Aims Outputs Outcomes and knowing the difference

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What Aims

Your overall aim tells everyone why your organisation exists and the overall impact you wish to have on your members or the people you work with

Example: The anytown community trust aims to improve the Quality of life for families living in anytown

Your overall aim should be focused and guided by your organisations vision it should say your organisation would hope to achieve with resources but not a problem. A good way to think about your aims is to think of it as a magic wand question.

What are your outputs?

Next you need to think about the services that you provide some people call these outputs – the things you deliver

Outputs are what help you to fulfil your overall aim.

Think carefully about how your activities can change the lives of the people you work with the changes you make are your outcomes

Example of Outcomes:

  • Are about change or difference.
  • Are not the activity- they are the result of the activity
  • Must link logically to the activity
  • Use words like improve, decrease, develop, expand.
  • Should be realistic – achievable in a few years
  • Should be (largely) in your power to deliver
  • Should be simple
  • Answer the “so what”? Question.
  • Should be SMART Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time- related

So What?

If you’re not sure whether you’re looking at an outcome or an output asking the so what question may help:

Any town community project runs a youth club – SO WHAT?

30 Young people attend sport classes at the youth club – SO WHAT?

These are important, but not outcomes so what came out of the youth club

The young people learn about health and fitness Outcome

Childhood obesity is reduced outcome

Young people health is improved Outcome