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Importance of Sustainability

The sustainability of a health promotion and disease prevention program often depends on the perceived value of the program and the support that individuals and organizations are willing to commit to ongoing operations. Sustainability can be achieved through continued commitment to achieving the program's goals and mission, increasing capacity in local systems, changing knowledge and attitudes, ongoing collaboration, improving services models, and implementing new policies that support program impact.

Integral to achieving sustainability is the development of a sustainability plan. Sustainability planning can be facilitated by:

  • Obtaining input and buy-in from community and partner organizations.
  • Identifying a credible and enthusiastic program champion to advocate for the program.
  • Determining appropriate indicators for evaluation.
  • Documenting information on program progress.
  • Sharing results of program success that resonates with funders.
  • Identifying long- and short-term sustainability strategies to achieve program goals.
  • Organizing and prioritizing financial, human, and in-kind resources.
  • Documenting and sharing information on program progress.
  • Empowering employees and program partners to support sustainability strategies.
  • Establishing mechanisms to identify and solve challenges.

Resources to Learn More

A Sustainability Planning Guide for Healthy Communities
Offers support for public health professionals and community stakeholders when developing, implementing, and evaluating a sustainability plan. Includes a process for sustaining policy strategies and related activities, describes a variety of approaches to sustainability, and demonstrates active sustainability planning with examples.
Organization(s): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Date: 2011

Sustainable by Design: A Systematic Review of Factors for Health Promotion Program Sustainability
Identifies barriers and opportunities that influence the sustainability of health promotion programs.
Author(s): Bodkin, A., & Hakimi, S.
Citation: BMC Public Health, 20, 964
Date: 6/2020

The Community Tool Box 16. Sustaining the Work or Initiative
Provides guidance for developing a sustainable plan for an organization or community initiative. Assists in identifying the activities to be sustained: clarifying goals, creating a business and marketing plan, and selecting tasks most beneficial for financial stability.
Organization(s): University of Kansas Work Group for Community Health and Development