Supporting and sustaining the project may include integrating the project within a specific agency or transferring the ownership of the project to the broader community. It may also include acting as an ongoing resource that has accumulated expertise over time and is able to further connect individuals and agencies in the community.
Ideally, activities related to supporting and sustaining should occur throughout partnering (by choosing partners with an on-going commitment and/or willingness to take leadership role), prioritizing (by identifying priorities where sustainable change is a reality) and planning/implementing (by focusing on project longevity).
Supporting and sustaining the project may take different forms and may require different lengths of time to achieve. Supporting and sustaining could mean:
- Incorporating projects into the mandate of community agencies or identifying community champions to continue with the leadership role
- Designating/hiring leadership positions within formal structures, such as project committees and networks
- Incorporating the project as a new entity (i.e. non-profit organization, social enterprise, etc.)
Not all projects are able to reach a level of sustainability. For projects that have been problematic from the very beginning, it may be better to put them to rest. Projects may simply fade away or transform into something else; sometimes the timing is wrong and community values and other realities are not in agreement with the health promotion projects ideas. A project may also take an unexpected turn and transform into something different… or be replaced by another competing idea that became a new priority.
Every project has to go through a natural cycle of development at its own pace in order to get to a level of sustainability. If the project doesn’t reach that point, don’t be sorry. The results of your efforts will not be lost!
Explore other steps
- Who are the partners that can take on a leadership role?
- What kind of additional support and resources do these partners need in order to take on the future development of the project?
- Has the project been successful so far? What kind of impact did it make? How did you measure the success?
Tools & Resources
Different approaches to sustainability…
“Moose Adventure Challenge was a project that fit well into the mandate of the Town of Bonnyville – Recreation Department.” – FLORENCE SENECAL
“Hiring somebody to sustain the initiatives is necessary when a project requires coordination over a longer period of time.” – DIANE GILLESPIE
“Community gardens was integrated within numerous community organizations.” – MOLLY HANSON-NAGEL
“The community wanted to sustain the project (community gardens). So, one of the first things that they have done was to become a society.” – MARGO FAUCHON
“We have the commitment and funding, and we continue to engage our volunteers.” – LINDA BOONE
“Hiring an external person may become necessary if the workload is so great that you cannot do it within the normal capacity of daily work schedule.” – MOLLY HANSON-NAGEL
“Once you hired a coordinator, be prepared, as a coalition, to really step forward.” – DOUG WEBER