By Laura Taylor
Every organization wants to have impact in all that they do. Often, that desired impact is seen as some lofty goal that is a nice intention but not really achievable. When attempting to gain support and establish attainable objectives, effective evaluation should occur. There should be a connection between the activities performed and the results causing the anticipated impact. To ensure that is happening, proper evaluation should be conducted. One evaluation tool that helps visually generate clarity between the resources and activities and the outcomes is a logic model.
A logic model can assist in planning, implementing, and demonstrating to stakeholders the goals and activities and the ultimate impact produced. The basic elements of a logic model include the following:
Elements of a Logic Model
- Resources: Assets and Investments - like volunteers, time, money, technology, partners.
- Activities: What is performed - like training, services delivered, building partnerships, working with the media.
- Outputs: The results of the Activities - like number of people served, participation numbers, number of hours or product.
- Outcomes: The change that occurs between the initial Resources and the Outputs - like changes in awareness, knowledge, skills, behavior.
- Impact: Long-term, systemic changes - like social conditions, economic, civic, and/or environmental changes.
There are many ways to illustrate a logic model. The image below shows one way to exemplify this.
Logic Model Example
Underlying a logic model is a series of "if-then" relationships that express the organization’s theory of change. In reading a logic model left to right, it begins with the resources.
- There are resources needed to operate.
- If you have access to the resources, then you can use them to accomplish your activities.
- If you accomplish your planned activities, then you hopefully are able to deliver the desired product or service.
- If you accomplish the activities as intended, then your participants will benefit.
- If these benefits are achieved, then changes occur (impact).
Reading a Logic Model
If you are not already using a logic model, give it a try at your next planning session when the focus is the impact your organization can have within your industry and community.
For more information and a complete Logic Model Evaluation Toolkit, check out Using a Logic Model.