Program outcomes are extremely important and lie at the core of your organisation because they show that the services you provide and the programs you operate generate a benefit for your clients and the community. In a previous blog we introduced outcomes measurement and highlighted how its primary benefit it to help keep our finger on the pulse and consistently measure small improvements or declines (which often go unnoticed by organisations who think change has to be earth shattering!) so that we can continually make adjustments to our programs and services. There are many other reasons why outcomes measurement is so important, which are detailed in SQI’s 4-part Outcomes Measurement Survival e-Guide, however, this blog will outline the top 4 reasons why every organisation needs to get on board with outcomes measurement.
1. Can clearly measure, articulate and build your effectiveness
Outcomes measurement tells you if the work that you are doing is really making a difference in the lives of the people you are working with. Outcomes are proof that you are being effective in producing lasting results for your clients and the community. And if these results are not making the kinds of differences you had anticipated, outcomes measurement’s greatest power is to help you improve the ability of your organisation to meet its goals. So it allows your organisation to focus on, improve and build upon what your organisation does best through a process of continuous improvement. It empowers, supports, and elevates the core of who you are, what you do, and why you do it – to positively affect the people you serve.
2. Secures funding and demonstrates Return on Investment to Funders
Building on the first point above, if you can clearly measure and articulate your effectiveness to potential funders, then you are more likely to be able to secure ongoing funding, leading to increased sustainability. Once you have secured funding, funders want to know that their money is making a difference. With outcomes measurement, you can tell funders exactly how their contributions are making an impact. Outcomes measurement can therefore generate the information and knowledge required to demonstrate a solid return on investment to funders.
3. Creates buy-in from Stakeholders
Your organisation has many stakeholders, including internal and external stakeholders, such as your staff, clients (program participants), board members, volunteers and the community. Outcomes are important to all of these groups because they prove that your organisation is achieving something meaningful. Outcomes are the proof that the effort, time, and money put into the organisation actually “makes a difference” in the world. When you can prove that you are making a real impact, you create momentum, energy, good-will and buy-in from these groups. Proving outcomes and demonstrating stakeholder accomplishments can motivate staff and boost internal morale, engage board members, create enthusiasm among volunteers, and generate buzz in the community. You can then capitalise on this positive energy to make an even bigger impact with more buy-in, stronger support, and increased enthusiasm from your stakeholders into the future.
4. Develops Social awareness
Lastly, outcomes are important to drive social awareness. Finding large groups of people who have the same energy, passion, and belief in what you may be doing can be hard. However, you can bring more people to your cause by creating awareness to the social challenge you are attempting to solve. But stating that you are “attempting” to solve a challenge isn’t enough to create wide-spread interest in what you do. You need to combine both purpose (your organisational goals) with results (your outcomes). You have to convince others that your cause and purpose makes an impact. Using outcomes allows you to cast a wider net, draw people to your cause, and generate social awareness to the unique challenge that exists and how you make an impact to solve it.
Check out SQI’s 4-part Outcomes Measurement Survival e-guide which is packed with more information to highlight how important outcomes measurement can be for your organisation.