Outcomes evaluation measures the results of your work—the changes that happen because you do what you do. It is not enough for nonprofits to assume that good intentions, good-faith effort, or even exemplary program implementation will result in the desired outcomes for those we serve.
Outcomes evaluation looks at the benefits to clients during and after participation in your programs. One of the basic principles that we try to convey to both funders and nonprofits is the importance of breaking down short, intermediate, and long-term outcomes. Outcomes should represent changes that can logically be expected given your program plan and length of the grant period. Outcomes also need to be within the sphere of influence of a program.
Once desired outcomes are clearly defined, an outcomes evaluation systematically collects and analyzes data to show whether those outcomes are being achieved.
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