How exactly does your program work? Look at your logic model. A logic model isn’t some obscure “thing” that takes a ton of time and work to put together – it’s a basic illustration of how exactly your program works. Specifically, a logic model sets out how an intervention, such as social media, is intended to produce particular results. Above is a logic model I put together for a youth-serving program.
A logic model usually consists of four things:
- Inputs - The ingredients for your program (staff, money, space, etc).
- Activities - The things that happen in your program (don’t confuse this with outputs!). For example, fathers attend parenting classes is an activity.
- Outputs - The direct products of program activities, for example: the number of parenting classes you hold for fathers, the number of fathers served, etc. Outputs are not the end goal – they lead to the end goal (or outcome) and often do not explain or indicate the actual impact on those you serve.
- Outcomes - The actual impacts or benefits for those your program(s) serve, for example: fathers pay more child support, fathers gained knowledge in early childhood learning (knowledge/skills, behaviors, values, etc). It is the outcome, not the output, that your program/organization strives to accomplish.
Hopefully, you already have a logic model for your program – but if you don’t, take some time to put one together. This will be a critical tool in designing your evaluation. Also, funders love seeing these in grant applications!
Want to see more examples? Check out Evaluation Samples Week for ideas.