What are outcomes?
You may have heard the Big Lottery Fund called an ‘outcomes funder’. But what does this mean? Essentially, it means that we base our funding decisions on the longer-term positive changes that projects will make for the people or organisations taking part. We call these changes ‘outcomes’.
For our smaller grants (those up to £10,000) we just expect applicants to show how their project will help achieve broad outcomes that we have already set out. If you are applying to one of our larger grants, we may also ask you to write your own outcomes, laying out what specific changes will happen because of the project you want us to fund.
For a more in-depth look at outcomes, check this section of our website. But before we look at how to think about outcomes for your work, let’s look at the planning steps before that.
Planning out your project
One way of planning out your project is to think about the inputs, activities, outputs and outcomes involved. In the graphic above we’ve used the simple example of making a cake. The inputs for a cake would include ingredients, a recipe and labour. The activities would include mixing, baking, icing and so on. The output would be a cake!
Similarly, a counselling project might require inputs such as money, skilled workers, time and resources. The activities here might be running counselling sessions, with the output being that a certain number of people have received counselling.
Unfortunately, this is where many applications stop. But we want to know more! That’s where ‘outcomes’ come in…
Working out the outcomes of your project
Let’s go back to the cake. If you have cake for 10 hungry people, what change will occur for them? Hopefully they will be less hungry, and also happier! You can think along the same lines for your project. So, our example counselling project might lead to 10 people experiencing emotional problems becoming happier, healthier and more confident.
These outcomes should link back to the issues you have highlighted when telling us why your project is needed (check this infographic about demonstrating need). If the need you have identified is that people are hungry, then an outcome of people being less hungry makes perfect sense.
It’s a piece of cake!
If you would like to talk about your Big Lottery Fund application or how to develop your project outcomes, get in touch with the BIG Advice team.
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