Why Isn’t the Logic Model Logical for Me?

Why Isn’t the Logic Model Logical for Me? Part 1
Dr. Beverly A. Browning (Dr. Bev)

Why does it take you so long to create logic model content? Why does it feel like you’re having a brain freeze every time you are working on a grant application that requires a logic model? Why do funders really need to see logic model content? Can’t they just read the narrative in my program design? I’m guessing that these questions about logic models are not ones you ask yourself or even share in a public forum with your grant professional colleagues. In this blog post, I will break down the basics of how to approach the logic model development process.


I remember that when the logic model process was first introduced by United Way of America, I didn’t embrace the concept immediately. Why? Well, for one thing, the initial 40 hours of seat time training required by United Way affiliates across the country couldn’t seem to find a place on my calendar. In fact, a colleague who did complete the week-long mind-boggling training mailed me her handbook. It was over 100 pages. I simply could not grasp the reasoning behind learning anything for a grant application that would require this much due diligence.

I actually swore off taking on all clients who wanted me to write their United Way grant applications. No, I wasn’t having any of this logic model stuff. Fast forward to my first U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant application project that required a logic model for every goal and every year for which funding was requested. Um…five goals and five years of funding meant creating 25 pages of logic models. Yikes! So, I learned to swim without a lot of formal training; I didn’t sink (or give up), and after all was said and done, the client won a $5 million award. Woohoo! I now love creating logic models!

Let’s start with the basics.

What is a logic model?

Basically, a logic model is a systematic, visual way to present and share your understanding of the relationships among the resources you have to operate your program, the activities you plan, and the changes or results you hope to achieve. Keep in mind that a logic model does not present any entirely new information that is not already included someplace in your grant application narrative; it is not a program narrative replacement option. The logic model generates a clear and shared understanding of how a program works; it supports program planning and improvement and serves as the foundation for the evaluation plan and process.

A logic model is about your program’s theory of change. It is a visual representation of the general underlying idea of how you believe your proposed intervention (described in the program design narrative content) will create change. There are three main elements:Logic Model 1

It communicates how a program works by depicting the intended relationships among program components:

  •      Inputs or resources
  •      Activities
  •      Outputs
  •      Outcomes

Logic Model 3




Inputs are your resources, which include the human, financial, organizational, and community resources available for carrying out a program’s activities.

Activities are the processes, tools, events, and actions that are used to bring about a program’s intended changes or results.

Outputs are the direct products of a program’s activities and may include types, levels and targets of services to be delivered by the program.

Outcomes are the expected changes in the population served that result from a program’s activities and fall along a continuum, ranging from short- to long-term results.

Where Do Most New Grant Writers Get Confused?

If you’re new to grant writing or have experienced a large number of rejections of your funding requests, then the red flags in your applications may be related to your confusing of outputs with outcomes. Here’s a tutorial illustration that differentiates the two:

DR BEv 5


In Part 2 of Dr. Bev’s ‘Why Isn’t the Logic Model Logical for Me?’,  she will share the two main approaches she uses when creating a logic model.


April 19 -Dr. Bev will be on Grantchat and All Things Grants to engage the grant community on the topic of logic models.


Source for Logic Model Development Guide: https://www.wkkf.org/resource-directory/resource/2006/02/wk-kellogg-foundation-logic-model-development-guide

Source for Logic Model tutorial slides: http://www.nationalservice.gov/sites/default/files/upload/OpAC%20Logic%20Model%20draft%20in%20progress.pdf


To connect with  Dr. Bev you can visit Bev Browning’s website, latest projects, trainings, books, etc.:






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