Recovery Plans & Performance Measures – Is your plan working?

Every community across Ontario has been impacted by COVID-19 and its effects have been felt by all businesses. There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution to a recovery plan. Communities need to continue to develop recovery plans based on their own unique situation.

The plan may contain a flurry of actions to help business communities and support local needs – but how do you know the recovery plan will work or is working?

To answer that question, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs has developed a performance measurement resource, which is designed to help organizations identify, measure and report on the outcomes of their initiatives and provide evidence of their effectiveness using a logic model.

The Logic Model:

A logic model is a visual representation of the connections and relationships between inputs, outputs and outcomes – it helps focus on the causal relationships between these items and helps determine if the outcomes are being achieved.

Once you know what you would like to achieve (outcomes i.e. increased funding leveraged for recovery efforts) use the logic model to identify outputs, decide on activities, and determine what resources will be needed to achieve these outcomes. We will use the following scenario as an example to help understand and work through how to use a logic model:

Scenario: A municipality is developing an online business recovery portal as a part of a larger COVID-19 Recovery Plan. This online portal seeks to connect businesses to funding and resources. Let’s assume that as a result of this portal, local businesses start to utilize the resources on the portal, and bit by bit, they weave their path to recovery. The logic model will help this municipality describe and measure the result of the portal project.

Logic Model for Blog full updated

Outcomes:

Using a logic model requires that change (in this case, the development of the resource portal) needs to be measurable, i.e. measuring change, and what you hope to achieve as a result of the project.

The measure of change can be defined in the context of outcomes. An activity may have many different outcomes that are typically described as short, medium, and long-term outcomes. Defining the outcomes makes it possible to select meaningful measures.

Definition Example
Short-term outcomes Short-term outcomes can be measured by a change in attitude. Let’s use the assumption that a business uses the portal and finds that it is helpful, and as a result, feel favourable toward it – in this case, a positive satisfaction rate can be used to measure this.
Mid-term outcomes Mid-term outcomes can be measured by a change in behaviour. If the business starts to use the resources listed on the portal, they may reach out to speak with the person managing the resources – the number of outreach requests can be counted creating a measure that is quantifiable.
Long-term outcomes The changes in economic conditions would be the measure of long-term outcomes Ideally the same businesses will at some point, be able to leverage or access funds (listed as resources on the site) – and the value of those funds can be used as the measure of the outcome.

The logic model below shows what changes (outcomes) you could expect using our example.

Logic Model for Blog - outcome level

Once you have defined your outcomes and selected meaningful measures, you will see if your activity is working and will know if you need to make any adjustments to improve your rate of success.

For more information on logic models and outcomes download a copy of OMAFRA’s Performance Measurement Resource:

https://survey.clicktools.com/app/survey/response.jsp

Stay tuned as we continue to highlight strategies and actions that rural communities and economic development organizations can take to address the impacts of COVID-19 using tools and resources from our current suite of programs for rural economic development (e.g. business retention and expansion, strategic planning, downtown revitalization, performance measures).

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