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Logic models are indispensable tools for Grant Writers. This post presents several definitions of logic models as part in a series about logic models and competitive grant seeking. Other posts discuss the uses of logic models throughout proposal planning and project implementation, typical elements in logic models, types of logic models, samples of logic models, and other topics.



Applications to competitive grant programs commonly require a logic model. As visual and synoptic depictions, they are useful ways to represent how the parts relate to the whole.


There are nearly as many definitions of logic models as there are discrete logic models themselves. Among the definitions’ common aspects are that a logic model:

  • Is a versatile planning tool
  • Is a product of collective inputs
  • Is a simplified graphical representation of more detailed plans described in a proposal narrative


Among the primary purposes of using logic models in proposals are:

  • To improve foresight in project planning
  • To facilitate effective implementation
  • To focus implementers’ efforts on attaining desired outcomes
  • To ensure 360-degree accountability



Any online search of logic models soon turns up many explanations of what they are, what they do, and how they look. Among the many discoverable explanations are:


“A logic model is normally presented as a one page visual diagram…. It is an important tool that facilitates planning, implementation and evaluation of a project intervention…. There are a variety of formats by which a logic model may be presented…. (Public Safety Canada).”


“Typical logic models use table and flow chart formats… to catalogue program factors, activities, and results and to illustrate a program’s dimensions…. (W.K. Kellogg Foundation)“


“A logic model is a highly visual method of demonstrating relationships between project resources, activities, outputs, and outcomes (SEDL).”


“A key element of the logic model diagram is showing the linkages (via lines joining the various boxes) between the activities and the eventual outcomes/impacts (Public Safety Canada).”


Definitions Graphic



Thinking through a logic model uses an IF-THEN sequential logic of relationships. If certain inputs are available, then certain activities can occur; if the activities occur, then certain outputs can be expected; if certain outputs occur, then certain outcomes are likely over time; and if certain outcomes occur, then the identified needs or problems should change.


“Logic models can be useful tools to demonstrate integrated, systemic planning in relation to the achievement of goals and expected outcomes (SEDL).”


“Logic models should be a dynamic tool that assists staff in planning, implementation, and assessment efforts (SEDL).”


“There is no one ‘best’ logic model ((W.K. Kellogg Foundation)” – except, perhaps, the one that a particular grant maker may require.



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