Aims are what your project aims to achieve. They are sometimes described as outcomes, but in this Toolkit we refer to:
- Project Outcomes are what you expect to happen as a result of your work; or
- Strategic Outcomes that relate to a strategy your project will help achieve.
- Population Outcomes are strategic outcomes used to describe an improvement in wellbeing for a whole population when using in RBA.
How to agree your Aims?
If you do not know where you are going, it is difficult to plan how to get there! People like to jump in and get on with planning activities. But when you are clear about the need or problem that you want to solve, the first step is to be clear about and agree your Aims.
Working with others
Working with others to agree your Aims is really useful. You get to discuss different issues and different ways of doing this. The more people you talk to, the better. This is true of a lot of things in this Toolkit – the more people you talk to, the better, including understanding the need for your project.
There are lots of benefits from talking to different people and organisations when agreeing your aims, these include:
- They are much more likely to want to get involved,
- They will have evidence and information.
- They may have useful knowledge and skills.
- They are more likely to want to be involved in making it happen.
- More people will know what you are trying to do – your first step in promoting your project.
You need to work closely with others to agree what your aims are, You will need to be clear on what is realistic for your project to achieve and how it fits with what others are doing.
Your aim is the main drive of your planning and everything you do should contribute towards achieving it. Your project outcomes are the signs that will tell if you are achieving your aims.
Here are some examples of aims:-
- To reduce unemployment in Ponty Bryn.
- To improve the confidence of vulnerable young people in Abertaf.
The Planning Triangle shows how you can directly relate your outcomes to your aims. This is very useful to keep you on track. Looking at the triangle below, imagine the outcomes are missing. Look at your aims and outputs on their own. It is now difficult to link your aim with what you provided. Project outcomes help you make that link.
Aims, Outputs and Project Outcomes:
These 3 words can cause confusion. Here is a breakdown:
Aims are what you are trying to achieve.
For example: To reduce unemployment in Ponty Bryn.
Project Outcomes are the positive changes that happen as a result of your work. For example, we helped 13 people get a job.
Outputs are what you do, the activities you deliver in your project
For example, we provided a job club once a week for unemployed people.
Once you have decided on your aims and project outcomes, it is time to look at your objectives. An Objective ‘breaks down aims into clearly defined steps with a beginning and end that can be measured.’ Depending on the size of your project, your objectives may be broken down into more detailed actions. When setting your objectives, ask yourself if they are Specific, Achievable and Measureable (SAM). These make up three of the five element of ‘SMART’ Objectives.