Understanding and Using an Outcomes Focus Approach
What are outcomes?
Outcomes are the changes or benefits brought about by the activities provided by an organisation. Measurements of outcomes show the degree of its effectiveness, rather than its size, efficiency or productivity. The concept of attempting to identify the changes brought about by an organisation or project has been around for many years. However, in recent years, both VCOs and funding bodies have become increasingly aware of the value and benefit of becoming more focused on the outcomes of their work.
Why take an outcomes approach?
“Going through the outcomes process has actually increased my motivation for my work”
Focusing on outcomes allows an organisation to concentrate on its aims and to bring about the changes that will help achieve them. An outcomes approach helps services and organisations deliver more effectively for their client group. In particular, it helps make services more client focused and needs led, by identifying what works well in services and what could be improved. Other benefits include:
Improved and shared clarity of what the organisation is trying to achieve, leading to it having a greater sense of purpose and teamwork
Adding structure and focus to client-worker interaction through regular reviews within outcomes areas
Encouraging and motivating staff, volunteers and clients, through providing evidence of progress
Increasing success in fundraising or improving relationships with funders
Outcomes for different stakeholders?
Outcomes can occur in many places, enabling you to demonstrate the effects of your work at different levels. There may be outcomes for individuals, the family, the community, the environment, the organisation and or policy. Each of these levels can be measured in different ways. For example outcomes for individuals could be changes or benefits in an individual’s health, behaviour, attitude, knowledge, skills or circumstance.
Where can I find out more information about Outcomes?
Since it was established in 1990, Charities Evaluation Services (CES), a registered charity, has trained hundreds of people in outcomes from its offices in London. Over the last few years CES set up a major national programme to meet the rapidly growing demand for training on outcomes and to enable more organisations throughout the country to learn about the outcomes approach.
At the heart of this national programme are Outcomes Champions who have been on a course specially designed by CES. By completing that four-day course, Melanie Windle is certified to offer Outcomes Training courses.
If the following questions are relevant to you…
How much do you know about the effects of your organisation’s work?
Would you like to know more about outcomes?
Are you interested in raising staff and volunteer morale?
Are your service users really benefiting from your work?
Are your funders asking about outcomes monitoring?
Do you want to strengthen your fundraising potential?
then, you’ll be interested in this training course for voluntary and community organisations.
Outcomes Training courses aim to equip you to introduce an outcomes focus within your own organisation. They run on two separate days, with a gap of three to five weeks in between, during which time you will have the opportunity to apply what you have learnt.
Day 1 covers Outcomes - what they are and what they are not
How to identify relevant outcomes for your work
The benefits of having an outcomes focus
How to use outcomes information in decision making and planning.
After Day 1, you will be asked to hold a meeting about outcomes within your own organisation, to consider implementing an outcomes focus.
On Day 2, we will talk about how your meeting went and address any problems or issues. Day 2 also covers methods for gathering and monitoring outcomes information, reporting outcomes and the steps in implementing an outcomes approach.
Who should attend?
Your organisation is most likely to benefit from the course if it has the resources to take on a new initiative and is able to make an organisational commitment to taking steps to implementing an outcomes focus. In order to benefit most from the course, your organisation is strongly encouraged to send two people on the training. This will help you significantly when you come to introduce an outcomes focus to your own organisation. The course can also be delivered completely in-house for your organisation.
If you feel your organisation could benefit from receiving Outcomes Training and would like to find out more information, please contact the Outcomes Champion trainer, Melanie Windle on 0161 860 4207 or email email@example.com