We came upon an interesting post at JVA Consulting’s blog related to an important topic in the nonprofit world- is our work accomplishing something or are we just doing good. We’ve worked at places where the emphasis was on ‘good works’ rather than good results, so we appreciate how important this is. The post talked about the value of logic models as ‘road maps’ for laying out how program activities are linked to short and longer term outcomes. Logic models certainly can be seen as road maps but for us their value is really mostly in the process of creating them. In this sense they are heuristic devices that activate the process through which stakeholders make explicit the ideas and ideologies that underlie their work. You can find a tutorial we did on logic models here.
We believe the best way to go about creating a logic model is to start with the desired outcomes of a program. The logic model tracks backwards through the steps needed to bring it about, allowing consideration for both the material and philosophical assumptions that underlie the change. The presence of resources would be an example of material assumptions (e.g., management will be available to supervise the new program). A belief that people will change their behavior based on new knowledge they acquire is an example of a philosophical assumption (a shaky one at times, if you ask us). [Read more…]