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Helpful Hints:
Understanding Outcomes vs. Outputs

In order to help measure the impact of our philanthropic investments, the Silver Family Foundation asks each applicant to provide details about program outcomes and outputs. When listing outcomes and outputs in your grant proposal, it is crucial to keep them specific, realistic and achievable. It is also important to provide a clear and concise explanation that demonstrates your understanding of these terms. 

Here is some helpful information to better explain what we are looking for when we ask for outcomes vs. outputs.

Program Outputs: 

Program outputs refer to the tangible and measurable results directly produced by a nonprofit program or intervention. They are typically quantitative in nature and focus on activities and deliverables of the program. Examples of program outputs include the number of people served, the number of workshops conducted, the number of meals provided, or the number of books distributed.

Emphasize that program outputs are essential for tracking the implementation and efficiency of the program. They showcase the volume and scale of the activities carried out, serving as indicators of the organization's efforts.

Program Outcomes:


Program outcomes, on the other hand, go beyond the outputs and address the broader impact or changes that result from the program activities. They capture the benefits, effects, or improvements experienced by the target population or the community as a whole. Program outcomes are typically qualitative in nature and focus on the changes in knowledge, behavior, conditions, or attitudes.

You should highlight program outcomes that demonstrate the effectiveness and significance of your organization's work. They illustrate the positive differences made in the lives of the individuals or communities served. Examples of program outcomes include improved literacy rates, social and emotional development, an increase in high school graduation rates, or persistence in college.  Change is the key word here. Outcomes look at the changes that you expect to see in your participants because they participated in your program. In other words, program outcomes are the difference you’ve made as a result of program outputs. 

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