The implementation of strategies to bring about significant community change rarely takes place in a short time frame. As you build capacity to bring about change, you should be aware of the need to generate resources to sustain your strategies, beyond the expense of carrying out an intervention.
Sustaining your work includes both institutionalizing strategies and finding additional financial support for them―both of which should be planned for by the time you begin to implement activities. It is important to form a working group of staff and coalition partners to focus on sustainability planning, since getting key stakeholders involved from the beginning can inspire them to become advocates for your work and champions for sustaining your activities.
Planning for financial stability involves figuring out strategies and action steps to obtain and grow the diverse resources—human, financial, material, and technological—needed to sustain your efforts over time. Additional resources may include finding in-kind support, recruiting and sustaining a volunteer staff, obtaining commitments for shared resources from other organizations, or persuading another organization to take on a project begun by your group.
Institutionalizing your work is a long-term process that requires finding ways to make the policies, practices, and procedures you have established become successfully rooted in the community. This includes existing systems and frameworks relevant to your work, which can be stepping stones to eventual policy changes. This can also help extend the length of time you have to work on the issues, since it may take years to build a comprehensive solution. Partnerships are key in finding ways to integrate your work into existing departments within a municipality or into other organizations. To do this, it is important to invest in capacity, teach people how to assess needs, build resources, and effectively plan and implement prevention interventions to create the systems necessary to support these activities going forward.
Read more about sustainability.