Outcomes for projects

We describe the difference we want to make with our funding through a set of nine outcomes.

Outcomes are changes, impacts or benefits that happen as a direct result of your project.

In 2021-22, we’re prioritising six of our outcomes as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They are:

  • A wider range of people will be involved in heritage (This is a mandatory outcome. Every project we fund must achieve our mandatory outcome as a minimum.)
  • the funded organisation will be more resilient
  • people will have greater wellbeing
  • people will have developed skills
  • the local area will be a better place to live, work or visit
  • the local economy will be boosted

We also expect all projects to demonstrate that they are building long-term environmental sustainability and inclusion into their plans.

Our other three outcomes are:

  • heritage will be in better condition
  • heritage will be identified and better explained
  • people will have learnt about heritage, leading to change in ideas and actions

We encourage you to focus on achieving one or more of our priority outcomes at this time. For example, if a project only delivered on the 'better condition’ outcome and the mandatory outcome – it would be much less likely to be supported than a project that met the mandatory outcome, plus another priority outcome.

The number of outcomes you plan to achieve will depend on what you want to deliver and should be proportionate to the size of grant you are requesting or the specific focus of your project. There is no obligation to name more than the mandatory outcome, particularly for a smaller project, and we strongly encourage you not to claim more outcomes than you really think your project can deliver. We recognise that many of the outcomes are interrelated and we would advise you to focus on the key needs of your project and outline these under the outcomes that best capture this.

More information on achieving outcomes

What is a project outcome?

An outcome is a result of what your project does. It’s a change that happens, rather than an activity or service you provide (which are outputs).

The easiest way of describing an outcome is to explain how it is different from an output.

  • The output of cooking dinner is a plate of food. The outcome is a full and satisfied person.
  • The output of a teacher is a certain number of lessons delivered in a year. The outcome is happier, wiser students who are more able to succeed.

When you are designing your project, it is very important that you separate the output (for example, 'building an events space'), from the outcome (for example, 'ensuring that twice as many people from the local community engage with their own stories').

Why do you have to clearly set out your project outcomes?

We need to understand the difference your project will make. We can’t support projects that don’t clearly explain what their outcomes are.

More specifically, in 2021-22 we’ve decided to exclusively support projects that lead to one of six priority outcomes, which are especially important during the current pandemic.

If you aren’t clear about the outcomes your project is likely to create, we won’t be able to support your work. And if you are clear about your outcomes, but they don’t line up with one of the priority outcomes, we also won't be able to help you.

We expect projects to achieve some outcomes more strongly than others. Please focus on the outcomes that are strongest for your project, as we will monitor your progress against these and you will use them to evaluate the change your project has made.

Priority Outcomes

A wider range of people will be involved in heritage

This outcome is mandatory. It must be achieved as part of your project. There are other outcomes your project might achieve, but this one is mandatory. 

What this outcome means 

If your project is a success, then the range of people benefiting from heritage will be more diverse than before your project started. 

To achieve this outcome, you’ll need to include audience development work and community consultation in your planning. 

You will need to collect and analyse information about the people who engage with your heritage - and those who don’t - and you’ll need to track how this changes over time. 

There are many ways that technology can help you reach this outcome, and help more people know about and engage with your project. For example, you could have a project website or blog, you could promote your work through social media, and you could run consultations or activities online. See our Digital Skills for Heritage initiative for ideas and support.  

What we are looking for 

Signs that your audience or volunteer profile has changed between the start and end of the project might include a broader range of ages, ethnicities and social backgrounds, more disabled people, or groups who have never engaged with your heritage before. 

What is Inclusion?

Inclusion is about the action needed to ensure UK contemporary society is better represented in heritage projects.

Things to consider

Budget for inclusion: explore cost barriers that people with low incomes or a lack of previous experience face in getting involved in heritage.

Be welcoming and listen: inclusion means we notice who is missing, who is not being heard or who prefers another learning style. 

Heritage belongs to everyone: we believe everyone should benefit from our funding, regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, faith, class or income.

Build inclusive partnerships: everyone benefits when heritage is more equitable. Use specialist partners in decision making, for example, when working with vulnerable, young people.

Share inclusion guidance: use the guidance,  blogs and other resources on our website, often co-written with stakeholders.

Toilets matter: going to the loo is a human need. Learn about Changing Places and use your knowledge to influence larger grants.

Inclusion is a continual process: recognise we are all learning about inclusion. Encourage ambition and accountability.

Measure impact: use a variety of evaluation methods to demonstrate involving a ‘wider range of people’ in heritage.

Be flexible: there is no ‘one size fits all’. We encourage organisations to be open, to listen, learn and share inclusion knowledge.

Digital project example

Although the island of Skomer has been closed to visitors for the duration of 2020 due to COVID-19, the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales used the opportunity to review and refresh communication with supporters and inspire new audiences to engage with the wildlife on Skomer. 

Over a 14-week period from April to July, the Trust launched weekly livestreams across its social media networks featuring highlights from the island’s web cameras, including live footage of a Manx Shearwater chick hatching. The 14 episodes have attracted over 250,000 views with people across the globe including USA, Australia, Philippines, Austria, Germany, Canada, Aberdeen, France and Italy viewing content on Skomer’s unique natural habitats and wildlife. 

Skomer Live! has demonstrated how projects using digital technology can help a wider range of people engage with heritage. 

Further information

The funded organisation will be more resilient

What this outcome means

If your project is a success, your organisation will have a greater ability to adapt to changing circumstances to give you a secure future. This includes both the capacity to manage threats and challenges and being able to respond to new opportunities.

