In addition to outputs and outcomes, charities often monitor impacts of their activities. Impacts are long term high-level effects, typically the strategic goals of the charity, for example reducing child poverty. This paper provides a clear explanation of the differences between outputs, outcomes and impacts, in the context of the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of international relief and development activities.
A second paper also explains outputs, outcomes and impacts. In addition, it introduces the idea of a theory of change, a statement that explains “why we think certain actions will produce desired change in a given context”, as the basis for developing indicators to measure outputs, outcomes and impacts and provides guidance on the development of indicators.