Earlier this week, I tweeted a graphic created by Big Lottery Fund Scotland several years ago, showing the difference between inputs, activities, outputs and outcomes, which has always stuck in my mind. Turns out, it also struck a chord with many others on Twitter and, with 123 retweets and 328 likes at the time of writing (including a Tweet from Great British Bake Off’s Liam!), it seems that Big Lottery may have cracked it!
I always use this brilliant analogy for explaining inputs / outputs / outcomes / impact from @BigLotteryFund – hopefully helps get your head round the difference and the jargon! #fundraising pic.twitter.com/gHusZV4vp3
— Lindsay Harrod (@lindsaymharrod) November 26, 2018
In all my years fundraising I’ve never seen it so simply explained.
I’m reminded of “if you can’t explain it to a 5yr old…”
— Sarah Goddard (@FundraiserSarah) November 26, 2018
It’s crucial to understand the difference between these terms and how they apply to your projects, if you want to show funders not only what you’re going to do, but what changes that’s going to achieve.
Jon Marnold, formerly a Children in Need grantmaker, emphasised this in his reply:
Really good, this. It was so common in Children in Need applications to read a list of outputs as the answer to the outcomes question. But also appreciate it’s sometimes – depending on your cause – really hard to demonstrate outcomes. This graphic is a great reminder.
— Jon Arnold (@jonmarnold) November 26, 2018
The key thing to remember is that activities are pointless if nothing changes as a result – just as a cake is pointless if nobody enjoys it. And of course that *everything* is better with cake!
Loving this whole thread, not least because it reinforces that cake is often an intrinsic component to success at work!!
— Nick Posford (@nickposford) November 29, 2018