Rotary Foundation Grants 101: Being a Sustainable Project
Updated: Feb 17, 2020
Congratulations! You're qualified! But now what? Now, we work on a project being Sustainable. But what does this mean? For Rotary, sustainability means providing long-term solutions to community problems that community members themselves can support after grant funding ends. How can you make your project sustainable?
Be sure to:
• Start with the community. Host sponsors (the Club writing the Grant) should work with members of the benefiting community (the International contact) to identify a need and develop a solution that builds on community strengths and aligns with local values and culture.
• Encourage local ownership. It’s a true sign of a project’s success when community members embrace the project as their own. Empowering community members to assess their needs and plan projects that address them leads to the most effective projects and the most sustainable outcomes. Identify key community members who can advocate for lasting improvements.
• Provide training. A project’s success depends on people. By providing training, education, and community out-reach, you strengthen beneficiaries’ ability to meet project objectives. Make sure a plan to transfer knowledge to new beneficiaries is ready. Collaborate with local organizations to provide this training.
• Buy local. Purchase equipment and technology from local sources whenever possible. Make sure that spare parts are available locally, too. Make sure that community members can operate, maintain, and repair equipment on their own. Compensate your project’s vendors appropriately so they have an incentive to continue providing supplies.
• Find local funding. Getting funding from local governments, hospitals, companies, and other organizations integrates your project into the local community and supports your project’s long-term success.
• Measure your success. First, gather data before you begin the project to determine where you are starting from. Include clear and measurable outcomes in your project plan, and decide how you’ll collect data throughout your project and afterward. Maintaining a strong relationship with the community can help you collect data and also address any issues that the data reveals.
Global grants require all of these sustainability practices listed above. In the International Grant application, you’ll explain how your project will include each of them. You can also contact your regional grants officer to discuss how you can incorporate these practices into your project.