We see ourselves as investors. Like anyone, we want to see positive results from the investments we make. We require applicants to provide us information on how they measure client impact. We use this information to determine if your program or organization would be an appropriate investment for our Foundation. Our funds are limited, so we focus where we can make the most impact to further our mission.
When we ask for client impact, we are looking for program-specific, direct service related information. The numbers you serve are an important part of your results; however, we are looking for information on how your programs have changed the lives of your clients.
Here’s how we define the following outcomes-related terms:
Outcome – We define outcome as a behavioral, skills or situational change in your clients. Think of this as the “so what?” factor. A client enters your program, begins receiving services, “so then what happened” and how did it change their life?
Key Initiatives or Strategies – These are the methods your organization uses to achieve an outcome. These initiatives or strategies will have milestones along the way that allow program staff to “check in” and determine if the desired change is occurring with the client (and if not, an opportunity to course correct).
Short-Term Measurement – Think about the first changes you anticipate seeing within a program – the change that must occur first before the client can progress. In some cases, this is as simple as a client agreeing to participate in a program or case management.
Intermediate-Term Measurement – What are the secondary changes you anticipate seeing in your client? This could be that they are achieving milestones of their case management plan.
Long-Term Measurement – When we think about the long-term impact, we are thinking from the perspective of the time a client is in your program. If your desired outcome is that they exit homelessness and into a permanent housing solution, what must happen to achieve that outcome? Do they secure a job that pays a living wage?
Indicators – When you think about evaluating your program, what are some of the numbers you consider? This could include:
If your organization does not have outcome measures in place, you should reconsider applying to the Foundation until you establish these measures within your organization.