Chart of outputs and outcomes compared to making a pie

Understanding outputs and outcomes: Easy as pie!

All fields have jargon that only they understand. I personally feel like jargon/specialized terminology just makes it more difficult to understand each other, and to draw parallels from the work you do to the work others do (which are often quite strong, despite different word use).

One source of terminology confusion in evaluation is the difference between outputs and outcomes. Both of these are things that you measure to demonstrate your impact (which, as mentioned in a previous post, is sooooo important!). So today I wanted to demonstrate the difference between the two and make it easy as pie for you to grasp and remember.

Don’t reinvent the wheel, use secondary data!

These last few weeks I’ve focused on needs assessments. An important (although unglamorous) first step in needs assessments is to comb the data that already exists in the public space to see what you can learn.

Collecting data yourself can be expensive and time consuming. So if there’s a chance that the information you need already exists out there, you should most definitely take the time to find it! It’ll be a serious money saver. But finding existing data isn’t always easy.

Here’s my four favorite searchable sources of useful secondary data:

HARC is a proud partner of Get Tested Coachella Valley! From left to right: Dr. Casey Leier, Director of Research; Teresa Segovia, former Research Associate; Theresa Sama, Executive Assistant

Fighting AIDS with needs assessments

Previously, when I mentioned needs assessments, I talked about very specific needs assessments, the type an organization might do before implementing a program. But there’s also a broader type of needs assessment that we are actively involved in, known as a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA). CHNAs are designed to assess the community as a whole, and to identify what needs exist. CHNAs can be used by many, many organizations in the community to design and implement services.