This document presents a model practitioners can use to build the organizational infrastructure necessary to sustain effective prevention policies, systems, and programs.
According to SAMHSA’s Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF), “Capacity refers to the various types and levels of resources available to establish and maintain a community prevention system that can identify and respond to community needs.” While this definition focuses on resources, the SPF goes on to state that capacity also depends on the readiness of both the organization and the broader community to actually commit their resources to addressing the identified problem(s). Although the planning process itself can strengthen capacity, intentional capacity building at all levels helps ensure that successful programs are sustained within a larger community context, and therefore less vulnerable to local budgetary and political fluctuations. Effective capacity building also increases an organization’s or community’s ability to respond to changing issues with innovative solutions.
Capacity building is best viewed as a process of “ensuring an adaptive, effective, and [cost-effective] substance abuse prevention system that achieves long-term results that benefit [diverse stakeholders]” (Southeast Center for the Application of Prevention Technologies, 2003, p. 1). Organizational/infrastructure development is necessary to build capacity as well as to sustain effective prevention policies, systems, and programs, and therefore includes a sustainability component. Johnson et al. (2004) offers a planning logic model which addresses both organizational/infrastructure development and sustainability. The purpose of organizational/infrastructure development in the model is to build, support, and strengthen organizational infrastructures. This is accomplished by examining five factors which, if addressed intentionally through strategic planning, can facilitate building the infrastructure capacity. These include the following:
The goal of sustainability in the model is to implement and maintain effective programs and systems that are continually responsive to stakeholder needs. This is accomplished by examining another five factors which, if addressed intentionally through strategic planning, can facilitate building sustainability. These five factors include:
Each of these 10 factors can be addressed with action steps. These action steps include:
Taking these actions in support of the capacity building and sustainability objectives represents an ongoing process, rather than a one-time, event.
Southeast Center for the Application of Prevention Technologies. (2003). Sustainability. Jackson, MS: DREAM, Inc.
Hawe, P., King, L., Noort, M., Jordens,C., & Lloyd, B. (2002). Indicators to Help with Capacity Building in Health Promotion. North Sydney, New South Wales: NSW Health.
Johnson, K., Hays, C., Hayden, C., & Daley, C. (2004). Building capacity and sustainability prevention innovations: A sustainability planning model. Evaluation and Program Planning, 27, 135-149.
Developed under the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Center for the Application of Prevention Technologies contract. Reference #HHSS277200800004C. For training and/or technical assistance purposes only.