Increasingly, the terms aims, objectives, outcomes and outputs are being used in funding applications. While they may seem unnecessary jargon, they are useful words to help explain what you want to achieve, how you will achieve it, what you will change and what long term difference your work will make.

Aims are the changes you hope to achieve as a result of your work e.g. to reduce isolation of older people in our community.

Objectives are the activities you undertake and the services you offer to bring these changes about e.g. you may decide to run a community transport scheme to enable older people to access services and facilities in the town.

Specific aims lead to identifying your organisation's outcomes - the changes you want to bring about e.g. more older people being engaged in their community.

Objectives (or activities) lead to identifying your organisation's outputs - detailed activities, services and products your organisation carries out or provides e.g. provide transport for 20 elderly people each day.

What is outcomes funding?

Voluntary and community organisations are familiar with describing what they do and identifying who they work with. But they also need to identify the changes that come about from the work that they do. These are called 'outcomes'.

Many funders want to show that grants can make a real difference to the lives of the communities they support. It can also help organisations plan, develop and improve their work.

Identifying outcomes will help decide what work your organisation should be focusing on and what projects, services or activities you need funding for.

Do you know there is a need for your project?

With increasing competition for funding it has become more important that groups are able to demonstrate a need for their project. It is therefore essential to gather evidence of need and there are many ways to do this:

  • Survey- a short and simple questionnaire circulated around the community to get peoples views and opinions of a project is a quick and easy way to show support.
  • Statistics - from your local authority or census data are useful to highlight specific issues within a community such as high unemployment or poor housing.
  • Links to strategic plans and documents- local authorities have specific targets to meet as do central government (Welsh Assembly) and other statutory bodies. Demonstrating how your work links into the 'bigger picture' is a useful way to show it is needed.
  • Feasibility studies - for more complex or costly projects a feasibility study is worth considering. These can be undertaken internally or you could employ a consultant. With both you must ensure you are clear about exactly you want the study to identify.