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Finding the Right Path for the Financial Sustainability of CSOs

LINC and our partner, Peace Direct, hosted a ‘Civil Society Financial Sustainability’ workshop in London on November 6th and 7th. The event brought together a small number of diverse stakeholders currently working on the issue of financial sustainability, including donors and local civil society actors.

Over the past two and a half years, LINC, Peace Direct, and Foundation Center have conducted research looking into issues around financial sustainability for local civil society. As the 3-year USAID funded ‘Facilitating Financial Sustainability’ (FFS) project is now coming to a close, the consortium is excited to share learnings from this project and collaborate with peers to identify how these learnings can be best incorporated into practice by civil society actors, INGOs and funders concerned with financial sustainability.

The first day of the workshop included presentations on research around financial sustainability, localization and collective action from the FFS consortium, IFRC and Christian Aid. Specific learnings from the FFS consortium focused on the use of ‘Action Learning Groups’ in Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Colombia to shift systemic factors impacting financial sustainability. The second day of the workshop included a collaborative design process to identify the ‘ideal output’ for the FFS project, which aims to provide civil society actors, INGOs and funders with guidance and support for defining their own paths to financial sustainability.

Workshop attendees during one of the working sessions.

Attendees agreed that there is significant interest in and attention on the financial sustainability of civil society. However, research and findings are fragmented across different organizations and initiatives. FFS plans to work with workshop attendees to “connect the dots” across these efforts to bolster the utility of the research findings from the FFS activity for CSOs and donors.

On November 21, 2019 LINC will host a follow-up workshop in Mexico City with donors and local civil society actors. We look forward to sharing the results of that workshop and next steps for the FFS consortium later this month.