Create a Foundation at the Start

Create a plan for sustainability as you begin implementing an EBP to improve your chances for the successful continuation of your efforts as funding support shifts and changes over time.

The resources presented in this section of the Learning Center can help you develop a strategy for expanding and strengthening your program or organization, right from the start of EBP implementation. You’ll find helpful advice, guidelines, and tools that can help your program flourish and be effective through changes in funding, staff, community support, and funding policies.

The Steps to Implementation section of the Learning Center also has sustainability resources that you might find helpful, as sustainability is often a component of implementation frameworks.

Planning for Sustainability

Expert program evaluator Mary Ann Scheirer, in her 2005 review, identified 5 factors that suggested a higher likelihood of program sustainability once funding ceases:

  1. The program itself is modifiable over time.
  2. A program champion exists in a key organizational role.
  3. The program has a substantial fit with the underlying organization’s mission and procedures.
  4. The benefits to staff members or clients are readily perceived.
  5. Community support exists from key stakeholders.

Multiple resources have been vetted and a selection is provided to help you assess and understand the effects your organizational setting, financing source, staffing capacity, and community support will have on the sustainability of your program.


Intended use for: Independent Organizations

Developed by: Center for Public Health Systems Science at Washington University in St. Louis

This sustainability assessment tool can help you understand your program’s current capacity for sustainability across the 9 content areas shown by research to be important for program sustainability. Learn More

Intended use for: State Agencies and Local Health Offices

Developed by: SAMHSA Center for the Application of Prevention Technologies

The strategic prevention framework is a comprehensive framework for planning and successfully implementing evidence-based prevention programs. One element of this framework is focused on program sustainability, being organized around the 3 levels at which communities must build capacity to sustain prevention efforts (i.e., the coalition level, among community agencies, and among community members). Learn More

Intended use for: Community Coalitions

Developed by: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The sustainability planning guide is a synthesis of science- and practice-based evidence, designed to help different community stakeholders develop, implement, and evaluate successful sustainability plans. The guide provides a process for sustaining policy strategies and related activities, introduces various approaches to sustainability, and demonstrates sustainability planning in action with real-life examples. Learn More

Intended use for: Grassroots Organizations

Developed by: SAMHSA

This toolkit is a set of books created for grassroots organizations on topics related to organizational assessment, marketing, financial management, sustainability and funding, and evaluation. It is tailored for organizations that work in substance use and mental health treatment. Learn More

Intended use for: Independent Organizations

Developed by: British National Health Service Institute for Innovation and Improvement

The sustainability index assists users by organizing program sustainability around the sections of organizational processes, staff needs, and organization capacity. Learn More

Intended use for: Prevention practitioners

Developed by: SAMHSA's Center for the Application of Prevention Technologies

SustainAbilities: Planning for Success offers prevention practitioners step-by-step guidance for developing a written plan for sustaining successful prevention practices. Through a series of self-directed courses, prevention planners are supported in their efforts to sustain prevention programs that have achieved positive outcomes in their communities. 

Accessing the courses requires a free registration on the CAPT training now portal. The courses can be access on the portal and by following the following link to the SustainAbilities Planning course.

Last Updated: 08/21/2017