Achieving organization sustainability: recommendations from the literature
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Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, United States of America
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A432
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To continue implementing the WHO FCTC, it is important for tobacco control organizations to remain sustainable, i.e., vibrant, with sufficient infrastructure and operations that allow continuation of day-to-day work despite future uncertainties. The purpose of this review was to synthesize the literature regarding tools to assist organizations in remaining sustainable.

A review of the literature was conducted during 2016 to identify sustainability-related reports and tools. Our review included 12 search terms, including non-profit sustainability, program sustainability, organization sustainability, partnership sustainability, initiative sustainability, and philanthropy exit strategies. The final review included 16 sustainability reports and tools.

The Speakman Management Consulting's “Nonprofit Organizational Life Cycle” and “Keys to Life Cycle Transitions” are tools that categorize the maturity level of organization infrastructure and operations and provide strategies for reaching the next stage of maturity or maintaining maturity. Strategies may differ depending on the life stage of an organization, which include invention; start-up; growth; sustainability; stagnation-and-renewal; and decline-and-shutdown. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' “Building Sustainable Programs: The Resource Guide” is a self-reflective tool that assesses an organization's sustainability readiness on eight key factors: creation of an action strategy; assessment of the environment; adaptability; community support; integration into community infrastructure; leadership team; strategic partners; and diverse financial opportunities. The guide provides direction on implementing strategies to address low readiness scores. Other reports suggest planning for future donor exits by leveraging donor support to implement sustainability strategies and by anticipating the impact of losing a donor's brand.

Tobacco control organizations may utilize several resources to conduct self-evaluations of their current infrastructure and operations and to develop and implement plans to improve organization sustainability. Organizations can also attempt to leverage donor support to achieve organization sustainability and plan for future brand loss.

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