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Identify Outcomes for Stabilization and Revitalization

  • Measuring progress toward stabilization outcomes is critical to evaluating the effectiveness of various strategies and investments.
  • Outcomes are the benefits that result from a program for people and communities.
  • Outcomes are not just turnstile measures of production.
  • Investors in neighborhood stabilization programs, including residents, expect more than “production.” They want to see significant impacts on outcomes related to neighborhood real estate markets, confidence, building conditions and other quality of life issues.
Examples of production measures Examples of outcomes
Acquire, rehab and sell 130 vacant structures Market values in the ABC neighborhood will improve
Place at least 5 troubled multifamily properties into a receivership program The physical conditions of multifamily housing in the ABC neighborhood will improve

 

Outcomes are at the end of a “causal chain”

  • INPUTS: resources dedicated to or consumed by the project. Ex: Funding, staff, partners
  • ACTIVITIES: what is done with the inputs to fulfill project objectives. Ex: provide homeownership classes, develop affordable housing units
  • OUTPUTS: what is produced as a direct result of project activities. Ex: Community members attend classes, marketing materials, clients counseled
  • OUTCOMES: benefits or changes for people or communities during or after project activities Ex: Higher level of homeownership in community, clients have jobs that pay a living wage

Source: United Way of America

Tips on Outcomes

  • They are the changes you hope to see in neighborhoods and communities – the benefits of your activities. They are the big-picture change you want to see and at least contribute to achieving.
  • They are often not achievable in the short term; they can be a mix of short-term, intermediate and long-term.
  • They do not have to be achievable only through your work. You may need partners.
  • They need to be accompanied by measures or indicators by which you can estimate progress. Knowing whether or not positive change is happening is a management tool for you.
  • They will be impacted by more variables than your work alone. In other words, outcomes are useful whether or not you can control all the variables that affect them.

Why Are Outcomes Important?

  • They help us measure progress.
  • When we are clear about outcomes, we are able to consider and try a variety of activities in order to get the best results, ensuring we do not waste resources on strategies that are not achieving the results we want.
  • Outcomes express the direction in which we are headed so that board and staff can align their thinking and actions to achieve the greatest impact on what matters most to the organization.
  • Outcomes express the direction in which we are headed so that others can understand our rationale, fund us or partner with us with confidence, align their activities to help achieve the outcomes, etc.
  • Reporting on progress toward outcomes will tell the story we want to tell to funders and others.