. Here are some examples of what sustainability can mean to an initiative:

  • A project remaining in place for at least two years past the grant-funded period

  • Qualifying for funding from a different source

  • Financing project operations from multiple funding sources

  • Creating a revenue-generating business or a set of activities that produce income

  • Successful applications for large state or federal grants

  • Permanent changes in processes (staff, training, operations) to ensure practices are institutionalized 

Helpful Resources

Planning for Sustainability | Community Tool Box | One of the most comprehensive online resources with how-to’s, guides, and worksheets to help secure outside funding, obtaining corporate resources, marketing your initiative, developing fee-for-services structure, and becoming a line item in existing budgets. 

Nonprofit Sustainability | National Council on Nonprofits | Learn more about what it takes to operate your project over the long term so that you can continue achieving impact. This resource focuses on avoiding the nonprofit starvation cycle and provides a variety of tools to prepare for overhead costs, build better budgets, and maintain financial sustainability.

Sustainability Planning Workbook | Georgia Health Policy Center | Use this workbook to create a sustainability plan for your project or program. This workbook is designed to support the development of community health systems and provides helpful examples and templates.