Part 8: Sustainability

This stage should go some way to answering the inevitable question: How much will this cost? Of course, it's not possible to answer that question without focusing on a specific project. But reading this section will equip you with the knowledge to make a good estimate. Working out how much something will cost is not an easy task. It requires lots of detail and can take time to draw it all together. But this effort will pay off by giving a realistic picture of the cost AND the benefit of setting up a social media project.

It's important to point out that this section is in addition to the seven steps listed already, in setting up and running a social media project for marginalised young people. The seven steps should be carried out in order, but Part 8. Sustainability, is a goal which should be considered throughout the life of the project. So, read the recommendations here, take a long hard look at your organisation and consider the costs and benefits in engaging in a social media project.

Spend time working out the key components of the organisation which will be drawn upon for the project. This includes manpower, ICT hardware and software, internet access for young people, maintenance costs and so on. Be realistic in assessing these factors. Use the insights gained during the course of the INCLUSO game (see Part 1: Is it right for you?). If you underestimate costs or time or effort etc, then you are likely to find yourself struggling in some of these areas.

Of course, it’s not all about costs. There are likely to be benefits in the form of savings to your organisation. Look for opportunities for external funding to pay for things like upgrading computers, staff training, ICT support ansd so on. Be proactive about this. Social media is a hot topic and funding bodies will listen to what you have to say. And then there's volunteer or free support.

The message here is: be creative and look around for ways of funding your requirements. Remember, sustainability is all about covering your costs.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  • List the resources you need in order to run the project
    • Manpower
      • Personnel
      • Consulting
    • Hardware
    • Software
    • Training
    • Internet connectivity for your staff or youngsters
    • Maintenance & support
    • Any other costs you need to make related to the project you want to set up (organising a kick-off, …) which are not already embedded in your organisation
  • Calculate the savings and benefits your project will generate for your organisations
    • Online communication can save a lot of costs (eg. telephone, meetings and so on)
  • Find out whether some of these resources can be provided for by in-kind support
    • Volunteers
    • Placements by universities, colleges, internships
    • Free or discounted hardware, software and internet
    • Refurbished computers
    • Sponsorship by companies or other organisations
    • Support from IT departments by local authorities or other nearby organisations
  • Find the extra money you need from external funding organisations
    • Keep an eye on local, national and international initiatives to support these kinds of actions
    • Create a network or join a network of like-minded groups to be able to share costs or apply for funding together
    • Apply for grants
      • Governmental
      • Non-Governmental
    • Don’t sit back and wait for calls : be proactive and contact your governing bodies for funding