SART TOOLKIT: Resources for Sexual Assault Response Teams
Develop a SARTPrint Print

Sustain Your SART

When you first create your SART, you should ensure that your collaborative responses to sexual violence remain viable. Your SART must be able to survive staff transitions; social, political, and economic challenges; and the impact of emerging issues and scientific or medical breakthroughs that can affect team caseloads and resources.

Making your SART sustainable can include building its capacities in a range of areas, such as in organizational development, business planning, evaluation, conflict resolution, fundraising, leadership development, marketing, team building and training, risk management, program design, meeting facilitation, and networking opportunities.

This section reviews—

Why Is a Sustainability Plan Important?

Intentionally planning for sustainability is essential. Research has found that—

Victim-centered care after an assault is vital to recovery and an indicator of victims' willingness to participate in criminal justice proceedings. Both anecdotal and research-based evidence lead to the conclusion that having the appropriate individuals respond collaboratively, instead of simply referring victims to various agencies, usually results in victims being willing at least to meet with law enforcement to disclose their assaults.4

In addition, when teams develop a strategy for institutionalizing their multidisciplinary responses, they can bring about perceptions, beliefs, and attitudes that are favorable to more consistent and compassionate responses to sexual assault. For example, the SART in Ames, Iowa, has noted that "With the SART in place, team members report that excellent partnerships exist throughout the system that are meeting the needs of victims better. Sexual assault reports to the team have increased each year: There were 18 in 1998, 47 in 1999, and 62 in 2000—a 244 percent increase in calls between 1998 and 2000. The team credits the increase in SART calls to the word getting out in the community that victims who call will be treated with respect."5

Asking Questions About Your SART

Before creating a SART sustainability plan, consider asking the following questions:

Developing the Plan

Although it might seem otherwise, a plan for sustainability is not just about raising funds; it's also about raising friends. Friend raising is about building relationships with individuals and organizations within the community that can help you meet both long- and short-term goals. Put another way, friend raising is an ongoing public awareness campaign.

Developing a sustainability plan means developing goals, objectives, strategies, and action steps for getting and keeping resources. Read on for several steps to help guide you through the process:

Decide Who Will Develop the Plan

Depending on the size of your SART and its level of development, you may choose to form a sustainability subcommittee or to address sustainability as an ongoing agenda item during team meetings. Including all or most team members in the process can help ingrain sustainability efforts in the team, helping it to proactively7

Conduct an Internal Audit

Find out what resources and expenses your team has right now:

SART Program Costs

SART Personnel Costs

Education and Training Costs

Determine and Assess Resources

You should determine the minimum and optimal resources you will need to sustain your SART and you also should assess any resources you have or you can tap.

Determining minimum resources is similar to performing an internal audit. The difference is that this step asks teams to think if anything can be cut from current expenditures to create a bare bones budget if it becomes necessary. For example, teams can assess budgetary items and ask—

In determining optimal resources, you will be finding out what it will take (in terms of resources) to accomplish your long-term plans. Will your goals require more staff or better trained staff? A new building? Volunteers? Equipment? Training? For example, a team may be concerned with a high turnover rate in law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney's office and the importance for victims to maintain relationships with the same service providers. Teams may want to consider the resources required to initiate a vertical prosecution strategy (maintaining the same prosecutor throughout the case). Or teams may want to budget for the costs involved in teaching new team members about SART's expected standard of care.

Resource assessment can include reviewing—

Team Assets

Team assets are resources and expertise that SART members and current volunteers bring to the table. For example—

Community Assets

When assessing community resources, look beyond merely fiscal support and look to companies, organizations, volunteers, and victims for help:

Most large corporations engage in some form of community outreach, such as providing in-kind matches for employees' charitable donations or the donation of equipment and supplies. Even smaller businesses may have something to contribute. Perhaps a local print shop could produce your brochures at a reduced cost. Or a local ad agency might be willing to donate some time to help market your SART. Perhaps a local law firm would assist with meeting the civil legal needs of victims.

