Your Organisation’s Track Record

Funders want to support organisations that:

  • Have sustainable programs and resources
  • Provide quality services and measurable outcomes
  • Have appropriate and transparent financial arrangements.

They want to know:

  • What existing or previous programs and services you have provided
  • The need/s that they addressed
  • Whether the programs and services were successful and made a difference.

Map Your Programs and Services

Funding bodies need to be told about the services and programs provided by your organisation so they may:

  1. Ascertain whether such programs and services are driven by community need and demand
  2. Determine how much experience you have in delivering programs and services of the type for which you are seeking funds.

The table below provides an overview of organisational and service features you may wish to record.

Organisational and Service Features

Feature Example
What is/was provided? Education, counselling, advocacy
Who funded it? Education Department, Health Department
How long was the program/service provided for? 12 months
When was the service provided? Monday from 2 pm to 6 pm
To whom was it provided? Young people, drug users, families
Where was it provided? Toorak Gardens, Victoria; Bundaberg, Queensland
What was the mode of delivery? One-off events, mixed mode, telephone
How many people accessed the program? 10, 100, 1000
What was involved? Implementation, maintenance, evaluation, collaboration

How Well Does Your Organisation Perform?

"However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results". - Winston Churchill

When delivering programs or services, you should measure:

  • What you are doing
  • How well you are doing it
  • The outcomes of your programs and services.

Implementing systems and processes to regularly collect and analyse this information is important to:

  • Inform the design, delivery, and maintenance of quality services
  • Provide information to consumers, the community, and funders about the benefits your organisation provides
  • Increase transparency and accountability in your reporting requirements to funders.

Critical Success Factors (aka Key Result Areas)

Define your organisation's critical success factors before you measure what you do, how well you do it, and the outcomes of your services and programs. Your organisation's critical successes are the:

  • "Aspects of organisational performance that determine ongoing health, vitality and well being" (Niedritis, A., Niedrite, L., & Kozmina, N., 2011)
  • Essential areas of activity which must be performed well for your organsiation to achieve its mission, objectives and goals.

Your organisation's critical success factors should operate over the four domains contained in the table below.

Critical Success Factor Domains

Domain Description Example

Factors determined by industry-specific matters

Organisations need to adhere to so they may remain competitive

Provide quality services

Employ staff with at least a minimum qualification

Environmental Factors resulting from macro-environmental influences on an organisation

Effectively collaborate with other organisations

Increase use of emerging technologies in service delivery

Strategic Factors determined by your Board as strategic in positioning the organisation Consult regularly with the local community and other stakeholders
Temporal Factors resulting from the organisation's internal forces Consistently review and evaluate performance to drive improvement

Knowing your organisation's critical success factors will help you to identify:

  • The performance measures needed to achieve your organisation's goals
  • Which stakeholders should be approached for feedback on your organisation
  • The tools and processes required to evaluate your organisation's activities, services, and programs.

To determine your critical success factors, consider your organisation's strategic goals (see Your Vision, Mission, and Strategy) and ask:

"What area of business or activity is essential to achieve this goal?"

Why is it important to identify your organisation's critical success factors?

Identifying your organisation's critical success factors is important to:

  • Streamline your organisation's reporting requirements
  • Help everyone involved in your organisation understand what is expected of them
  • Link your daily activities to the organisation's strategy
  • Highlight your organisation's unique abilities and distinctive qualities
  • Conduct evaluations and identify areas of achievement and improvement.

Tell funders about your organisation's critical success factors and how you have achieved them. If you know what your goals are and have measured how well you have achieved them, then it should be easy to tell funders about the sustainable competitive advantage you offer compared to your competitors.

Measuring Your Critical Success Factors

To obtain funding, many funding bodies require organisations to:

  • Undertake accreditation and continuous quality improvement processes (or be working towards these)
  • Demonstrate their key results indicators (e.g., how many people use your service)
  • Identify their key performance indicators.

Your approach and the way you document your key results will depend on the nature of the project and its objectives. Results can be recorded as either processes, outcomes or a combination of both.

Whichever way you record your results, you will need to describe how your evaluation information will be collected and how the data will be analysed.

Obtain information from a variety of sources when measuring your services and/or programs. Diverse information is required to inform different stakeholders. 

To inform the design and delivery of effective, appropriate, and efficient services, organisations need to measure:

  • What they are delivering (process evaluation) and what they are achieving (outcome evaluation) to determine how they may improve 
  • The views of consumers about the strengths and weaknesses of the services received to ensure they are delivering quality services.

The programs and services provided by your organisation should be routinely evaluated to record whether your organisation is achieving its objectives and how well it is achieving them.

Ways to Assess Programs

Type of Results Description Who do you ask?

What has been done?

How it has been done?

