Organizations would likely be willing to spend good money for a tool that would allow them to easily demonstrate and think through their impact; however, this "tried and true" model is completely free to you right now and it has the goes by the name: “Logic Model.”
While we know that logic models make some individuals hit their head on a table in agony, we have yet to come across a tool that allows organizations to communicate their programming more effectively.
Logic models are generally made up of five different components; however, there is often confusion between these distinct portions of the logic model, so below is an explanation to help you ensure that your next logic model is not only "logical," but also accurate.
Inputs are the items that you need to conduct your programs or services. Inputs can include people (staff, teachers, volunteers, etc.), resources (money, time, etc.), supplies (program related materials), and space (office building, community center, rented space, etc.). In essence, your inputs your program budget combined with a list of additional items that are required, but do not need purchased (volunteers, donated space, etc.)
Activities is your actual program intervention. This is where the magic of your program takes over. You have all of the supplies identified in your activities area and you are conducting your actual program or service. For example, activities of an afterschool program would include snack time, homework help, volunteer service, etc.
Now here is where individuals often get confused. There is a difference between outputs and outcomes. Outputs are items that you can count. For examples, in continuing with the afterschool program, items that you could count would be attendance, number of homework assignments completed, and number of volunteer hours served.
Outcomes are the change in behavior, attitude, or knowledge that individuals gain as a result of participant in your program. Simply having students attend an afterschool program does not yield an outcome. Outcomes for an afterschool program could be increased school attendance, improved grades, etc.
Here is a fill in the blank for you to help you create an outcome:
“As a result of participating in our program, (client) will (outcome) as measured by (data point)”
Here is a full example – As a result of participating in our program, students will increase their classroom grades as measured by the end of year standardized test”
Often times when I work with organizations on a logic model they often want to put their outcomes in the goals section. The goal that you are trying to achieve should never be measurable. Your program’s goal is often related directly to your vision statement.
I often tell folks to complete this sentence when creating a goal – “In a perfect world…”. For example, “In a perfect world, all students would have a safe and supportive and place to go afterschool”. You can then reframe it into your goal – All students have a safe and supportive place to go afterschool.
We hope this will help clarify the language of a logic model, and we challenge you to create a logic model for your individual programs if you have not done so already. If you have, double check your logic model against our blog.
Download the FREE logic model worksheet to get started! (LINK)
Do you have a logic model you would like some feedback on? Send your logic model to firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our consultants will give it a FREE 15-minute review.