Logic Models

A Logic Model is a way of describing a programme that helps stakeholders (e.g., community people, organisational staff, potential participants, funders) develop common understandings of what is being done in a programme, and why it is being done. These understandings can then support programme planning, fundrising, implementation, and evaluation.

A Logic Model is based on the programme’s Theory of Change, and extends the pathway of change to include the resources that are needed to deliver a programme, the programme’s activities and outputs, and the outcomes that are anticipated. These boxes, like the ones in the diagram, below are joined by the same ‘IF… THEN’ statements that you saw in the Theory of Change section:

  • IF we have the resources (e.g., funding, people, buildings, community voluntary support), THEN we can deliver programme activities (e.g., te reo (Māori language) classes, kaumatua (elders) lunches)
  • IF we deliver programme activities, THEN we will achieve outputs (e.g., ten people attend six introductory te reo classes, three lunchtime events are held and attended by 20-30 kaumatua each time)
  • IF we achieve these outputs, THEN outcomes will follow (e.g., improved knowledge of, and enthusiasm for te reo among students; increased fellowship and decreased isolation among kaumatua)
  • IF we achieve these outcomes, THEN we will be contributing to the impact we want (e.g., language revitalisation, kaumatua wellness)


The outcomes you expect from your programme might be broken into immediate, short-term and long-term outcomes. Immediate outcomes are the things you expect to happen more or less straight away for those involved. Short-term outcomes might take 1-3 years to happen, while long-term outcomes might take 4-6 years.

The immediate outcomes will be the ones you can be most sure are the result of your programme. In other words, you can be reasonably confident that the immediate outcomes you record can be attributed to your programme.

If someone wants to know what your programme goals are, these can often be found within your immediate outcomes. For example,

  • IMMEDIATE OUTCOME: Improved tauira (student) knowledge of and enthusiasm for te reo (Māori language)
  • PROGRAMME GOAL: To improve tauira knowledge of, and enthusiasm for, te reo Māori

You can also join immediate, short- and long-term outcomes by IF…THEN statements, so that these outcomes are linked like a stairway or poutama. The immediate outcomes need to be achieved if the short-term outcomes are to be achieved and, likewise, the short-term outcomes need to be achieved if the long-term outcomes are to be achieved and if you are then to contribute to the Impact. For example:

  • IMMEDIATE OUTCOME: Improved tauira (student) knowledge of and enthusiasm for te reo (Māori language)
  • SHORT-TERM OUTCOME: Tauira grow in their ability to understand and speak te reo and begin to participate in local cultural events where te reo is spoken
  • LONG-TERM OUTCOME: Tauira develop their te reo expertise and are recognised in the community for their skill and commitment to Māori language revitalisation

While it is harder to attribute longer-term outcomes back to a programme, evaluators use a combination of data and theory (as in, a Theory of Change) to decide whether the outcomes they are seeing are (or are not) the result of a programme.

External Factors

Logic Models can also incorporate contextual or external factors that may affect the success of your programme, but which you have little or no control over. These can sit outside the picture of your Logic Model so that people remain aware of them. External factors might include:

  • Political environment – is the local and national political environment supportive of, or a barrier to, what you’re trying to achieve? How likely is it that you will gain external funding support for your programme?
  • Economic environment – is your community well-off or poor? How is this going to affect their ability and motivation to participate in your programme?
  • Geography – is transportation and the cost of petrol going to be a barrier for your organisation or the people you want to involve in your programme?
  • Cultural – have you taken into account all the resources you’ll need to operate in a culturally responsive way? Will staff have enough time to spend with people and develop good relationships?

No Need To Be Linear

Like the pathway of change, a Logic Model may look very linear but there’s really no reason why it has to be drawn this way if it does not work for people. You may want to draw something more circular, or use a picture that has meaning for the people you’re working with (e.g., a marae, or a local landscape). Your first discussion with stakeholders might be about what image will work for them, once they know the kind of linear, left-to-right image they have a choice not to use.

Any Logic Model should be reviewed regularly, especially when information becomes available about how the programme’s going. This information will help stakeholders reflect on what’s working well and what might need to be refined, including any alterations to the Logic Model.

Useful References

W.K. Kellogg Foundation (2004). Logic Model development guide. Battle Creek, Michigan: W.K. Kellogg Foundation.