Lesson 40 – Who Should Provide Program Measurements and Lesson #41 – How to Collect Outputs and Outcomes Based on Goals

Greetings from GrantLessons!

It was great seeing and talking with so many of you at the national conference. Today, we are continuing with more information on measuring our programs.

Lesson #40 – Who Should Provide Program Measurements
The chapter’s program chairs need to set-up what expectations that the committee intends to accomplish with the administration of a chapter’s program. Developing program measurements is part of running a chapter program.
Ideally, the measurements are written prior to the chapter implementing the program and the process for collecting the data needed is built into the implementation of the program. However, Assistance League chapter programs have developed over many years and have been in place for decades without measurements being collected. This poses a problem for the application writer. One may decide not to write an application simply because there are not any valid and reliable statistics that can be quoted as to the outputs and the outcomes for a program.
If there are statistics available the application writer can review the statistics with the program chair and determine if the statistics available are going to meet the intent of the application question. Once the chair understands the importance of program measurement to gaining funding for the program, they can set-up a few committee members to structure appropriate measurements.

Lesson #41 – How to Collect Outputs and Outcomes Based on Goals
Maintaining simplicity is important. One has to be careful that they do not over study this part of the process.
Before we can collect data we need to understand what the program goals are.
Let’s use the SMART acronym to focus our attention on writing goal statements. Peter Drucker was the first to use the acronym in his management work. SMART stands for writing goals that are (S)pecific, (M)easureable, (A)ttainable, (R)elevant, and (T)ime-bound.

  • (S)pecific – target a specific area for improvement (any one of the services provided by a chapter’s programs)
  • (M)easureable – how will we know when it is accomplished (dressed number of children is an output goal where % of children reporting increased satisfaction in attending school is an outcome goal)
  • (A)ttainable – what we can accomplish with our resources (dressed number of children in state of _____is not attainable with chapter resources but dressed number of children within ____ County is attainable)
  • (R)elevant – choosing things that matter (dressing children who are being bullied as a result of inappropriate school clothing is suitable where dressing children who already have financial support and a full closet is not)
  • (T)ime-bound – time-based (within the next fiscal year is suitable where in the future is not)


Examples of Goals for Chapter Programs
1. Program – Operation School Bell

Goal – Dress school children
Output Goal – Dress 3,000 unduplicated school children between the 6 and 12 years of age, each receiving $100 worth of clothes, during FYE 2016 (June 1, 2015 – May 31, 2016)
Outcome Goal – 80% of 3,000 children will report receiving school clothes increased their satisfaction with attending school, during FYE 2016 (June 1, 2015 – May 31, 2016)
2. Program – Kids on the Block

Goal – Teach children about social situations through puppet shows
Output Goal – Present 14 puppet shows to 2,000 students in 5 Washoe County elementary schools during FYE 2016 (June 1, 2015 – May 31, 2016)
Outcome Goal – 80% of 2,000 Washoe County students express increased understanding of appropriate options when met with social situations, i.e. bullying, during FYE 2016

3. Program – Food Pantry

Goal – Provide food bags to seniors
Output Goal – Provide two food bags to 500 unduplicated over age 60 income eligible seniors during FYE 2015 (June 1, 2014 – May 31, 2015)
Outcome Goal – 90% of unduplicated income eligible over age 60 seniors report receiving food bags assists them to age in place
Collecting Output and Outcomes
There are many ways to collect data for chapter programs. The process and the form need to be simple to ensure that the data is collected and that it will be able to be analyzed.
Collecting output data is simpler because this is counting the number of occurrences. The program managers will have this data since it deals with the number of things that occurred, i.e., number of children dressed at Operation School Bell.
Collecting outcome data is not quite as easy. Often times a short survey is used to collect the data. Here are a few important points about using surveys:
• The survey needs to be short,
• The survey should ask direct questions related to program satisfaction or effectiveness,
• The questions need to be short,
• Only one item per question, and
• The questions may need to be translated into another language.
When to collect the data is important. For instance if one is trying to determine the immediate effect of receiving new clothes, the survey needs to occur soon after the recipients receive their new clothes from Operation School Bell. Trying to gather data after a program has been executed for a year is nearly impossible.

Okay take a deep breath, perhaps considering one program like Operation School Bell is the place to start.

Catch me when you can and I will catch up with you soon. Sandie


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