Some businesses and organizations that typically don't interact with sexual assault services (e.g., realtors) have found the need to connect with local SARTs following an assault on an employee. Not only do these collaborations promote victim support and heighten awareness, they also create opportunities for collaboration, fundraising, and change in policies and procedures to promote safety.

Consider partnerships with—

The Anti-Lobbying Act

The Anti-Lobbying Act (18 U.S.C. 1913) was amended in 2002 to prohibit federal grantees from using federal funds to lobby governments at any level—not just Congress. Federal grantees cannot use federal funds to—

  • Address the merits of specific legislation.
  • Advocate specific legislative changes at the local, state, tribal, or federal level.
  • Encourage grassroots lobbying for legislative change.

What can federal grantees do without violating the act?

  • Collaborate with and provide information to federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial public officials and agencies to develop and implement policies to reduce or eliminate sexual assault.
  • Identify codes that embody best practices.
  • Educate policymakers about options for revisions.
  • Lobby with non-Federal Government funds (keep detailed records).

Note: Bulleted lists adapted from a PowerPoint presentation by Marnie Shiels at the Resource Sharing Project Meeting in Denver, Colorado, 2007.

Historical Assets

Consider whether there have been collaborative efforts in your SART's jurisdiction in the past. For example, if an individual or community agency provided your SART with grant writing services, you may want to bridge those connections again to mend misunderstandings, if any, and to access their assistance if they have been untapped for awhile.

Set Objectives

If your team already has all of the money and resources it currently needs to operate (or is very close), begin to set objectives to meet short- and long-term goals. For example, you might ask what needs to happen to ensure that community responders to sexual violence work collaboratively, refer victims to appropriate service providers, and follow up on victims' care:

Reach Out to Supporters

You will need to determine ways to convey the benefits of your SART to specific groups, which could be as simple as explaining the benefits to individuals and organizations by phone or sending letters that underscore the value of your SART while requesting support. Or, you could write a more detailed proposal that leads to a memorandum of understanding or agreement between your SART and other agencies. Whatever form your outreach takes, let potential supporters know the following:

SART Models as Strong Predictors

When conveying the benefits of your SART to potential supporters in the community, consider relaying the following information:

  • SART cases are reported more quickly, have more evidence (DNA evidence in particular) available, and have more victim participation.
  • SANE/SART intervention is a factor in the identification and arrest of suspects and the strongest predictor that charges will be filed.
  • SANE/SART intervention helps to increase the likelihood of conviction.

Source: M. Elaine Nugent-Borakov, Patricia Fanflick, David Troutman, Nicole Johnson, Ann Burgess, and Annie Lewis O'Connor, Testing the Efficacy of SANE/SART Programs: Do They Make a Difference in Sexual Assault Arrest and Prosecution Outcomes?, 2006.

Make sure you create an outreach timeline to indicate the various actions to be taken, when they should occur, and who should take them. Organize the timeline by each sustainability goal. Feel free to use the chart below or one similar to it.8

Community Outreach Timeline
Goal Action Steps To Meet the Objective By Whom By When Date Completed
















Implement the Plan

Your sustainability plan should now include your SART's—

By taking the time to write a sustainability plan, you may increase your SART's—

Implementing a sustainability plan means monitoring and evaluating progress. Remember, planning never stops—the sustainability plan is a blueprint you will need to review and revise based on your team's successes, challenges, and emerging issues.

General Tips for Attracting and Keeping Support
  • Thank community supporters publicly.
  • Give supporters feedback so they will know how they are being most helpful.
  • Continue to promote the SART's value by showing the community that the team is needed and effective.

Raising Public Awareness

Public awareness puts the spotlight on your SART's goals and accomplishments and educates the community about available intervention and prevention education services. Public awareness can also inform the community about the causes and effects of sexual violence. Publicizing this information not only lends support to SART-specific services and prevention education efforts, it also educates community members who may be called to support victims after victims disclose that they have been sexually assaulted or to serve as jurors in such cases.

In terms of sustainability, public awareness can go a long way toward making your SART permanent. Public awareness campaigns can expand alliances, promote growth, and educate community members.

