What the heck’s a logic model? Even though it sounds like some new-fangled concept from a Dilbert cartoon, a logic model can be a useful representation of your non-profit’s program. And since many funders require a logic model in their grant applications, you may need to become more familiar with what they are and how to create one.

Defined by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, a logic model is “a picture of how your organization does its work – the theory and assumptions underlying the program…[It] links outcomes (both short- and long-term) with program activities/processes and the theoretical assumptions/principles of the program.”

In other words, a logic model is a representation of a program’s inputs, activities, outputs, outcomes, and impacts. Creating a logic model will force you to visually show your understanding of the way your program’s resources relate to its activities, and how these activities will lead to expected measurable outputs and outcomes, and how outcomes create broader positive impact. It will require systems thinking to show how and why your program will work.

Here’s a basic example from the Kellogg Foundation:


Here’s how to read the above example:


It can be intimidating, and a bit of mental work to frame your program in this way, but I assure you, going through the process can be very useful in program development. It forces your organization to have a well-thought out plan for the work and well-defined goals. And what’s more, funders want to see that you’ve thought through these details and that your program is set up for success.  

The Kellogg Foundation offers a great development guide here on their site.  

Read more Grant Writing Tips.