The logic model and its components

To understand the logic model, it’s important to be familiar with the individual components, and know how they’re related.

An example for a logic model can be illustrated as follows:

  • Inputs


    What we invest

    • Staff
    • Volunteers
    • Money
    • Facilities
    • Premises
  • Outputs


    What we do in the project and whom we reach

    Step 1

    Work performed, offerings and products, for example, workshops, trainings, coachings.

    Step 2

    Target groups are reached.

    Step 3

    Target groups accept offers.

  • Outcomes

    Effects at the target group-level

    How we want to improve the situation of the target group(s)

    Step 4

    Target groups collect knowledge, develop new skills and/or change their attitudes.

    Step 5

    Target groups change their behavior as intended.

    Step 6

    The target groups’ living conditions change (financially, socially, etc.).

  • Impact

    Effects at the societal level

    What we want to change on the societal level

    Step 7

    Society changes: We can observe intended social and/or economic developments on a societal level or for a relevant part of society (e.g., for people living in a specific disadvantaged region).



The figure above depicts the logic of the results staircase in which input is found at the bottom, impact at the top (you can review the results staircase here). The same logic holds for a logic model rendered as a flowchart where inputs are defined on the left side and impact on the right. Each step (from left to right) is based on the one preceding it.

The logic model helps you assess whether a project is running as planned and if a measure is effective at each project phase.

The individual steps of a logic model include:

Inputs (resources)

Inputs include all the resources realistically needed to be able to implement the project. This includes the number of full-time and volunteer staff as well as their working hours, the funds used, any office space or other premises, and all equipment.

For a project such as YEA, this includes: one project leader (20 hours per week), 50 volunteer mentors and four mentor-group supervisors (five hours per week per person), the financial resources, the space used in the community center, the materials used for tutoring and job-application training, and the computer used by the project manager.

Outputs (work performed)

Outputs include the offerings and products produced by the project. If the target group uses these offerings, this is also an output.

We can distinguish three levels of outputs; in the logic model, these are levels 1 through 3.


results staircase: steps 1-3 describe mere output
  • The outputs at level 1 are the (countable) offerings and products.

For YEA, the outputs at level 1 are the mentoring and tutoring sessions, the job-application training sessions, and the practical guide for those entering the workforce.

  • Level 2 is reached when the target audience uses the offerings (level 1 outputs).

For YEA, for example, the outputs at level 2 are the number of young people who participate in the various offerings.

A direct relationship can be drawn between the outputs at levels 1 and 2 and the inputs used, which makes it possible to make statements about the efficiency of the project’s implementation.

YEA can therefore determine how much money the project is investing in each individual youth.

  • The outputs at level 3 reflect whether the offerings in fact meet the needs of the target group, and how satisfied members of the group are.

Level 3 serves as a bridge between simple project participation and project results.

results staircase: between steps 3 and 4 a relevant change happens (from output to outcome)

Satisfaction with an offering largely determines whether it in fact has also had an effect on participants. If participants are enthusiastic about an offering, the offering is more likely to lead to success. At the same time, participants’ satisfaction is a necessary but in no way sufficient condition for achieving results.

  • Outputs and outcomes at YEA

    Using the YEA example, we can see the difference between the services provided and actual results: Here, the mentors work with considerable dedication. They initiate and support the mentor relationships, create informational materials, and carry out tutoring and job-application training sessions. The youths from both participating secondary schools are satisfied, and actively use the offerings  – but whether they are learning, and the question of what they have learned, remains unclear. It is only proper to speak of a result once positive changes appear among the young people that facilitate their transition into vocational training.

The step from outputs to outcomes and impact is crucial for the success of the project. While it is essential that results at the target-group level are achieved, results at the societal level are desirable but optional.


Results at the target group-level (Outcomes)

Outcomes are results at the level of the target groups. They illustrate the positive changes among project participants that the project is working toward. The outcomes are divided into three levels, represented in levels 4 - 6 of the logic model:

results staircases: Levels 4-6 describe outcome
  • Level 4 indicates changes at the level of knowledge, skills and attitudes.
  • Results at level 5 of the logic model build on the outcomes of level 4 and describe changes in behavior and action.
  • Results at level 6 once again build on the outcomes at level 5.

The changed behavior provides the basis for improving the target group's living conditions; thus, members might see financial or social gains.

In the YEA example, the level 4 outcomes reflect the fact that the youths have acquired new knowledge and are consequently newly motivated to seek apprenticeships.

Outcomes at level 5 manifest themselves in the fact that the youth translate their newly acquired knowledge into practical activity and actively apply for positions.

Outcomes at level 6 describe the ways in which young people’s living conditions have changed – some have managed to obtain a position in a vocational-training program and are earning incomes, and are therefore no longer dependent on social benefits.


Results on the societal level (Impact)

While outcomes describe the project’s results within the target groups, impacts on level 7 describe the desired changes at the societal level. These could be changes in the society’s social or economic conditions, for example. Impacts always refer to a part of society, for example the population in an urban district or a region.


results staircase: highest level (step 7) is impact

In YEA’s case, an impact could be spoken of if youth-unemployment rates in the city district targeted were to drop significantly in the course of the mentoring project.

Why is the division into different outcome levels so important?

If YEA were to treat the number of people who have found a job at the end of the program as its only criterion for success, the project would very likely fail. The division helps ensure that both large and the many small elements of progress can be tracked.



But enough theory: For your project planning, you’ll need to bring each of these levels and the individual elements of the logic model together in a causal relationship. We discuss how to do this on the next page.

  • You learnt so much... Didn't you?

    We’re happy that you’re using the Social Impact Navigator and hope you like what you see, read and experience.

    To help us do a better job of helping organizations like yours, we’d love to get your feedback here (and it takes less than five minutes)!