How to adopt an outcomes-focused approach

28 Mar 2018

This step-by-step guide takes you through the main tasks and what they involve to set up an outcomes management approach for your organisation. Part one covers defining how you create the change.

The social sector is increasingly becoming focused on outcomes. Government departments, philanthropists and consumers of social services are encouraging a shift towards an outcomes-focused approach. Service providers are responding in a range of ways to help them secure funding, or to help them improve their capacity to achieve positive changes for their stakeholders.

Outcomes are the positive changes that happen for people as a consequence of an activity – doing something. For example, the activity of giving a child a pair of glasses leads to the outcomes of a child being able to see; and the child being able to read in class and gain confidence.

Adopting an outcomes-focused approach means orienting your organisation to achieve outcomes – the results of your activities. A focus on outcomes helps organisations prove to stakeholders that what they are doing is working. More importantly, it also helps organisations improve what they are doing, by being armed with better information about what is working and what is not.

This two-part article builds on the SVA Quarterly article ‘Managing to outcomes: what, why and how’ by concentrating on the ‘how’ and describing the main tasks: developing a ‘logic model’ (also known as a theory of change or a program logic) and measuring outcomes.

The content for this article is drawn from Managing to Outcomes: A guide to developing an outcomes focus, a clear step-by-step guide to adopting an outcomes-focused approach. SVA developed this guide after working with the NSW Social Innovation Council to support the human services sector to adopt an outcomes-focused approach.

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