Outcome chains can help organize your thinking about what you hope to achieve. They require you to put your program theory to work and articulate how your activities will bring about the impacts in the organizations with whom you are working. Outcome chains create a logical progression of the short-term, intermediate, and long-term outcomes that lead to your goals. Consider the example of a large nonprofit that provides training to smaller nonprofit organizations. The provision of training can create the following chain, linking reactions, learning, behavior, and results:
Not all organizations can and will measure all the different outcomes noted in an outcome chain. Consider the example of the outcome chain above. Your organization may not have the tools and resources to evaluate outcomes as they relate to reaction, learning, behavior, and results. If your circumstances do not allow you to evaluate all areas, focus on the earlier outcomes noted in the outcome chain. There is no point in measuring for results if you cannot point to the series of outcomes that impacted those results.