Outcomes and indicators

We use outcomes and indicators of progress to track how grants, investments and our own actions contribute to our impact goals

Why we think identifying key outcomes is helpful:

  • It helps to think through and express in tangible ways the intended results of the work.
  • It allows us to understand how the work might contribute to our impact goals
  • If we award a grant, it gives us an agreed framework within which we can both monitor progress as the work proceeds.

Outcomes as a tool for learning

We know outcomes will change, and that it might be difficult to predict what you can achieve. We expect progress to be bumpy, and future grant payments will not depend on you meeting targets or deadlines. We understand that outcomes and indicators may need to be revised over the course of a grant, and we'll encourage you to do that at our mid-grant learning conversation.

What do we mean by key outcomes?

The “key outcomes” of your grant are what you want to achieve as a result of our funding. They could be specific to a project we are funding, or relate to your overall aims if we are supporting core costs. They should align with our impact goals and priorities.

We have found the free advice and tools produced by Charities Evaluation Service helpful in developing our approach to outcomes and reporting.

Think about your work in terms of
  • Its overall aim (your purpose)
  • The specific aims which will contribute towards this (your outcomes).
  • The activities you will carry out to create these outcomes (your outputs, or objectives)

What do we expect from organisations?

If we invite you to submit a full proposal for our support, we will ask for up to three key outcomes you think can be achieved by the end of the grant (outcomes), and details of how you will track your progress towards these outcomes (indicators).

What we're looking for
  • Short, clear, concise outcomes, eg “Decrease in number of women in prison”.
  • Each outcome should sum up one key change you are looking to achieve.
  • Outcomes should align with our impact goals and priorities.

We will look for evidence of progress towards outcomes in your annual progress reports. And we will use them to understand how the work has contributed to our impact goals when the grant ends. We also share what we learn through our Insights reports.

What we're not looking for


For each outcome we will ask you for the most relevant indicators you will use to track your progress. An indicator should be realistic - something you are able to track and gather evidence on.

What is an indicator

Charities Evaluation Service defines outcome indicators as well defined pieces of information that can be assessed or measured to show whether outcomes have been achieved. These show that the outcome has actually happened, or that progress is being made towards it. Outcome indicators can be quantitative or qualitative.

  • Quantitative indicators count numbers of things that happen.
  • Qualitative indicators assess people’s perceptions and experiences.
What we're looking for
  • There may be many possible indicators for each outcome. As with outcomes themselves, we just need you to identify and report on the key ones – no more than 2 per outcome, and 1 is fine.
  • Where it makes sense to do so, indicate target numbers, as this helps our staff and Trustees understand the scale of your planned achievements. However, we understand that these are targets, not obligations, and there is no intention to bind you to something that later becomes impossible to deliver.

More information for applicants

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    Example outcomes and indicators

    Some examples of outcomes and indicators to help applicants with their proposal for our support.

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    Apply for funding

    Information about applying for grants and social investments - including how to check your eligibility and why we turn down applications.

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