Basic Terms and Definitions

Inputs - materials and resources organizations use in programs.  Examples: staff hours, equipment, volunteers


Activities - processes the program utilizes with regard to the clients. Examples: feeding, teaching, funding


Outputs - direct products of the program.  Examples: number of people fed or taught, number of organizations funded


Outcomes - change in participants’ knowledge, skills, behaviors, values, and status, in both the short and long term.  Examples: for a rehabilitation center, an outcome may be ‘participants found steady jobs’; for a foundation center, an outcome may be, ‘increased capacity in funded organizations’.  Long-range, fundamental outcomes can also be termed ‘impacts’.


Stakeholders - all the key groups and individuals who can or should have an impact on your programs.  These include donors, staff, clients, community members, etc.  Identifying stakeholders is essential to evaluation.


Strategic planning - the process of evaluation and planning to determine where the organization is going and how it will get there.


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