Wrap-up & Wind-down
Steps to take when a funding program will no longer be available.
The decision to conclude a funding program is based on a variety of factors, including available resources, need, and capacity. When sunsetting a program, it is important to have a place where the program highlights can be shared in an evergreen way. All program-related links should direct to this archive of information, allowing people to still learn about the program despite there no longer being any available funding opportunities.
- What type of legacy do you want to leave behind for the funding program?
- What information is publicly available about the program that needs to be updated or removed to reflect the sunset of the program?
- Who needs to be notified of the sunset?
- Do you want to go out quietly or celebrate the accomplishments of the program?
- Is there alternative resources where you can direct people inquiring about the program after the decision to sunset?
Turn off the application form in addition to removing links that direct to it. The application form may be cached on people’s computers from previous visits or they may find the URL on old promotional materials.
Remove language about applicant support and upcoming deadlines. Keeping language such as “there are no upcoming funding deadlines” can still give the impression that there are none at this time but there may be in the future. It is best to just remove any mention of deadlines and possible events altogether. However, it is recommended to keep an archive of the original language (and website code) in case you want to model a future program off of the program materials.
It is recommended to have a few other alternative sources of funding to direct people to after the program is no longer active. This will be helpful to have on hand when people inquire about upcoming events or deadlines related to the program, especially if if had previously been an ongoing opportunity.
Methods We Love
Use evergreen language. It is more helpful to provide updated information that talks about the program in an evergreen way instead of trying to remove any trace that it existed. That allows former project managers, partners, and staff to reference the program without creating confusion that it is a funding opportunity that is currently available.
Celebrate the program. All good things must come to an end. Celebrate the people and projects that made the program what it was, showcasing the successes and ending on a high note.
Involve the community. Have the community help shape the structure of the final program activities, including the structure of the final grants made, to ensure that sunset continues to meet the needs of the community as much as possible.
Merge programs. If you have two or more similar programs, consider positioning the wind-down as a merger of ideas rather than a close. For example, discrete funding programs for teens and young children might be merged into a single stream of support with a common application and decisionmaking criteria.
Timing. Make sure the program is still relevant but not on the upswing. It is important that the sunset is intentional and pays tribute to the people involved without undermining their work. It should be done when the community still feels an affiliation to the program and projects, instead of when it has long been inactive, but it also important to give grantees sufficient notice. This will enable people to plan accordingly, especially applicants in your prospect pipeline.