How do we know if we are making a difference?
It’s a question that has probably haunted foundation staff and boards since the first grantmaking foundations were formed. In these times of leaner resources and increasing need, this question has perhaps taken on even greater importance.
VNA believes that its grants can make a difference, and that difference can be demonstrated through measurable outcomes. Since its inception, VNA Foundation has required that each grant have measurable outcomes, some objective measure of the impact – good or bad – of the program or purpose funded by the grant.
Sometimes, measurable outcomes are easy to establish; they are an integral aspect of the very purpose of the grant. In other instances, developing outcome measures requires a responsive dialogue between grantor and grantee. Regardless of how they are developed, however, outcome measures provide valuable information to both parties about the successes or challenges faced by a grant-funded program.
Although diverse in amount, target populations and purpose, virtually all VNA grants have measurable outcomes. They also share an even more important feature: they represent our very best effort to make a difference.