Contribution by Jim Myers, MSW, NLCC Language Evaluator

As was noted in the May 2021 newsletter within the Evaluation Proclamations section, there has been an increased interest among the NLCC recipients about how to sustain projects post-grant. The section of the newsletter focused upon a key tenet of project sustainability – partnerships; with a focus on developing evaluation questions and activities to assess the effectiveness of partnerships. To go a step further, this July 2021 post provides an overview of a project self-assessment tool that may be helpful in evaluating a project’s overall sustainability capacity.

The Project Sustainability Assessment Tool (PSAT) is a 40-item assessment tool developed to evaluate a project’s future overall sustainability capacity in eight (8) domains key to sustainability. The tool has been used primarily in the sectors of public health, social services, and education. The tool usually takes about 10 to 15 minutes to complete and can be taken by individual project staff or a group of staff members. Results from the PSAT can be used to develop an action plan that increases the likelihood of project sustainability.

As referenced above, the PSAT evaluates eight (8) domains key to sustainability. In their article, “Using the Program Sustainability Assessment Tool to Assess and Plan for Sustainability,” Calhoun et al. (2014) provide a matrix that offers a concise overview of each of the domains and the accompanying definition for each of the domains.

PSAT: Project Sustainability Domains and Definitions

DomainDefinition
Political SupportHaving a supportive internal and external climate for a project.
Funding StabilityEstablishing a consistent financial base for your project.
PartnershipsCultivating connections between a project and its stakeholders.
Organizational CapacityHaving the internal support and resources needed to effectively manage a project.
Program EvaluationAssessing a project to inform planning and document results.
Program AdaptationTaking actions that adapt a project to ensure its ongoing effectiveness.
CommunicationsStrategic communication with stakeholders and the public about a project.
Strategic PlanningUsing processes that guide a project’s directions, goals, and strategies.

The Project Sustainability Assessment Tool website provides a detailed overview of the assessment and the assessment process. If completed online through the official website, creates a user-friendly dashboard of your project’s current sustainability capacity. The address for the official website is: https://sustaintool.org/psat/

Good luck with your sustainability efforts!

Resource cited:

Annaliese, et al. “Using the Program Sustainability Tool to Assess and Plan for Sustainability.” Preventing Chronic Disease 11 January 2014: 8. document. June 2021. http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd11.130185.