ACT for Youth Center of Excellence

Sustaining Youth Development Efforts

Sustaining youth development programs and initiatives is hard work, requiring vision, planning, persistence, and outreach. Good resources are available to guide your efforts.

Planning and Promoting

A good planning process can be very helpful to the long-term stability of your youth development efforts. The best planning processes will help you connect to community partners; identify needs, resources, and strategies; and articulate the case for your initiative or program. By documenting what you learn along the way, you will strengthen your ability to communicate effectively with partners and funders.

ACT for Youth Resources

Comprehensive Community Assessment
How to assess community needs and resources, and the role such assessments may play in helping you identify the best strategies for meeting community needs. This discussion focuses on sexual health programming, but the information given is also applicable to other areas of youth development.

Engaging Community Partners
How to make the case for your initiative to a variety of community sectors.

Planning for Evidence-Based Programming
Introduces a planning process that will not only lead to identifying the best program for your community, but will also help you clearly document your efforts for current or potential funders. This discussion focuses on sexual health programming, but the process described has also been used in other contexts such as the prevention of substance abuse.

External Resources

Afterschool Alliance: Funding and Sustainability
Offers tools for after-school program providers.

Community Partnerships for Healthy Children: If We Speak They Will Listen (PDF: 5.6M)
Introduces ways to communicate your mission and activities to members of your coalition, your community, and the media.

Community Toolbox: Sustaining the Work
Provides a framework and supports for planning for the long-term sustainability of a community initiative.

Getting to Outcomes
Outlines a planning and implementation process for using evidence-based programs. For a version of Getting To Outcomes that focuses on adolescent sexual health, see Planning for Evidence-Based Programming.

Funding Resources

Afterschool Alliance Funding Database
Allows customized searches for program funding information.

Afterschool.gov
Connects after-school program providers to federal resources.

Michigan State University Libraries: Grants for Nonprofits - Children and Youth
Provides an extensive list of links to foundations and government programs with an interest in youth.

SparkAction: Fund and Sustain Your Work
Offers funding resources and grant alerts focused on children, youth, and families.