Outputs or Outcomes?

Differences Between Outputs and Outcomes

Outputs are the units of service that result from activities. Outcomes are the constructive impacts on people or environments.




  • Tracking outputs does not gauge the impact of your work but is a measurement of the things you do.
  • Outputs answer the question “How many or how much?”



  • Tracking outcomes involves a concerted effort to identify what impact, benefit, or change resulted from your program activities
  • Outcomes can be measured in changes in knowledge (e.g. pre/post program surveys), attitudes, skills, behaviors (e.g. reduction in risk behaviors)
  • Outcomes answer the question “What difference did it make?”


Why should I track outcomes?

  • Funders often require that programming they support demonstrates specific outcomes
  • To leverage funding to sustain future program efforts
  • To identify what you are doing well and what needs improvement
  • To better meet the needs of those you are serving with your programming



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