Sustainable Models of Practice and Legacy Effects

Resource type: Research Report

Queen's University Belfast |

How can grantees sustain the impact of their work — especially after their funding ends? This series of research reports identifies sustainability practices and skills that have enabled Atlantic’s grantees in Northern Ireland to continue their work after the foundation ceased funding their operations.

The reports draw on the experiences of organizations from a variety of sectors, each working with different resources and staffing levels. Researchers examined practices and tactics that have enabled these organizations to continue their efforts to achieve social progress in key areas such as aging, rights and reconciliation, and children and young people.

Project Overview

Grantee Reports

The sustainability practices explored in these reports — and featured organizations — include:

Merger and co-location

The creation of more resilient structures by merging, co-locating or sharing back office services. Grantees studied:

Mainstreaming service provision

Mainstreaming services or partnering with government and other funders to scale work. Grantees studied:

Sustainability and social economics

Relying on social enterprise models to diversify income streams and reduce reliance on government grants. Grantees studied: 

Knowledge and the learning organization

Evidence, in the form of structured research, evaluation exercises or action-based projects can help in ways that include enabling the effective and efficient targeting of programs and developing more effective cases for certain types of intervention. Grantees studied: 

Financial infrastructure

Sustaining financial infrastructure helps to create more sustainable, long term revolving funds, some of which are independent of grant aid. Grantees studied: 

Network power

Solidarity within and between sectors, with academia and people as activists, is a critical resource in sustaining practice and building political momentum around advocacy issues. Grantees studied: 

Skills and resources

New  models of practice – even if at first considered controversial — can emerge from a track record for delivery. Grantees studied: 

Global reach

Academic partners and NGOs have been able to attract world renowned scholars and think-tanks by the quality and effectiveness of their work. Grantees studied:


Atlantic commissioned these reports.