Charting Future Directions

The SART model underscores the need for community responders to both work and respond together at any given time. The shared expertise, tailored to each victim, can ensure that the short- and long-term needs of victims are kept at the forefront of the process. This toolkit challenges you to assess current responses and consider your SART's future direction. Asking "what if?"can chart a course that embraces new, comprehensive solutions.

Some SARTs did ask "what if?," and came up with legislative solutions to help manage their costs and publicize the benefits of their multidisciplinary responses:



Collaboration: A Training Curriculum to Enhance the Effectiveness of Criminal Justice Teams
Assists multidisciplinary criminal justice teams in establishing or enhancing collaborative relationships.

Collaboration Assessment Tool
Allows multidisciplinary coalitions to identify strengths and areas of growth and enables them to gauge progress over time.

Collaboration Framework—Addressing Community Capacity
Helps individuals and practitioners who are either starting collaborations or need help in strengthening an existing collaboration.

Collaboration Multiplier
Allows multidisciplinary coalitions to evaluate each partner's skills.

Collaboration Toolkit: How to Build, Fix, and Sustain Productive Partnerships
Provides practical guidance to law enforcement agencies as they develop and sustain partnerships that support community policing.

Community Organizational Assessment Tool
Helps guide a group discussion about how a team is functioning and includes easily adaptable questions regarding the amount of improvement needed.

Conflict Management In Community Organizations
Describes the types of conflict, the dimensions of conflict, the effects of conflict, and ways to manage conflict.

Getting It Right: Collaborative Problem Solving for Criminal Justice
Describes team-based approaches to assessing current systems and implementing change. It was developed primarily for local (city or county) criminal justice policy teams—representing corrections, police, the courts, prosecution, and other agencies—who want to work together toward a system that promotes safety, prevents and solves crime, and holds offenders accountable.

How to "Nimble-ize" a Collaboration
Discusses 10 principles for creating a resilient collaboration structure and why they're critical to success.

Making Collaboration Work: The Experiences of Denver Victim Services 2000
Discusses leadership, the use of technology for case management, community advocacy, and lessons learned.

The Tension of Turf: Making It Work for the Coalition
Discusses common types of turf struggles and reasons why they occur and lists recommendations for limiting the negative aspects of "turf." Builds on the Prevention Institute's initial coalition building paper, Developing Effective Coalitions: An Eight Step Guide.

Wilder Collaboration Factors Inventory
Helps assess the factors that influence the success of a collaboration.


Basic Tips for Fund-raising for Small NGOs in Developing Countries
Includes information on raising funds, building credibility, soliciting donations, finding donors, and writing funding proposals.
Enables users to find and apply for federal grants and to sign up for e-mail notifications about upcoming funding opportunities.

It Happened To Alexa Foundation
Assists rape victims' families with travel expenses during the criminal justice process.

Making the Most of Outcomes Data: Finding Funding for Non-Profit Agencies
Includes questions and answers about funders' priority concerns, focusing on the importance of client outcome data.

National Resource Center (Compassion Capital Fund)
Publishes a quarterly e-newsletter—The Grassroots—for faith- and community-based social service initiatives. The newsletter includes highlights of federally supported faith-based initiatives, listings of upcoming events and trainings, timely funding opportunities, tools and tips, feature articles, book reviews, and more.

National Sexual Violence Resource Center
Provides access to a searchable online database of funding announcements.
National Victim Assistance Academy Textbook, Chapter 22, Section 8: Funding for Victim Services
Describes major sources of federal funding for victim service programs, fundamental concepts and challenges to fundraising, grant writing, grant seeking on the Internet, cause-related marketing, fundraising skills, funding sources, and promising practices in fundraising for victim services.

Network for Good
Provides information about online fundraising and other support for nonprofit organizations.

State Legislative Approaches to Funding for Victims' Services
Includes information on offender-based funding, including surcharges for specific crimes, restitution, funding through fees, and state-facilitated funding.

Tips for Getting Technology Funding
Discusses six ways to improve the prospect of getting technology funding.

Grant Writing

Best Practices Guide for Grant Writing
Describes the typical content of grant proposals and includes tips on planning, writing, and formatting grant proposals and finding funding resources.

