Having a sustainable intervention means planning ahead to make sure the necessary human, informational, technical, organizational, and financial resources are in place to keep the intervention or program running over time after the Capacity-Building Grant funding expires.
The intervention you are proposing will likely help any number of people in the first year of its implementation. Applicants should develop a plan to ensure that Capacity-Building Grant projects have the potential for long-term, larger-scale change across West Virginia after funding “runs out.”
Planning for sustainability communicates that the funding you receive will go even further than just the first year of your initiative or intervention. Focusing on the sustainability of your program shows how you will positively impact the health of West Virginians for years to come.
How can I show sustainability in my application?
Every community and intervention is unique. Because of that, there are not always concrete ways to address sustainability across the board. However, programs can plan for sustainability over time by taking into consideration the following points.
What is the cost to sustain?
The key to sustaining your intervention is being able to account for the costs of the initiative or intervention. This includes identifying alternative funding sources after the Capacity-Building Grant period to cover not only financial expenses, but also other required costs such as person-power. You can think of these types of costs by asking questions like, what kind of staff are required to make the program work? Is any training needed to continue the program? What other non-monetary costs may you face over time?
What is being sustained?
When thinking about sustainability, it is important to consider exactly what part of your program needs to be sustained - is it the entire program, or some key activities or services?
Identifying specific parts of your program that need to be sustained can help you pinpoint things that might help or get in the way of your program.
You can also incorporate the various aspects of the previous 4 "Asks" to ensure the continuation of your intervention.
Working toward Policy, Systems, and Environmental (PSE) Changes can help sustain your project by changing the way your organization, community, and West Virginia views health and wellness. Making these “higher level” changes can help West Virginians make healthy choices and experience greater well-being, even when your intervention ends. Changing or implementing written policy can be challenging, but can have a substantial impact. Systems changes can bring people together to discuss how to make your efforts sustainable and speak to a broader community need. You might implement a Little Policy Change within your organization by using the Good Example Contract, which can help your team build a culture of health. PSE Changes can help your work have long-lasting effects on the health and wellness of West Virginians.
Focusing on health equity can also make sure your program has a long-lasting impact. By improving the health of vulnerable populations through programs that focus on them and their unique needs and by being more inclusive of all West Virginians, the importance of your program can help you secure future funds and make a much-needed impact.
How supportive is the operating environment?
Program sustainability can be affected by whether or not your program’s environment is supportive.
To think about how supportive your program’s environment is, assess what processes or norms within your organization might help your program or get in its way. This can include considering how supportive leadership, staff, community members, and other stakeholders are toward your project. It can also involve making changes in your community to overcome barriers to ensure your program stays in place after the funding period ends.