November 30, 2023

How to Get Rid of Fuzzy Results: Use The Outcome Cheat Sheet

You know what your nonprofit does matters- you witness it daily, but do you struggle to articulate your results? Maybe you

  • Get a glazed look when talking with prospects.
  • Wonder if you’re measuring the right things. Do “likes” even matter?
  • Get discouraged because you feel your words don’t capture the essence of what you do.

If this is you, consider this tool, The Results Cheat Sheet, as your practical solution. It’s designed to be your ally in finding clarity. Use it to craft precise results and drafts, enabling your team to narrow down to the essence of your work.—what matters most.

The tool can empower you to clarify the significance of your work, speak confidently about it, and streamline your evaluation tools.

Elevate your communication and measurement strategies with The Results Cheat Sheet—because your nonprofit’s story deserves to be told with clarity and conviction. Download the tool, and get “10 Places to Brag About Your Results- Outcomes, too.

Transcript from Quick! Unlock Your Outcomes: Karen’s Results Cheat Sheet

Your results, and what you do at your nonprofit, are really important, and you know it. You see it every day; you see lives change. You see people changing how they think and how they behave, and what they do. But do you sometimes get stuck on explaining how and what you do is important? What really happens in people’s lives when you’re talking to supporters or donors? Or do you wonder if the measures things that you’re measuring are the right ones? For instance, you have, in the past year, doubled your likes, but nothing’s happened in your bottom line. If this is you, you’re going to love this tool. I call it my outcome cheat sheet, and I’ve been using it for years. It’s a way, in five minutes, to figure out what matters and make sure you’re measuring it.

I work in nonprofit consulting with nonprofit execs who are struggling with internal challenges, often board and staff-related. What we do in my trusted advising program is identify ways to turn the hurdles into springboards for success. Not having clear results that everybody gets and everybody’s on board with is one of the struggles they face. So here’s what the tool looks like. Let’s dive in.

The Results Cheat Sheet

So, the tool has three parts, and each of those parts is going to fill in the blank with some words or expressions. Again, probably something you can do in five minutes, but maybe you want to think about it a lot longer and play with your staff and board and make sure you’ve got the right words and the right fill-in-the-blanks filled.

The first part is the clients and customers. Who is it you are serving? Now, for most groups, this is pretty straightforward. You know exactly who your client is. It’s the person who’s on the street who’s homeless. It’s the patron coming to view your art. But other groups struggle with that, and that’s okay. It’s important to try to answer that question. In this, when you’re creating your results, who is it you really want to serve? Because, again, without that, it’s really confusing.

The second part is a series of different verbs, and they range from pretty easy, changing someone’s knowledge, to changing their status or condition. For example, they go and they take a course and they learn about American history. That’s changing knowledge versus they get their GED, which is changing their status, a much different, much more impactful process. And the more you can use deeper into the process towards changing status, the more value your program or service has. It’s not to say you should never change knowledge; that’s important, too. But often, the deep value that’s hard to express sometimes is the change in behaviors and status that really creates lasting change for people. And then, finally is how you do it. That also should be pretty much the easier part.

Results Cheat Sheet Examples

So let’s go through some examples on this, filling in the blanks from some of my client stories.

Example number one: Part one, this many mothers; Part two, had healthy babies measured by weight and their Apgar score; Part three, after participating in the three-month prenatal program, which is a changing condition.

Here’s a second one: This many high school dropouts pass the GED as a result of our intervention program, a change in status.

And then finally: This many attendees identify how an art installation changed their attitude about a group of people by attending the exhibition, which is a change in attitude.

So now it’s up to you. Download the tool, fill in the blanks, and then share the results with the community you serve and those you work with. So you’re all getting the outcomes and results you want, and everyone knows it and gets more excited about your work.

To connect with me and learn more, here’s my website.

Karen Eber Davis

Karen Eber Davis provides customized advising and coaching around nonprofit strategy and board development. People leaders hire her to bring clarity to sticky situations, break through barriers that seem insurmountable, and align people for better futures. She is the author of 7 Nonprofit Income Streams and Let's Raise Nonprofit Millions Together.


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