Program Logic

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What is Program Logic?

Program Logic is a diagram that demonstrates how your project is going to make a difference to the environment in the long-term. A program logic shows the links between your current project activities, your short-term goals and your long-term goals.

Program Logic is a way for the funding body to see that your project is going to achieve long-term results. It shows that your group has thought about how your project contributes to the bigger picture.

What does it look like?

Below is an example of a program logic diagram.

Example program logic.jpg

There are a number of different levels, linked by arrows:

Vision – your group’s overall vision or mission statement – your ‘utopia’.

25 year goals – what you want the environment to look like in 25 years time.

Intermediate goalslong-term goals, what you want to achieve in 5-10 years time.

Immediate goalsshort-term goals, what you want to achieve in the next 1-5 years time.

Project Activities – project activities that you can start right now to achieve the immediate goals, e.g. on-ground works, community education.

Foundational Activities – what you need to do before you can start the project activities above – preparation and planning.

The program logic looks like a flow chart, but it doesn’t show a series of steps. It shows a series of consequences, i.e. if you do an activity, it will lead to a short-term result, which lead to a long-term result, which will contribute to your overall goal or vision for the environment.

Instead of using the flow chart format, you can do a program logic as a table, or a diagram that runs left to right, or a number of different formats. See Further Reading below.

Why should I do one?

Some Caring for our Country projects will require you to complete a Program Logic. This will be made clear in your funding contract.

Even if you are not required to do one as part of your funding contract, you can still get good value out of doing a Program Logic diagram with your group. A Program Logic is an excellent planning tool that can help your group focus on what you really want to achieve from your project in the long-term. It can help everyone reach a common understanding about your goals and purpose.

By doing a Program Logic and writing it down, you can be sure that people who join your group in future understand what your group’s ultimate goal really is, and make sure that everyone is on the same page. You could even include partners outside your group.

Where to get help

NQ Dry Tropics has Project Officers and a Monitoring & Evaluation Coordinator who can visit your group to help you create a Program Logic. Please call us on 07 4724 3544 or email

If you’d like to start creating a program logic now, see Quick Start Guide and Further Reading below.

Quick Start Guide for Program Logic

Follow these steps to create a program logic. If you need help, contact NQ Dry Tropics (see above Where To Get Help).

1. Get your group together – the more members the better to make sure everyone’s views are included. You could even invite people from outside your group who you work with on a regular basis. Just remember that the more people you have, the longer it will take, so decide what is the most practical for your group! Allow at least 2 hours to do your program logic.

2. Get a sheet of paper, the bigger the better so everyone can see it. You are going to draw a diagram that shows the links between your overall goal for the environment, and the project you are doing now. You are going to work backwards through time, starting with your future vision for the environment, and finishing with the project activities you are doing now.


3. If someone asked you what your group’s overall vision is, or mission statement, what would you say? Why does your group exist? What is your ultimate end goal? It could be something like ‘A healthy environment that takes care of itself’ or ‘Wildlife populations that can deal with threats’. Write this down at the top of the piece of paper. See example at right.

25 year goals.JPG

4. What do you want your environment to look like in 25 years? These are your 25-year goals. Write everyone’s ideas in a horizontal row underneath the mission statement, and draw a box around each idea. Draw arrows connecting the boxes to the mission statement above. See example at right (boxes outlined in red).

Intermediate goals.JPG

5. Now think about what needs to happen in the next 5-10 years, in order for your 25-year goals to come true. These are your intermediate goals. Write your intermediate goals in a horizontal line under the 25 year goals. Draw a box around each intermediate goal, and then draw arrows linking the intermediate goal to a 25-year goal.

Immediate goals.JPG

6. Now think about what needs to happen in the next 1-5 years, in order for your intermediate goals to come true. These are your immediate goals. Again, write these immediate goals underneath the intermediate goals, and draw arrows linking the two levels together.

Project activities.JPG

7. Think about what project activities you need to be doing right now, in the present, to meet your immediate goals. Write these activities on the next level down and use arrows to link these project activities to your immediate goals.

Important: If you are doing a program logic as part of your funding contract, these must be the project activities set out in your contract. If you are doing a general program logic for your group, these can be any project activities you can think of that would contribute to your immediate goals.

Foundation activities.JPG

8. You are now at the last level of the diagram – what planning and preparation activities do you need to do, before you can start doing the project activities? These are known as 'foundation activities'.

6. Congratulations, you now have a program logic. Make a photocopy as a backup and keep it somewhere safe, so you can submit it to a funding body in future if you need to. If you are good at creating diagrams in Microsoft Word or Powerpoint, you may prefer to re-draw your diagram in a Word document or Powerpoint slide, but this is not necessary.

7. It’s a good idea to dust off your program logic every year or so and review it. How are you going against your targets for one year, 5 years, etc? Do you want to change any of the goals you set? Do you want to add anything new?

Further reading

For a detailed guide to creating a program logic, see the Australian Government’s Developing and Using Program Logic in Natural Resource Management – User Guide .

Related information

MERI and Reporting