Measure Program Outcomes
Program outcome measurement is the regular, systematic tracking of the results of program activities for clients. As leaders in results-oriented philanthropy, United Ways across the country have championed the adoption of outcome measurement by the programs they fund. Program outcome measurement not only helps the programs increase their effectiveness and communicate their value; it also demonstrates United Way’s ongoing commitment to accountability and yields invaluable input to the identification of community impact issues and strategies.
Resources

    United Way Implementation of Program Outcome Measurement

Indicators that a United Way is Prepared for Program Outcome Measurement
Draws on insights from experienced United Way to highlight the preparation needed to plan for, implement, sustain, use, and benefit from program outcome measurement.

Managing Agency and Community-change Initiative Data: Guidelines for Software Selection
Describes how a United Way can identify its agency/program and community-change initiative data needs, explores relevant software characteristics, presents factors related to software selection, and provides thought-stimulating examples for many tasks.

Managing Agency and Community-change Initiative Data: Software Summaries
Presents summaries of commercially available software to help United Ways store, analyze, report, and track agency/program and community-change initiative data.

    Building Agency Capacity for Program Outcome Measurement

Agency Experiences with Outcome Measurement: Survey Results
Reports findings of a survey of 298 agencies in six communities regarding positive and negative effects of program outcome measurement as well as barriers to and supports for using the results.

Outcome Measurement in National Health & Human Service and Accrediting Organizations
Describes outcome measurement activities of 33 national health and human service organizations and activities and requirements of 4 national accrediting organizations.

Outcome Measurement Data Management Systems for Agencies
Describes capabilities, hardware requirements, and costs of commercially available software and web-based systems to help agencies store, analyze, report, and track outcomes over time.

Ways to Assist Agencies with Program Outcome Measurement
Offers 20 specific suggestions on where to look for resource people to help agencies with outcome measurement and ways to help agencies develop a high-quality outcome measurement system in addition to providing training and technical assistance.  

Who Provides Technical Assistance to Agencies on Various Program Outcome Measurement Topics
In a 2 -page table, lists what agencies need to know and do to plan and implement program outcome measurement effectively and shows whether United Ways or outside experts generally provide needed assistance on each topic.  A second, blank table helps a United Way develop and communicate its own plans for making assistance available.

    Program Outcome Measurement and Community Impact

Connecting Program Outcome Measurement to Community Impact
Offers guidance on mining program outcome learning, including questions that stimulate agency discussions, patterns in agency findings that suggest community issues, a checklist to help a United Way make full use of this resource for its community impact work, and examples from United Ways that have made the connection successfully.

How Program Outcome Measurement Contributes to Community Impact
Identifies three strategic areas and 17 specific ways that program outcome measurement contributes to the work of the community impact United Way.

Program Outcome Measurement Helps Communicate Community Impact
This 2-page summary of focus group research reports that investors like the concept of measuring programs’ results, relates two ideas about the use of outcome findings that they said convey community impact and includes United Way marketing messages reflecting an outcome focus that the groups liked best.

Program Outcomes and Community Outcomes:  What Are the Differences?
Identifies key differences between community outcomes and program outcomes and gives examples of the two types of results.