By Margo Bailey, PhD

Gone are the days when declarations about “We can’t measure our impact but we know we are doing a great job because [fill-in the blank]” were acceptable responses to funders and donors.

Today, the increasingly competitive environment for grant funding requires clear statements about program outcomes and impact.  Successful grant applications consistently align descriptions of their community needs with explanations of how their program activities have positive outcomes.

The Common Grant Application for the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers asks three questions every organization should answer for its programs:

  • What problem or need does your project address?
  • What results are you committed to achieving during the grant period?
  • What evidence will prove your success?

The Brighter Strategies Outcomes Measurement Resource Guide defines outcome measurement as “the determination and evaluation of a program’s results, and their comparison with the intended or projected results.”  The guide offers strategies and tips for establishing a manageable, efficient, and effective outcome measurement system.

An outcome measurement system supports successful grant writing.  Your organization will find it easier to consistently write about your program results and the data used to prove your success.

What strategies has your organization used to link your grant writing process to program outcomes?