Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between different aspects of alliance funding profiles (e.g. range of sources, dependence on specific sources) and participant’ perceptions of how well the organization is positioned for the future. Design/methodology/approach: A mixed method study in the context of eight alliances participating in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Aligning Forces for Quality program. Data collection approaches included surveys of alliance participants and semi-structured interviews with alliance leaders. Findings: The findings indicate that dependence on grant revenues, in particular, may be problematic for how well alliances are positioned for sustainability. While a number of approaches were identified to reduce dependence on grants, implementing these strategies presented more of a challenge for alliances due to the contextual demands of their external environment and a need to strike a balance between pursuing alternative revenue sources and fidelity to the mission and identity of the organization. Practical implications: Alliance leaders need to have not only a broad and accurate understanding of their external environment, but also an appreciation of the alliance’s identity in that environment. Collectively, the findings can help organizational leaders be more informed about their funding choices and the implications those choices have for the future of their organization. Originality/value: Collaborative forms of organizations (e.g. alliances, coalitions, networks) are increasingly viewed as an effective means of addressing complex, multifaceted health, and social challenges. For collaborative organizations that depend on the coordinated efforts of volunteers, addressing such complex issues is predicated on sustaining programmatic activities as well as the interest and participation of stakeholders over extended periods of time. This study sheds light on how leaders of these organizations may improve their prospects for sustainability.