Establishing an Outcomes System

Introduction

This Outcomes System Toolkit provides information and guidance materials to help grantees develop or improve their use of outcomes. Outcome measures are essential components of an effective program management and improvement system. They can enhance grantees’ effectiveness in:

  • Allocating resources and developing strategies
  • Evaluating success in achieving the program’s mission and strategic goals
  • Improving organizational performance and staff engagement
  • Fundraising and “telling their stories” in their communities. Many legal services programs use outcomes data to meet their own needs and/or to meet requirements of funders such as United Way, IOLTA programs, or federal funders.

It should be emphasized that there is no single “right way” to collect and use outcomes data. Instead, programs should develop and implement outcome data systems that are tailored to meet their particular needs. Although developing an outcome system is a relatively straightforward task, ensuring that the system best serves the program’s needs is an ongoing process that requires the involvement of staff from throughout the program.

What You Will Find in the Toolkit

The toolkit includes the following sections:

Basic information about using outcomes data

Examples of outcomes systems currently used by grantees

A catalog of common outcome measures

Links to helpful resources

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Topics