A definition of sustainability from Merriam-Webster online is: able to be used without being completely used up or destroyed.
The ultimate in sustainable income is a royalty or fee based income stream that “renews” monthly or regularly for a service or product that is something the user truly needs. The challenge for charities is that they need to be delivering a service that a donor believes the end-user really needs and is willing to pay for. That’s why charities are constantly desiring monthly pre-authorized donors. Why not? Predictable income with little effort once acquired. The issue is that anything worth having is worth continued effort.
Although monthly income is desirable, true sustainability comes in many forms. Monthly donors still leave when a holistic communications platform isn’t in place to actually sustain engagement.
The ultimate in sustainability is being able to sustain the activity that supports multi-channel, multi-level engagement and revenue. The challenge and true value proposition is to capture the data that informs and ensures the activities are sustainable in that they are affordable, actionable and predictably profitable.
Don’t be fooled, sustainability isn’t the silver bullet of being able to sit back and watch the money roll in (that’s winning the lottery-good luck) sustainability is an activity based fundraising system that undoubtedly takes sustained effort, but yields predictable results.