OUTCOMES VS. OUTPUTS
With limited grant dollars available, it is important for the Foundation to closely track program outcomes and outputs from grants. This helps us to measure the impact of our philanthropic investments and it helps us to continue raising funds which can then be reinvested in the community. When listing outcomes and outputs in your grant proposal, it is important to keep them specific, realistic and achievable. It is also critical to understand the Foundation’s definitions of outcomes vs. outputs.
What are outcomes?
Outcomes serve as qualitative indicators to monitor and report on during your grant period. Put simply, outcomes seek to measure “who benefits and to what extent?”
Examples of questions addressed in outcome measurements may include:
What will change in the lives of individuals, families, organizations, or the community because of this program?
How will this program make a difference to individuals or the community?
How are the lives of program participants better because of the program?
What are outputs?
For outputs, the Foundation seeks quantitative measurements to monitor and report on during your grant period. Put simply, outputs seek to capture “how many/how much” of something is being accomplished?
Examples of output measurements may include:
# of students accepted into an education program
# of youth entering community college apprenticeship programs
# of clients served through the counseling program
An output is the quantitative—or countable—result of your work. It is the number of meetings, the number of people served, the number of classes offered and the number of trainings your organization will provide through the grant.
Outcomes, however, record the changes that occur due to your program. They may measure the change in client behavior, skills or knowledge gained as a result of your grant’s activities or the impact of your grant on the community issue addressed. Outcomes are the difference you’ve made as a result of the outputs: the increase of soft skill development, decrease in homelessness, the decrease in disease, the increase in employment opportunities, etc.