7 Tools for Tracking Outcomes and Proving Impact

In order to track and prove outcome indicators, a tool or set of tools is necessary. Non-profit organizations have numerous type of tools to choose from, including but not limited to;

Pre/Post Survey: a survey completed by participants completed prior to the training, activity etc. and then completed again after completion of the training, activity etc. that tracks the knowledge-gain

Post/Post Survey: similar to the pre/post survey but both the before and after answers are completed at the completion of the training, activity etc. with the participant answering their knowledge prior to training and after completion at the same time. This survey works well since we often rate our knowledge as higher than actual because often we “don’t know what we don’t know.”

Post Survey: a survey asking how their knowledge increased.

Follow-up Survey: a survey provided after an established period of time depending on the change expected that asks about changes in attitude, understanding and behavior.

Collateral Contact Survey: a survey completed by someone close to the participant, asking about changes in attitude and/or behavior. This is often completed by a parent, significant other, teacher, mentor, sponsor, case manager etc.

Research/Evidence-based Assessments: tools with scoring and progress scales developed from research and evaluation processes and best practices.

Visual Indicators: documenting changes in appearance, habits, attitudes and behaviors that are consistent with progress (i.e. change in apparel previously associated with gang membership).

Since outcomes are focused on tracking change, it can be a challenge to gather consistent, ongoing valuable information. Establishing a tool or set of tools to track an individual’s progress is essential to ensuring your programs are supporting and allowing you to prove your impact.