What are the benefits people will derive from your grant-funded project? Will they gain skills? Will their attitudes or behavior change? Will they become more confident? Will they increase their knowledge? These benefits or changes are the outcomes for your project. You will set outcomes goals for your project and then measure progress towards achieving those goals throughout the project activities.
What are outcomes?
Infopeople offers a four-week course that is all about capturing program outcomes. The introductory content from that course is shared here: "What Are Program Outcomes, and What Is Their Role in Library Programming?". The reading includes step-by-step strategies for using outcomes. It also includes numerous library examples, which may be useful as you set outcomes goals and make plans for measurement for your grant-funded project.
How do I write an outcome goal?
Use this structure to write your outcomes goals: Intended audience+ will +verb indicating change+what you intend to change. For example, “job seekers will gain skills needed to navigate online job search resources.”
When you need to capture outcomes for a particular program or initiative, a useful first step is to clearly articulate an outcome statement, which describes the goal of your program and conveys what participants will get out of a program. Use this worksheet to create an outcome statement: Outcomes Statements.
After you’ve written an outcome statement, start determining how you will be able to tell if you’re successfully achieving your desired outcome. Outcome indicators are the attitudes, behaviors, and skills that help you to determine whether your outcome goal is being achieved. Use this worksheet to write outcomes indicators: Outcomes Indicators.
How do I measure outcomes?
There are various ways you can measure progress on outcomes goals. Surveys are a popular method. IMLS has a guide to Evaluation Resources, which is a useful resource describing what and how to measure in order to evaluate a program.
When you capture outcomes from library programs and services, you are better able to demonstrate their impact. You can use outcomes data to tell the story.
In this reading from Infopeople's Telling the Library Story with Data course, different types of data are overviewed (including outcomes) and ways to use the data to demonstrate impact are introduced: Data Types: Inputs, Outputs and Outcomes.
Outcomes data can become part of your "elevator speech", which is a brief, persuasive speech that you use to let people know about your project. A good elevator speech doesn't last longer than a short elevator ride of 20 to 30 seconds. Learn more about Creating an Elevator Speech.
Data can be a powerful part of our stories and knowing how to visually present it is important. In this reading from Infopeople's Telling the Library Story with Data course, an introduction to data visualization includes basic principles of graphic design that can help: Data Visualization for the Rest of Us: A Beginner's Guide.
Learn more about outcomes!
An Infopeople archived webinar presented by Amy Koester and Toby Greenwalt (July 2018). This webinar explores multiple steps along the library data pathway, from using data for internal analytics, to building institutional and community data literacy, to leveraging data for community and civic engagement.
An Infopeople archived webinar presented by Amanda Standerfer (June 2018). This webinar demonstrates how to develop and implement an outcomes-based evaluation framework that is easy to manage. Includes tools to design a logic model that will guide your data collection and set targets to show your success and inform learning.
An Infopeople archived webinar presented by Linda Hofschire (Dec 2016). This webinar offers practical tips for getting started with outcome-based evaluation including what outcomes are, and how they work in conjunction with inputs and outputs to provide meaningful information about your library's impact on your community.