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Sustainable Funding

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is committed to supporting sustainable funding models in the Emigrant Support Programme (ESP) and following a review of the Programme in 2017 we have developed, in line with best practice, a number of guidelines in place to support this objective.

From the perspective of ESP organisations, sustainable funding is about ensuring the ongoing and long term viability of an organisation. Sustainability is about much more than simply obtaining enough money from funders. It requires effective planning and robust financial management together with an understanding of what funding and income opportunities are available and a willingness to diversify into these where possible.

From the perspective of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, sustainable funding is about ensuring that organisations do not become overly reliant on the ESP as a source of funding. Furthermore it is about ensuring that ESP funding is having the best added value for an organisation and is the best use of limited ESP funds.

Reflecting these considerations the ESP has a number of sustainable funding guidelines that grant assessors follow. Some of these guidelines relate to positives, which grant assessors look out for and reward. Some guidelines relate to negatives, which grant officers seek to avoid or minimise exposure to.

Salary Caps

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade wishes to avoid salaried positions becoming overly reliant on ESP funding. The Emigrant Support Programme will consider applications for contributions towards salaries and other recurring expenditure only in the context of a clearly defined project whose outcomes meet ESP’s objectives.

In general we avoid supporting 100% of given salary costs and while each application is considered on its own merits, we consider 80% funding of any given salary as an appropriate upper limit in most cases. 

Salary Increases

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trades acknowledges that there will be instances where the cost of a position may increase. In cases where salary increases are noted, and where funding is sought for salaries, a strong business case should be made as part of the application.

Fundraising Strategies

Fundraising should become an integral part of an organisation’s work and should be accounted for under an organisations strategic goals. From a grant assessor’s perspective, organisations with fundraising strategies in place and which have been successful, are viewed favourably. This is particularly the case where an organisation showcases their fundraising activities in ways that complement their day to day operations. This can take the form of drawing upon clear metrics for funding applications, to using case studies to solicit public support, to hosting fundraising events that bring together clients and donors, potential or existing.

The role of the board and management team is important in developing and monitoring fundraising strategies and targets and they could, inter alia, look at setting:

  • An appropriate balance between different sources of fundraised income e.g. institutional funding vs public fundraising
  • What methods of fundraising are appropriate for the organisation
  • Realistic fundraising targets and actions to  support their achievement

Fundraising Diversification

More and more, grant assessors are looking at funding diversification as an indicator of an organisation’s sustainability. Most organisations should have multiple income streams, although it is often the case that one or two sources predominate. Diversifying funding and increasing the number of funding sources minimises risk and reliance on any one funder. Diversification like this therefore is critical to an organisation’s sustainability and it is also looked on favourably by grant assessors as a sign of a professional and successful organisation.