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    When building a logic model, how important is formatting?

    Updated on: Apr 2nd, 2012
    Data Visualization
    Snapshot of a draft logic model with initial ideas and thoughts.

    Formatting is not important!

    When building a logic model, the process itself is more valuable than the finished product. Logic models help you visualize what you’re doing (“activities”) and the goals for your program (short-term, medium-term, and long-term “outcomes”).

    Most importantly, logic models help you explain the links between what you’re doing now and what you hope to accomplish in the future. They’re kind of like timelines for your program because they show all the baby steps that need to happen over time.

    Sometimes there’s a discrepancy, like when the community problem you’re trying to address is so big that it can’t be solved by your program alone. When that happens, you need to adjust what you’re doing (i.e. make your program longer, or hire more staff, or try a different programmatic model) or you need to readjust your expectations for the program (i.e. focus on smaller goals that your program can reasonable accomplish).

    Keep tweaking the activities or the expected outcomes until you can draw a clear and logical link between the activities and the expected outcomes.

    Here’s what my logic model typically looks like after the first meeting with program staff. Messy! Arrows everywhere! Activities not leading clearly to intended outcomes! Nothing’s in fancy columns on the computer. We just want to get all our thoughts down on paper.

    Photo of a draft logic model with initial ideas and thoughts.

    More about Ann K. Emery
    Ann K. Emery is a sought-after speaker who is determined to get your data out of spreadsheets and into stakeholders’ hands. Each year, she leads more than 100 workshops, webinars, and keynotes for thousands of people around the globe. Her design consultancy also overhauls graphs, publications, and slideshows with the goal of making technical information easier to understand for non-technical audiences.

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