Why all the hype about logic models?

A program logic model is an important component of evaluation planning because it helps you to identify the most relevant evaluation questions. It shows both what the program is supposed to do and how its components will lead to outcomes.

There’s probably more “hype” around the term than the idea. In fact, there’s a good chance you’re already using a logic model and just haven’t put it down on paper yet. Logic models are often presented in complex terms, but the concept itself isn’t that complicated. At its most basic level, a logic model is a graphic or roadmap that shows how your program is intended to work. It depicts a linear path from your assumptions to your process, to expected outcomes and impact.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation describes a basic logic model as a pathway that starts with resources/inputs and then moves toward activities, outputs, outcomes and finally, impact.

Fortunately, there are a lot of free resources to help nonprofits develop a program logic model. The Kellogg Foundation’s freely available Logic Model Development Guide and Innovation Network’s free online Logic Model Builder can be extremely useful to anyone looking for assistance in this area. Importantly, both of these resources offer guidance and tools to help nonprofits connect the logic model to an evaluation plan.

It’s important to note that the process of developing an effective logic model will require some thought and preparation. For organizations looking for guidance through that process, the Center for Nonprofit Management provides coaching opportunities to help make the most of available tools. For more information, visit www.cnmsocal.org and click on the “Consulting & Coaching” tab.

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