Hold Team Meetings . Monitor and Evaluate Your Efforts . Sustain Your SART . Know Your Team . Critical Issues
Asking Questions About Your SART
Before creating a SART sustainability plan, consider asking the following questions:
- Do you have a clearly defined mission, goals, and objectives? Your mission, goals, and objectives provide a picture of what needs to be sustained. (See Create a Strategic Plan in this toolkit.)
- What is your budget? A budgetary analysis helps you estimate the resources you have and what you will need to maintain fiscal stability. (See Build Your SART in this toolkit.)
- Do you have a solid infrastructure? Assessing team membership and processes can help you address weaknesses that could undermine sustainability and highlight the strengths of your team. (See Monitor and Evaluate Your Efforts in this toolkit.)
- Have you developed a strategic plan? A strategic plan weaves goals and objectives into action steps to manage and guide your SART toward specific long-term outcomes. (See Create a Strategic Plan in this toolkit.)
- What is your definition of success? Defining success means linking your goals and objectives with clearly defined outcomes and adjusting responses based on what is learned. (See Types of Evaluation in this toolkit.)
- Is your team forward thinking? Sustainability depends on your team's adaptability to changing conditions. Addressing sustainability early in the development process can help identify resources and strategies that are most likely to help you maintain momentum. (See Future of SARTs in this toolkit.)
- Do you have a monitoring and evaluation system? Monitoring and evaluation will help you gauge early warning signs of potential issues that could affect your SART's credibility and viability. For example, do you have a system for monitoring and evaluating victims' experiences with the services they received? (See Monitor and Evaluate Your Efforts in this toolkit.)
- Does your team support its members? SART team members are at risk for developing vicarious trauma as a result of their work with sexual assault victims. Symptoms of vicarious trauma are similar to those experienced by individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder and include numbing, hypervigilance, sleep difficulties, and intrusive thoughts of traumas described by victims. Vicarious trauma is a sustainability issue, as team members suffering from vicarious trauma may be less able to effectively serve the SART. (Resources related to vicarious trauma are available.)
- What is the level of community support? It is important to consider whose support is needed and develop appropriate outreach efforts for community involvement. Rally leaders from businesses, faith-based institutions, government agencies, and other parts of the community to request support. For example, the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault included a request for support at the end of its citywide evaluation report:6
Investing in the Sustainability of Youth Programs: An Assessment Tool for Funders Includes a sustainability assessment tool that allows organizations to rate their strengths and weaknesses.
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