What are the factors that influence the sustainability of grant-funded programs?
The Georgia Health Policy Center conducted a study of grantees of Health Resources and Services Administration’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy to see if there were certain factors that predict long-term sustainability.
It ends up that the “DNA” of sustainability is less about fixed traits and more about adaptive behaviors.
Sustainability is not clearly or consistently tied to programmatic factors, including the focus of the program (oral health, mental health, chronic disease management, etc.), the program approach (care coordination, care navigation, telehealth), type of organization funded, (hospital, Federally Qualified Health Center, nonprofit), or the financial mechanism used to sustain the program (reimbursement, grants, etc.).
Instead, programs that are most likely to sustain share certain behavioral and strategic characteristics, including leadership, collaboration, alignment between need and demand, using data to demonstrate impact, and are attuned to the policy context.
“It is interesting that sustainability is tied to adaptive characteristics — behavioral and strategic characteristics that can be learned or changed,” says Amanda Phillips Martinez, associate project director at GHPC. “Understanding the factors associated with post-grant sustainability may be helpful for funder organizations, particularly those that seek to invest in rural and frontier communities, as well as providers of technical assistance to grantees.”
Read more about DNA of Sustainability.