Strategies To Sustain Community Programs
Toolkit Available for Grassroots,
By Kristin Blank
How can a small, nonprofit community
organization with a barebones budget
and a staff of volunteers ensure that
it survives the next fiscal year to
continue supporting people in crisis?
A new toolkit from SAMHSA’s Center for Substance
Abuse Treatment (CSAT), Sustaining
Grassroots Community-Based Programs: A Toolkit for
Community- and Faith-Based Service Providers, offers strategies to:
Manage a healthy budget.
Improve client services.
Maintain funding and quality of
Evaluate program results.
Market services effectively.
These key elements and others were developed from
20 training and technical assistance
meetings conducted by CSAT staff to help grassroots
organizations achieve long-term, stable success for
their much-needed programs.
What does "sustainability" mean?
It means ensuring
that an organization is a permanent part of community resources.
Planning for Success
The toolkit, designed specifically to help service
providers, includes fill-in-the-blank planning templates
and removable worksheets.
Offering success stories from around the country,
the toolkit is organized into six how-to booklets.
Each booklet provides practical, step-by-step information
in an easy-to-use format.
Introduction gives an overview
of strategic planning processes,
describing key components, such
as a mission statement, goals and
objectives, and a budget. Worksheets
include a sustainability action plan.
and Readiness provides
a self-assessment tool to help
providers identify specific challenges
and develop solutions. According
to the booklet, an assessment
is a critical starting point for initiating
change and identifying improvements.
Marketing Strategies delivers basic
information about marketing principles,
methods, communication, and resources.
Providers will learn about advertising,
brochures, Web sites, and other ways to spread
the word about their work.
Financial Management provides
guidance on accountability and
managing other people’s money to maintain
public trust. Several handouts are
provided, including a request for
payment and a sample billing statement.
Strategies: Fund Development and
Fund Raising is the longest section of
the toolkit and addresses basic elements of effective
fundraising and developing relationships with
partners and donors. A handout
helps providers enhance their entrepreneurial
Results-Oriented Evaluations describes
the purpose, necessity, and worth
of analyzing performance. Handouts include a checklist
for planning the evaluation as well as a worksheet
that helps providers clarify what
each program is trying to accomplish.
Sustaining Grassroots Community-Based
Programs: A Toolkit for Community- and Faith-Based
Service Providers is available in one convenient PDF
file. Download the toolkit at http://download.ncadi.samhsa.gov/prevline/pdfs/SMA08-4340.pdf.
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