How do you do implementation?

Knowing about implementation is one thing, but doing it is another. So where do you start?

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to implementation. It looks different in each situation and can mean many things depending on what you’re doing. For example, the process of implementing an evidence-informed practice in a single agency setting will differ from the process of implementing an action plan across a community. There may be some tools and resources that can support your implementation process, but ultimately, there’s no prescribed checklist for you to follow. Just as practice is the only way to learn a new skill, experience is how communities become proficient in implementation.

Here’s the good news: you’re probably already doing it. It started when your community chose to mobilize around youth suicide. Your implementation work continued when your community decided to come together to make a plan. The community mobilization process is just like the implementation process – a continuous, ongoing journey of planning, doing and evaluating.

But there’s more to it. When integrating new practices in your community efforts to address youth suicide, it’s important to consider the processes involved or how they are put into place. Training alone – no matter how well done – does not lead to successful implementation.

Implementation will help your community take stock of where you’ve come from and where you plan to go. It will help your community learn together and develop more knowledge and experience. Most importantly, implementation will help you chart a successful and sustainable path for the future. We know you’re working hard to mobilize your community around youth suicide. So make sure your efforts last.

Consider these key elements for implementing community mobilization efforts:

Get ready.

  • Consider your capacity to support the community's efforts, as well as your community's readiness to change.

Build buy-in.

  • Help community members at all levels understand the need for change and support. Gain commitment to make it happen.

Do your research.

  • What does your community need? Set priorities and consider the best fit of proposed strategies for your community.

Build a team of champions.

  • Success depends on an effective team to move your work forward. Don't forget to engage with youth and families!

Allocate resources.

  • Without sufficient resources (both human and financial), change can cause frustration that will slow you down.

Make a plan. Stick to it.

  • Outline the steps your community plans to take together and use this as your guide. Document it using terms of reference.

Chart your course.

  • Use evaluation to assess what you've done, determine where you're at and plot a course of action for the future.

Reach out.

  • Seek help from a trainer or someone with expertise. And don't forget to share what you learn with others!

Keep talking.

  • Establish ways to communicate with stakeholders about the process and outcomes of your community efforts.

Maintain momentum.

  • Stay motivated, energized and engaged throughout the process. Implementation isn't always fast and easy.

Don't rush it.

  • Implementation takes time. You'll be more prepared and less likely to overlook important things if you take your time.


Looking for more information to help implement your community mobilization efforts? Check out Tools and resources.