As someone who have written countless grants and reviewed grant proposals, while helping nonprofits develop strategic plans and design programs, I have seen firsthand how many know little about what an outcome statement is, where it fits in a program plan, and how it should read in a program, strategy or grant document.
Why you need a well-articulated outcome statement
It is incredibly difficult to go somewhere new and unfamiliar without directions. Yet as leaders that’s exactly what we do without a well-articulated outcome statement. Outcome statement are so important because they help you stay focused on your journey towards making or expanding your impact.
Outcomes statements tell your stakeholders including donors and funders – that you are not just going forward, you know where you are going. It shows that you know exactly what you have set out to accomplish. Because of your well written outcome statement, your funders can be clear about what their investment will produce if they entrusted you with some of it. They are what you measure to show the world that you are making a difference.
So, you want to make sure you have them written out correctly.
What are Outcomes?
Before we talk about how outcomes statements should read, let’s first get on the same page on what program outcomes are:
An outcome as the word implies, is a term used to describe what your program aims to accomplish. It is the results you want to see happen because of your interventions. It is the change that happens because of what you and your team does daily.
It often sits somewhere between your program outputs and your broad program goal. You can consider them the escrow of your program Goal. They are the link between what you accomplish every day, month or year (output) and what you hope to accomplish in the society, community, or environment (Goal) in 5, 10, 15 or 50 years.
Your program’s logic model, or theory of change (if you have one) should show a logical connection between your outcomes and your Goal.
Your outcomes usually draw from your program objectives. They may be short term (1-2 years) – often referred to as early outcomes or long term (3-5 years) – often referred to as late outcomes.
How Should Outcomes Be Articulated
Outcome statements should be measurable or quantifiable, specific and clearly contribute to a broader goal. They should be specific, manageable and achievable. Outcomes are sometimes stated using action verbs like increased, decreased, Improved e.t.c.
Let’s consider a good example of an outcome statement for the goal: To achieve a 10% Reduction in the prevalence of Skin Cancer among Caucasian women in Georgia County by 2024 :
- Achieve 50% increase in the number of middle-aged Caucasian women in Austin Metroplex can who name at least one skin cancer prevention method.
- Achieve a 20 % in increase routine Skin Cancer screening among middle-aged Caucasian women in Austin Metroplex
So, take a moment to check your outcome statements against these tips and examples and revise accordingly.
Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need a second eye to look at them. I’ll be happy to assist.
And by the way… I recently had some clients reach out to get help with developing their program logic model and theory of change. I am thinking of doing a piece on it but want to be sure it’s something other people can benefit from.
If this is something you would like me to write on, let me know in the comments section below or shoot me a private message.
To working Strategies and Authentic Results
It’s Chinnie & Team.