Who has been involved or reached?

Quality of activities

Examples of process results include:

  • Tracking inputs (e.g., funding levels, number of staff)
  • Throughputs (e.g., bed occupancy rates, length of stay)
  • Outputs (e.g., number of community contacts).



Board members


Document changes (i.e., what was the situation beforehand and what is it like now?)

How has it changed in the short- and medium-term? This could be documented in two ways:

  • Qualitative: A summary of participant expectations, experiences and outcomes
  • Quantitative: Details of a range of program elements (e.g., number of people whose substance use reduced, number of people engaged in treatment).

Examples of impact results include comparing changes before and after a project started (e.g., bed occupancy rates at the beginning and then at the end of the project period).




Consumer Health Outcomes

Measuring consumer health outcomes in alcohol and other drug organisations is important to ensure the services and programs provided are relevant, accessible, effective and efficient. A consumer health outcome is:

  • A change in a consumer's health status between two points in time
  • Measured to assess change or improvement as a result of the services received. 

A range of relevant and reliable instruments are available. For further guidance, see:

When completing your database of previous programs and services, record how the outcomes were measured. Consumer's health outcomes can inform which aspects of your programs or services are effective, efficient, or appropriate regardless of the episodic nature in which many people with alcohol and drug problems engage with services and/or the manner in which their wellbeing, functioning and quality of life may fluctuate over time.

Your Benefits and Impact

"It’s not what you’re selling that matters; it’s what I’m buying that counts." Simone P. Joyaux

Funding bodies need to be persuaded that your organisation should receive their money. They see their support as an investment and prefer to invest in organisations which can value-add to the funding they provide. Tell funders about the:

  • Benefits of working with your organisation
  • Long term impacts your organisation has had on the community.

The Benefits and Impact of Alcohol and Other Drug Non-Government Organisations

Alcohol and other drug agencies are human-change agents. They exist to either bring about some change in the way someone behaves or their circumstances, attitude, health, competence and capacity. Like all community organisations, alcohol and other drug agencies contribute to community wellbeing in four broad ways. Alcohol and other drug agencies:

  1. Provide services to consumers
  2. Influence and promote change on economic, social, cultural and environmental issues (e.g., providing education programs, contributing to research, and increasing understanding of effective approaches)
  3. Connect individuals to community networks
  4. Invest in skills, knowledge and physical, social, cultural and environmental assets for the benefit of future generations.

Benefits provided by non-profit organisations derive from the services and outcomes provided to:

  1. Clients
  2. Community
  3. Staff
  4. Funders and partners.

Explaining these benefits in a funding application requires:

  • Knowledge about the field
  • Insight into your identified consumer base
  • Creativity and imagination
  • Good writing skills.

Some may think that the benefits of their organisation are the same as the outcomes; however, there are distinct differences.

An outcome is a result which affects real world behaviour/circumstances and may lead to one or more benefits. Benefits are measurable improvements resulting from, and enabled by, the outcomes. An illustration of the difference between an outcome and benefit is shown below. For more information about how to promote the positive outcomes and benefits produced by your organisation, see the table below.

This image depicts the difference between a benefit and an outcome. The image has three circles. The first circle identifies a feature of an alcohol and drug service (i.e., the service operates 24/7). The second circle contains an outcome of this feature (i.e., increased use of service in high risk periods). The third circle details the benefit of the feature plus the outcome (i.e., those at greatest risk of suffering alcohol and drug harm are able to access specialised service help).












Create Success Stories

Your Organisation's Success Stories

Success stories are powerful tools which help:

  • Promote your organisation's progress and achievements
  • Inform the community and funders about individual consumer outcomes and the benefits of your organisation
  • Staff and volunteers celebrate achievements
  • Engage the community, other organisations, and funders.

When preparing your success stories, consider the following:

  • What is a success story?
  • What is the developmental stage of the program?
  • What type of format is most appropriate for the story and audience?
  • How will the story be collected?

Success stories may be used to:

  • Respond to public inquiries about your organisation
  • Educate decision-makers
  • Demonstrate that funds are well spent
  • Make the target population aware of your organisation
  • Show progress when planned outcomes will not be realised until well into the future
  • Help your organisation get necessary resources
  • Document both intended and unintended results
  • Provide information that can be used to publicise early achievements.

Creating Success Stories

Don't collect success stories haphazardly or at the last minute. Instead:

  • Develop a plan to systematically collect and create success stories that highlight your organisation's achievements. The plan should include assigning data collection, story development, and communication strategy responsibilities
  • Assign success story collection duties to specific staff
  • Determine the story formats, themes and targeted audience. Categories could include: ​
    • Testimonials (e.g., individual consumer life changes)
    • Organisational and/or partner achievements (e.g., coalitions, advisory groups, committees)
    • Promising practices and lessons learned (e.g., programs that are showing progress but are not yet “proven”; ideas that other programs similar to yours might learn from or ideas that might suggest future action)
    • Infrastructure development (e.g., improved data collection systems).



