A beginner’s guide to project outcomes

Castlehaven Community Centre (8).jpgWhat is a project outcome?

Outcomes are the changes or difference that your project can make over time.

It’s the result of what you do rather than the activities or services you provide.

Activities describe what you will actually do, such as:

  • Delivering an arts and crafts workshop
  • Producing tailored support plans
  • Running environmental workshops
  • Organising training for employers
  • Collating research on what works

It’s good practice once you have written your outcomes to ask yourself whether they show the difference the project is making (an outcome) or whether they are telling us what the project is doing (the activity). If you cannot identify the specific difference then this should not be included as an outcome.

When writing your outcomes include words of change like improved, reduced or maintained as this can help with monitoring them once funded. For example

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Linking your outcomes to your projects aim

It is important to make a clear link between the overall aim of the project, the issues faced by your beneficiaries, such as isolation or poor health, and your project outcomes, which might be to reduce isolation or improve health and wellbeing. See diagram

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Perfecting your outcomes

Outcomes are important to us and other funders as they describe the impact your project will have on those it’s working with.  Spend time thinking about who will benefit from your project, how they will benefit and what change you want to see as a result.

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Checklist of things to consider

  • Specific: Is the outcome short, concise and clear?
  • Has the ‘difference’ to the beneficiary/volunteer/organisation/wider sector been explained?
  • Achievable: Is the outcome realistic given the timeframe and resources?
  • Is it relevant? Does the outcome directly relate to the overall aim of the project?
  • Check that the outcome is not just an activity?
  • Is it realistic? They need to be achieved by the end of the project. Promising that ex-offenders will be in employment by the end of the project is a fantastic idea, but is it likely? It is better to state that ex-offenders will have increased employability skills and feel more confident about future employment and accessing the working environment, this would be more realistic and achievable.

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