All nonprofit organizations are noticing an increase in requests for logic models, but I believe these requests are more frequent for human service organizations. In addition, I believe human service organizations struggle with developing high quality logic models more than any other nonprofit sector.
A standard logic model is a graphic representation of how a program is supposed to work. While there is some variation in the exact categories, most include:
* Short and Long Term Outcomes
Inputs - these are the resources that are needed to make the program succeed. While funding is obvious, it may also include staffing, participants, evidenced-based curriculum, supplies, and/or equipment.
Activities - All of the resources are used to conduct specific activities. Each activity listed may be based on a body of research that shows it to be best practice or it may be something innovative that your organization is proposing to address an issue not addressed by others.
Outputs - One of the most misunderstood sections of a logic model is outputs. These are a measurement of your process or your activities. These might be the number of outreach events, the number of trainings or number of hours of training provided, or the number of participants attending the activity.
Outcomes: These are the intended effects of the program. Funders use terms like measureable goals, objectives, and/or outcomes. For example, did they get a job, if so follow up with them to see if they maintained employment. Unfortunately, many human service organizations have only counted the number of services they have provided to their clients (outputs). Outcomes should document a change in client awareness, knowledge, attitudes, skills, behavior, decisions, or policies. These should mirror your needs or objectives and have a measureable indicator. An indicator will say:
* What data will be collected - set up data forms to standardize collection
* How the data will be collected - who will collect, when will it be collected, method of collection
Follow up is a key part of true outcomes. Many organizations do not feel they have the time to conduct follow up contact or they have difficulty reaching the participant due to the often transient nature of the population who needs this kind of assistance. If human service organizations want to continue receiving grant funding from community organizations and foundations, they will need to brainstorm the best methods of developing these evaluation processes.