Explore Your Organisational Strengths

Organisations that strive to create an advantage continue to be competitive over time. The process of exploring the strengths within your organisation is similar to other organisational analyses. It requires working with internal and external stakeholders to identify what works well. By exploring what works well, the leadership and management teams can focus energy on catalysing those areas of success and applying “what works” to areas that need a boost.

Processes can include:
  • One-on-one interviews with members of the executive and management team
  • Gathering feedback from individual employees through focus group discussions, interviews, and anonymous surveys
  • Identifying employee talents
  • Collecting information and feedback on organisational processes, communications, and collaborations
  • Evaluating the organisation's website and promotional activities
  • Obtaining feedback from consumers, the local community, funders, and other partners
  • Measuring consumer engagement
  • Analysing inputs and outputs.​

Promoting Your Organisational Benefits

Great ways to create and promote funding opportunities for your organisation include participating in community events, contacting local businesses and councils, and developing success stories for the local media as well as feature on your organisation's website, When promoting your organisation:

  • Identify, profile and understand who will be receiving your message
  • Practice your message and delivery and obtain feedback from someone representing the target audience before publicising.


A referee is someone who can vouch for your organisation and its capacity to successfully conduct the project. When choosing a referee, consider:

  • Agencies your organisation regularly works or consults with
  • The objectives of your proposal
  • The target audience of your proposal.

TIPS: Your Organisation's Track Record

  • Develop a list which highlights your organisation's critical success factors and ability to achieve them.
  • Promote your organisation's success stories on your organisation's website, in the local media, in community presentations, and when networking with local businesses and/or other organisations.
  • Keep it simple: Organisations should only have between 5 and 8 critical success factors. 

References & Resources


Complete the activities below by en​tering text into the fields provided and/or completing the attached documents. If you download and complete an attached document, you will have to save this to your personal file.

You may also:

  • Export these answers: You may export your answers to the activities to a word document without saving to Your Funding Portfolio. Responses can then be saved in your personal files
  • Print this page: Users may print the page
  • Save and continue to next step: Users may save their responses to a secure server before continuing to another section of the resource. Users may then export and print all their saved responses from Your Funding Portfolio
  • Save progress: Users may save their responses as they work on the page.

Activity 2.3.1 Map Your Organisation's Programs, Services, and Activities

Complete an organisational track record.

Construct a database/table listing previous and current activities, services, and programs.

Describe each entry's features; objectives and outcomes; duration; location; the resources involved; who the target population were and how many were involved; why the activities/programs were provided; who the funding body was; and, whether any partners were involved.

Where possible, provide both qualitative and quantitative information to highlight the outcomes and benefits of previous activities.

Use the document attached as a guide when developing your table/database.

2.3.1.pdf (109 KB)

Activity 2.3.2 Measuring Success

Record your organisation's critical success factors or key result areas and quality assurance and accreditation processes.

Write how you measure achievement of your critical success factors and quality measures.

2.3.2.pdf (98 KB)

More info
More info

Activity 2.3.3 Develop Your Success Stories

Previous work, staff development, collaborative efforts, community awards and recognition are important components of your organisation's overall uniqueness. You need to develop a method of:

1. Recording your organisation's success stories

2. Promoting your organisation's success stories to your funders, partners, and the community.

To develop success stories, read the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control's 'How to Develop a Success Story' and follow the instructions. Consider the questions below to formulate the success stories from your audience's perspective.

Once you have developed some success stories, develop a promotional plan to highlight your organisation's success (see Activity 2.3.4).

2.3.3.pdf (112 KB)

Activity 2.3.4 Develop a Promotional Plan

Promoting your organisation's success and values is critical to:

1. Enhance your organisation's community connectedness

2. Attract volunteers and appropriate Board members

3. Increase your funding base.

More info
More info
More info
More info
More info
More info
More info
More info

Activity 2.3.5 Conduct a SWOT Analysis

Conduct a SWOT analysis to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats which may impact your organisation.

Use your SWOT analysis to identify:

1. The positive, unique qualities and successful experiences your organisation and its personnel possess. This information may be used to inform the Demonstrating Your Organisation's Strengths section of your application

2. The areas which may be lacking in your organisation with a view to either remedying these deficiencies through external opportunities (e.g., funding/collaboration) or internal restructuring

3. The external changes which may impact your organisation’s mission, vision, and strategy and influence the ideas you cultivate in Developing a Proposal.

Complete the SWOT template attached or develop your own.

2.3.5.pdf (116 KB)

Export these answer Print this page