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KEY ITEMS OF A LOGIC MODEL
As Figure 19.2 illustrates, the key items of a logic model include the situation and priorities, assumptions, inputs, outputs, outcomes, external factors, and evaluation relevant to the situation.
Nonprofit organizations implement programs, projects, or activities in order to achieve an overarching goal. Therefore, the goal and objectives are integral parts of the logic model.
SITUATION AND PRIORITIES
The situation refers to the needs of a target population that a program attempts to satisfy, as well as the vision, mission, values, and organization. The situation and priorities serve as justification to design and implement a program. The situation is anticipated to be addressed based on the mission, vision, and values of an organization, as well as its organizational capability.
Inputs are resources that nonprofit organizations use to implement programs, projects, or activities. In other words, inputs are monetary and nonmonetary investments made in a program in order to obtain a return called "outcomes." For example, the staff and volunteers who are involved in a program, the materials, the equipment, supplies, or energy that they use, and the money spent are all examples of inputs or resources.
Outputs include activities and strategies on the one hand and participation on the other hand. Outputs are the activities and products or services produced by the program (work accomplished, units of service provided, persons referred). Participation refers to the beneficiaries, clients, community partners, policy makers, community agencies, and other participants involved in the programs.
Outcomes are results that programs or projects produced for individuals, families, or communities. Outcomes can be short term, medium term, or long term.
The short-term outcomes are learning that results from participation in programs or projects. Short-term outcomes are measured based on changes in motivation, knowledge, attitudes, skills, awareness, opinion, and aspirations.
Medium-term outcomes are actions that result from learning provided by the program or project. Medium-term outcomes are measured through changes in social action, policies, behavior, and decision making.
Long-term outcomes or impact refers to conditions that change as a result of action produced by a program or project. Impact is measured through changes in health, education, economic, civic, and environmental conditions of a community or society.
The external factors refer to the conditions related to the external environment of a program, which can affect input, output, and outcomes.
Evaluation: Refers to the collection of data on input and output to assess whether the program delivered the anticipated outcomes.
BENEFITS OF THE LOGIC MODEL
The logic model provides a common framework for better program planning and management and better understanding among program stakeholders. The inputs, outputs, and outcomes can be visualized in a graphic that clarifies differences between outputs and outcomes. The clarification provided by the logic model helps ensure consistency and coherence in a program. The logic model contributes to the creation of a sense of purpose. The existence of a logic model enables an organization to prioritize, make appropriate resource allocations, and identify key variables to measure.
Simply put, program evaluation consists of use of social research methods and procedures to collect data and analyze the effectiveness of programs run by an organization (Box 19.1). Program evaluation is useful when examining the worth of specific programs and suggests recommendations to decision makers. Program evaluation can be conducted to assess the needs of a program, the adequacy of program design, the implementation of activity or service delivery, the outcomes, or the efficiency of the overall program or project.