Federal Funding Toolkit
Describes how to effectively navigate through the federal grants process and includes tips on finding grant writers and writing winning grants.

Grant Writing
Provides links to Web sites that provide clear, detailed information on the grant writing process.

The Grantsmanship Center
Includes links to resources and publications for grant seekers. for Nonprofits
Provides information on grant writing as well as links to federal grants and state and local funding directories.

Media Outreach and Advocacy

Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma
Provides tip sheets, publications, and best practices.

Effective Outreach Through the Media
Discusses how sexual assault service providers can effectively use the media.

Media Relations Made Easy
Provides information on common media terms and culture, how to develop appropriate materials, and how to work with reporters. Also presents information about crisis communications and writing styles, and displays sample media materials.

Working with the Media—A Toolkit for Service Providers
Offers guidance in how to build partnerships with the media for improved coverage of sexual assault.

Nonprofit Management

Alliance for Nonprofit Management
Provides links to publications that describe nonprofit capacity building and includes a searchable database of resources for nonprofit organizations.

Center for Nonprofit Management
Provides Southern California nonprofit organizations with employment news, a resource library, a compensation and benefits survey, technology surveys, a fundraising database, and a free e-newsletter.
Provides links to a community action center, tools for organizations, a volunteer management resource center, and a nonprofit human resources center. Includes a frequently asked questions section.

Learner Resource Center, The Nonprofit Management Education Center
Presents a list of Web-based resources on many nonprofit leadership and management issues.

Managing Your Nonprofit's Finances and Taxes
Helps organizations understand financial management and build the basic systems and practices needed in a healthy nonprofit organization.

Nonprofit (Good Practice Guide)
Provides links to resources on advocacy, evaluation, fundraising, and financial, organizational, and volunteer management.

Program Planning and Management
Contains guidelines for program planning, management, marketing, and evaluation.

Social Marketing and Public Awareness Campaigns

Guides users in designing health communication interventions within a public health framework. A violence prevention edition also exists.

Community Tool Box: Social Marketing of Successful Components of the Initiative (Chapter 45)
Defines the social marketing framework and gives step-by-step instructions on applying this framework to any issue.

Making Health Communication Programs Work ("The Pink Book")
Covers the steps needed to conduct a successful communications campaign, including strategy development, message testing, implementation, evaluation, research methods, and theory.

Persuasive or Behavioural Communication
Lists resources for anyone looking to implement a successful communications campaign with the goal of changing audience behavior.

Team Capacity Building

Benchmarking 101 for Nonprofits
Provides the basics of benchmarking including what it is, how it can be useful, and how it differs from evaluation.

Capacity Building
Includes links to articles on capacity building and publications and tools on organizational management, program designs, volunteer management, and business planning.

Community Development Resources—Native Americans
Links to American Indian organizations, planning tools, case studies, funding programs, statistical data, online publications, and federal, state, and local contacts.

Community Tool Box
Provides step-by-step guidelines in community-building skills, such as leadership, strategic planning, community assessment, grant writing, and evaluations. Sections include—

Discovering Community Power: A Guide to Mobilizing Local Assets and Your Organization’s Capacity
Provides information on using community assets and tools to help projects connect their goals with community resources.

Fighting Back on Budget Cuts: A Tool Kit
Includes information on budget research and analysis, understanding state and local budget processes, developing an alternative budget, media messaging, organizing, and more. The information was designed for tobacco control programs; however, any community-based advocacy organization struggling with how to respond to a budget crisis may find it useful.

From Problems to Strengths
Provides an introductory overview of appreciative inquiry, a strategy that identifies the best of what is to pursue possibilities of what could be.

Mentoring Program Sustainability Resources
Links to resources on fundraising, marketing and branding, and partnership development.

National Resource Center's Best of the Best
Provides links to information on collaboration, fundraising, management, and similar issues.

OJP Financial Guide
Serves as a primary reference manual to assist federal grant award recipients in fulfilling their fiduciary responsibility to safeguard grant funds and ensure funds are used for the purposes for which they were awarded.

OVC Strategic Planning Toolkit
Serves as a guide for the strategic planning process.

