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Welcome to the e-learning lesson on developing a plan for outcome measurement. The world of evaluation uses countless words and varying terminology to describe the process of evaluating outcomes. For the purpose of this e-learning, we will be discussing outcome measurement as a means of exploring the impacts or results of a program or initiative. An outcome is a measurable and observable change in individuals, groups, organizations, systems, or communities. Outcome measurement is a systematic way to assess the extent to which a program has achieved its intended results. The main questions addressed in outcome measurement are: What has changed in the lives of individuals, families, organizations, or the community as a result of this program? Has this program made a difference? How are the lives of program participants better as a result of the program? By the end of this lesson, you will be able to: understand how to identify measurable outcomes and outcome chains, develop a logic model, and identify performance indicators and performance targets to support the outcome measurement process.

Outcomes communicate value.

Outcomes are the reason nonprofit organizations strive to deliver programs and build their capacity. Most importantly, however, proper evaluation techniques provide your organization with proof of their value to existing funders, potential funders, and the larger community. Whether this value is communicated in dollars or the number of individuals served, quantifiable performance measures are becoming important in the increasingly competitive social service industry.

Successful outcome measurement hinges on a cohesive plan.

Preparation and planning is a key part of the outcome measurement process.  The better the planning, the more impact the outcome measurement will have on your organization and your organization's bottom line.  By the conclusion of this lesson you will be able to:

  • Understand how to identify measurable outcomes and outcome chains
  • Develop a logic model
  • Identify performance indicators and performance targets to support the outcome measurement process