Logic Models used to be a discussion for academia, or for larger foundations. Now, the term is used across sectors and sizes of organizations. The diffusion is an excellent sign of the times, as Logic Model development will strengthen every single aspect of an organization. Think of an internal magnifying lens combined with critical thinking, in a paradigm that embraces truth and honest assessment.

The basic process is to begin with the mission statement, then list goals that are intended to accomplish the mission. Further delineate the objectives to be implemented in the current strategic plan that will ostensibly lead to accomplishing the stated goals. Itemize the programs/activities/expenditures of time and money that will lead to realizing those objectives. What measurements are in place to track the degree to which the goals are being achieved? What outputs are generated that will lead to outcomes (and mission achievement)?

A simple internet search will reveal an abundance of free and helpful templates, such as from Evaluate for Change. The timeless W.K. Kellogg Development Guide continues to be the gold standard. Yet, the percentage of organizations utilizing this form of self-assessment remains surprisingly low. Some have been doing the same thing with the same funders for so long, they cannot explain why or how donations translate into impact and desired changes.

Key ways that Logic Model development can be leveraged:

Programmatically: Assumptions are made clear to staff and the board of directors, facilitating iterative changes to strengthen efficiency and effectiveness. Further, the influence of donors with pet projects or causes can be viewed through the lens of whether that influence is helping or detracting from mission accomplishment.

Fundraising with individual donors: Making a case statement is much easier when Logic Model development has been done, providing confidence in the ability to explain what the nonprofit does and how it effectively achieves objectives.

Grant applications: Increasingly, funders expect nonprofits to articulate how inputs/activities lead to outputs and eventually outcomes. Logic Model development allows the grant writer to explain causal linkages and impacts, as well as identify variables or indicators for measuring outcomes.

Nonprofits that can demonstrate an understanding of their logic and prove validity are the ones that will thrive in an increasingly-competitive sector. While Logic Model development might sound like an academic exercise, the more it is done the easier it becomes and the more fulfilling the work becomes. The return on investment can be incredible; no time like the present to make an effort!