Rural Assistance Center
Helps rural stakeholders access the full range of available programs, funding, and research that can enable them to provide quality health and human services to rural residents.

Strategies for Building Effective Work Teams (Participant Manual)
Provides strategies for developing, implementing, managing, and evaluating work teams.

Sustainability Of Coalitions
Offers guidelines for sustaining coalitions amidst changes in funding, policy, and community climate.

Sustainability Outcomes Worksheet
Serves as a worksheet on funding, partnerships, and the community climate as they relate to organizational sustainability.

Toolkit for Program Sustainability, Capacity Building, and Volunteer Recruitment/Management
Defines sustainability, provides guidance on developing a sustainability plan, and gives recommended strategies for capacity building activities.

Using Analysis for Problem-Solving—A Guidebook for Law Enforcement
Provides a starting point and tips for effective problem analysis.

 Vicarious Trauma

"Vicarious Trauma," Building Victim Assistance Networks With Faith Communities
Describes symptoms, risk factors, prevention, and responses to vicarious trauma with a focus on faith-based service providers.

Vicarious Trauma Institute
Contains information about conferences, books, and other publications related to vicarious trauma.

Vicarious Traumatization: Potential Hazards and Interventions for Disaster and Trauma Workers
Reviews self-care strategies and training and organizational considerations that may be beneficial for individuals and organizations to address.


Creative Volunteer Roles
Promotes volunteer roles that are outside of the box and that move in new directions.

Developing and Managing Volunteer Programs
Reviews staffing analysis, job and task descriptions, recruitment, screening, orientation and training, and supervision.

e-Volunteerism: The Electronic Journal of the Volunteerism Community
Serves as a quarterly e-newsletter for the volunteer community.

Guide to Screening and Background Checks
Focuses on developing a comprehensive screening process for mentors.

Guidelines for the Screening of Persons Working with Children, the Elderly, and Individuals with Disabilities in Need of Support
Offers a simple decision making model for screening volunteers who will be working with youth and other vulnerable groups.

Internship In a Box
Gives step-by-step instructions for organizations to create meaningful internship programs and apprenticeships. It includes a planning guide, instructions for implementation, best practices, evaluation forms, and more.

Recruiting Volunteers
Provides information on volunteer screening, matching, legal issues, risk management, online recruitment, and volunteer management software.

United Way Volunteer Solutions
Helps volunteer centers connect individuals to volunteer opportunities in their community.

Value of Volunteer Time
Provides the estimated dollar amounts of volunteer time (the average and by state) and describes how the amounts are determined.

Volunteer Management Resource Library
Provides selected articles on volunteering.

Who's Lending a Hand: A National Survey of Nonprofit Volunteer Screening Practices
Covers the current volunteer screening practices of human services nonprofit organizations in the United States.

Working With Volunteers
Describes ways to recruit, screen, train, and retain volunteers.


1 Rebecca Campbell, 1998, "The Community Response to Rape: Victims' Experiences with the Legal, Medical and Mental Health Systems," American Journal of Community Psychology26(3): 355–379.

2 Ibid.

3 Arlene Weisz, David Canales-Portalatin, and Neva Nahan, 2001, Evaluation of Victim Advocacy within a Team Approach: Final Report Summary, grant report submitted to the National Institute of Justice.

4 Martha Burt, Janine Zweig, Cynthia Andrews, Ashley Van Ness, Neal Parikh, Brenda K. Uekert, and Adele Harrell, 2001, Evaluation of the STOP Formula Grants to Combat Violence Against Women, The Violence Against Women Act of 1994, Washington, DC: Urban Institute.

5 Ibid., 64.

6 Deborah Fry, 2007, A Room of Our Own: Sexual Assault Survivors Evaluate Services, New York City, NY: New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault, 71.

7 Work Group for Community Health and Development, 2010, "Developing a Committee to Help with Financial Sustainability," Community Tool Box, Lawrence, KS: Work Group for Community Health and Development.

8 Adapted from Work Group for Community Health and Development, 2010, "Developing a Plan for Financial Stability: Tools and Checklists," Community Tool Box, Lawrence, KS: Work Group for Community Health and Development. Used with permission.

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