Financial sustainability remains a critical challenge for civil society organizations (CSOs) around the world. Although a variety of toolkits and research papers exist examining specific sustainability strategies, many CSOs continue to struggle to develop and maintain the resources they need to carry out their missions. This constraint limits organizational autonomy by inhibiting long-term planning and flexibility in designing and implementing activities. Financial sustainability is also a key piece of the puzzle to empower local organizations to take greater ownership of the development process, as a robust resource base provides the resilience needed for organizations to experiment with new models that reduce long-term donor dependence. This paper synthesizes the findings from the analyses of both funders and CSOs. This represents one part of the three-part FFS research series, and is best considered alongside the other two papers in the series to give a holistic perspective on CSO financial sustainability: Funder Approaches to CSO Sustainability, which includes a deep-dive analysis of the landscape of strategies used by funders interested in supporting sustainability, and Understanding Factors Driving CSO Financial Sustainability, which lays out the full findings from interviews with representatives from more than 30 CSOs.
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