Assess your group’s capacity to implement the selected strategies by answering three questions:
- What capacity is required to implement these strategies?
- Does your group (e.g., organization, coalition, cluster) have that capacity?
- If not, how will you improve your capacity?
These questions should be addressed in your strategic plan.
Partners who are involved in the assessment and planning processes may find that they lack the skills needed to carry out one or more of the selected strategies. A plan to improve capacity may include involving additional community partners who already have appropriately trained staff, hiring staff with the necessary expertise, or providing training opportunities for staff and members who will be involved in implementing the intervention. When seeking community partners, keep in mind the principles of cultural competence; ensuring diversity among your partners and developing links with community institutions are good strategies for supporting cultural competence.36
Everyone involved in the effort should understand his or her role in implementing the identified strategies. All too often, the tasks of implementation are handed over to a few staff members, while others sit back and expect to hear about how the work is going, without being directly involved. Staff may be able to fill a number of important roles, including preparing meeting minutes, compiling reports, coordinating meetings, facilitating communication with partners, maintaining accurate records for funding and reporting requirements, and assisting with planning, problem solving, and information management. However, with all these roles to fill, staff cannot also be expected to implement the selected strategies by themselves.
You may consider forming small committees that will each focus on a specific strategy. In doing so, remember to support cultural competence by ensuring diversity in your leadership. Providing additional leadership opportunities can also be an integral way to promote sustainability. The more invested your partners become, the more likely they will be to support your group’s activities in the long term.
Some members may be willing to become program champions—those who speak about and promote the strategies in the community. In addition, members can leverage resources for change in the community through their professional and personal spheres of influence. For example, a member might serve as a liaison to help implement an inter-organizational prevention effort, bringing together organizations to which he or she has connections.