Funders, foundations, government agencies and even donors, want the organizations they fund to demonstrate outcomes, not report activities and outputs. They want to fund results oriented programs, not read touching stories.
Funders want to see:
- Strategy more than tactics – Improve graduation rate through tutoring VS X number of participants in an after school program
- Big picture versus tallies of activities – Produce X number of people in jobs that pay $15 or more per hour employed for 1 year or more VS Train X number people in manufacturing skills and Assist X number of people in resume preparation
- Partnering more than referring – Partner with X number of organizations to provide GED qualified participants for a workforce development program VS Refer clients who cannot read to literacy organizations. Partner implies interaction – Refer implies you are done
- Effectiveness instead of blood, sweat and tears -X number of program participants plan to choose a career in healthcare VS Spoke to 25 student groups on healthcare careers and participated in 3 high school career day events
- Systemic change versus heart-rending anecdotes – Facilitated the adoption of new policy by the Sheriff’s Department that directs officers to contact Solicitor’s office before detaining juveniles VS Story about a School Resource Officer that counseled two eleventh graders and kept them from dropping out
- Evidence of follow-up and follow through – Provided resources that enabled X number of program graduates to stay employed in years two through five VS Contacted X number of program graduates to complete survey about employment status
- Depth, breadth and commitment of relationships with stakeholders – Coalition of a high school, a community center, parents, Boy Scouts and two churches provide tutoring and support for at-risk sixth graders. Detailed MOUs exist between the organizations; parents and student participants sign commitment letters. Grades and test scores of student participants are monitored. The outcome goal of the program is that promotion from sixth to seventh grade will improve each year. VS A community center that offers an after school program for middle schoolers with volunteer tutors and monitors. There are no MOUs with other organizations or schools. Participation by students is voluntary; parents are not required to be involved. Because there is no formal relationship with the school the community center cannot obtain grades or test scores.
Obviously it takes time to focus on outcomes and develop program, measurements and relationships that will accomplish those outcomes. But the time is an investment in a proposal and a program that will get funded.