Ten Steps to the Perfect Funding Bid: step 5

UNDERSTANDING OUTCOMES

Oh this is a big topic!  Getting to grips with inputs, outputs and outcomes is a whole two-day training course – more than can be dealt with in a short blog!   Still, I’ll do my best 🙂    

The charitable trust or foundation you are applying to, needs to know what will happen as a result of them giving you the funding.  Don’t get mixed up between inputs (such as “we will have employed a project worker”), outputs (such as “the worker will have run 10 fitness classes for older people”), and the most important which is outcomes.   The easy way to know you are correctly describing outcomes is that you will be describing what will have changed – think of it as describing “how the world is a better place” because of your project.

So if the input was a project worker, and the output was fitness classes for older people, what are the outcomes?  In what way is the world a better place?  I would write something like:

The older people will have increased confidence (demonstrated by a survey taken at the start and finish of the fitness course);  and

The older people will have increased mobility and flexibility (demonstrated by measurable arm movement tests and walking ability).

Outcomes can be difficult to describe, and you don’t want to over-state your case (promising world peace in exchange for a £250 grant is stretching things rather!).  It is often useful to use comparatives such as “more, wider, less, higher” or words like “reduced” or “increased” to demonstrate that a change has taken place.

Sometimes the outcomes you expect to achieve can be difficult to monitor (and I’ll be writing about monitoring in a later blog).  Your social activity may intend “….. to create a more inclusive community”, or lead to “….. less young people turning to petty crime”.  These will be hard to demonstrate but are hugely valuable outcomes despite the difficulties.  Think about how you will show you have achieved this kind of change.  Think about how you can capture an accurate picture of how things are now – perhaps do a survey of people’s perceptions of their community, or local crime levels, and then do a follow-up survey after the project.

It is quite likely that if you find it really EASY to fill in the question about outcomes, you need to check that you have really answered it properly.  If you’ve written about the practical things the project will do while it is running, be careful – you’ve probably written about inputs and outputs!  To genuinely describe outcomes you will be looking at the bigger picture.  It will be something to do with why we are all working in the voluntary and community sector in the first place – it will be about making the world better, even if just for a few people in our own localities.  Don’t be afraid to write something aspirational.  If you didn’t wan to make the world a better place, you wouldn’t be applying for the grant!

©  Tamara Essex 2010

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2 Comments on “Ten Steps to the Perfect Funding Bid: step 5”


  1. Hi Tamara I like your blog ten steps to perfect funding. As arhcitects we get involved a lot in the early stages of capital funded community buildings and the failure success often depends on the ability to successfully fund raise rather than the merits of the project. It is not unknown for planning permissions to expire while waiting for the right fundraiser to come along.I would be interested if you were to do a piece on charitable funding for capital works. Keep up the good work.

    • tamaraessex Says:

      Hi Grahame – that’s a really good idea, I’d be delighted to do a couple on capital fundraising and share one or two of my favourite sources. It’s certainly a difficult area – one I’m working on at the moment is stuck at the stage that the really big bid submissions need full professional costings (and therefore a procurement process) and some projects would balk at spending the money on procurement and tendering before the funds are raised. Chickens and eggs, carts and horses etc etc!


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