If you are new to outcomes management, you can read this guide in a book-like format, starting with Establishing an Outcomes System. (You can also start with the eLearning materials.) This is the first of 10 sections in the Outcomes Toolkit.
- Establishing an Outcomes System
- What Are Outcomes?
- Why Measure Outcomes?
- Commonly Used Outcomes Measures
- Outcomes Data Reports
- Collecting and Analyzing Outcomes Data
- Developing an Outcomes Data System
- Limitations of Using Outcomes
- Case Management Systems
Below is a guide to the toolkit based on the questions that you might be asking.
The basic definitions can be found in What Are Outcomes? and Why Measure Outcomes? If you're interested in learning why legal aid programs are tracking and reporting on outcomes, you can read the pertinent sections of our provided case studies: the Virginia IOLTA-funded programs and the Cleveland Legal Aid Society.
Here are some Commonly Used Outcomes Measures. Here are the major outcomes categories for BRLS and LSCV in Virginia and Cleveland Legal Aid, from our case studies. A large set of civil legal aid outcomes is collected in the Outcomes Catalog.
Start by reading Collecting and Analyzing Outcomes Data. Find useful examples by reading the Virginia and Cleveland case studies.
If your case management system supports outcomes reporting and/or dashboards, that's the easiest place to start. If not, many programs use Excel (or a similar spreadsheet application). More advanced options are described in this article.
An overview is here in Outcomes Data Reports. Here are Virginia examples and Cleveland examples.
It is recommended that you read about the Limitations of Using Outcomes, and the lessons learned sections from the Virginia and Cleveland case studies. But there is a lot more information by experts in the legal aid and nonprofit communities linked to in our Resources section.