You will demonstrate that you understand the organisation’s current strengths and weaknesses. You could then achieve greater resilience through:

  • stronger more diverse governance
  • greater local involvement in your organisation
  • increased management and staff skills
  • effective use of digital
  • fresh sources of expertise and advice
  • working in partnership to share services, staff and resources

What we are looking for

You might have increased income, or generated income from a different mix of sources, including commercial activity, endowments or new fundraising programmes.

A more resilient organisation might make use of new technology and establish new ways of working digitally with other organisations, including pooling expertise and resources.

You might have increased capacity and skills through training, or recruiting new and more diverse board members or volunteers. You should also be able to demonstrate that you have wider, and more inclusive, support and involvement from communities and audiences.

The changes you make as part of your project, should enable you to show you are in a measurably stronger position for the future.

Things to consider

The whole picture: capacity building projects often work better when they consider the organisation as a whole, not just one specific element, such as fundraising or finance, on its own. 

Honest appraisal: understanding and being realistic about current strengths and weaknesses is important. The Resilient Heritage Strength Checker tool can help inform conversations between volunteers, staff and Board members. 

Strong and diverse governance: ensuring the Board has the right skills to take the organisation forward is vital. Board membership should also reflect and represent the audiences the organisation wants to work with. 

Capacity to make the change: planning and implementing changes takes time and effort. Funding to cover senior staff, so they can focus on this, and take time away from the day-to-day, can really help. 

It can benefit everyone: any size and type of organisation can benefit from making changes to build their capacity – not just those that are very big or very new. 

Embedding change: intensive support like mentoring and coaching can help, but organisations need the ambition and commitment to take change forward, aided by planning, action and review. 

Working together: it is important for organisations to work together, to share their skills, knowledge and resources. A capacity building project can help find ways to do this better. 

What are the greatest assets?: developing new ways to exploit assets is a key part of capacity building. Physical and less tangible assets, like a database of dedicated supporters, or strong brand, may present strong opportunities. 

Understanding the finances: everyone should get to grips with budgeting, costing and financial controls. Understanding the full costs of delivering a project helps ensure organisations get the funding they need. 

Performance and impact: having the skills and processes in place to both monitor performance against targets and measure impact is important. Reporting from evidence is critical in winning support and funding. 

Digital project example 1

The Friends of Kirkby Gallery and Prescot Museum have embarked on a project to raise the digital skills within the organisation in order to reach new audiences and improve resilience.

Working with a mentor, committee members, volunteers and venue staff will develop digital skills to use technology, building confidence within the organisation to share their collections and exhibitions online. Ensuring digital ways of working are embedded within the organisation and expanding their offer will support the organisation to become more resilient.

Digital project example 2

The Scottish Wildlife Trust and NatureScot are working collaboratively with a range of organisations on digital transformation within Scotland’s environment sector. The partnership is currently exploring a range of initiatives including:

  • developing a shared digital resource knowledge bank
  • pooling investment to support joint digital projects
  • making collective digital assets more open
  • allowing greater levels of insight and collaboration
  • harnessing the full potential of digital engagement through citizen science, with a focus on greater participation and inclusion

Further information

People will have greater wellbeing

What this outcome means 

If your project is a success, individuals will feel more connected to those around them as a result of your project. They may also feel more connected to the place where they live. This is what we mean by greater wellbeing. 

To achieve this outcome, your project should be designed to impact on wellbeing. It should be developed with expert organisations if you plan to involve people through mental health services or people with learning disabilities. 

You might provide opportunities for people to be more active or to meet and work together online. For example, volunteering in a park, taking part in community archaeology, sharing digital skills, or building new connections with others. 

What we are looking for 

You, or your external evaluator, will use recognised evaluation methods to measure wellbeing. 

You will ask people how they feel after experiencing your project. 

Participants might report:

  • increased happiness
  • greater satisfaction
  • reduced levels of anxiety
  • feel that life is more worthwhile as a result of their involvement in your project

They will feel more connected to those around them, or to a community that meets online, or maybe more connected to the place they live in. 

Things to consider

Budget for inclusion: plan and budget for essential travel costs, good quality refreshments, accessible toilets or a Changing Place and include carers costs.

Create enjoyable wellbeing opportunities as you plan: a picnic with live music, a guided tour of a local site or object handling opportunities can energise everyone.

Be strategic: don’t try and do everything at once. Starting small will help you develop and share learning.

Be flexible: people’s responses may make your plans change or take longer.

Be people-centred from the outset: consult and check from the start with the people or groups you most want to involve.

Use existing resources: Heritage Fund resources and guidance on inclusion and evaluation will help you integrate overall best practice into your wellbeing plans.

Use different learning styles in your plans: include physical, creative or  practical activities in small or larger groups.

Plan for measuring the impact and the difference you want to make from the start

Use established impact and wellbeing measurement tools, the What Works Centre for Wellbeing explains the methods. 

Build a community: develop enthusiasm about wellbeing. Share your learning through social media, events, and in your newsletter.

​​​Include ethics and safeguarding: do you need support from youth or vulnerable adult sector services to ensure everyone is safe?

Further information

People will have developed skills

What this outcome means

If your project is a success, then individuals will have gained the relevant skills to make sure that heritage is better looked after, managed, understood or shared. This might include conservation, teaching or training, maintenance, digital and project management skills.

Structured activities could include:

  • a mentoring programme
  • on-the-job training
  • paid training placements
  • taking on an apprentice
  • training sessions for volunteers
  • external short courses 

Activities might take place online or face to face, or as a mixture of these.

What we are looking for

People involved in your project, including staff, apprentices, trainees and volunteers, will be able to demonstrate competence in new, specific skills. Where appropriate, they will have gained a formal qualification or will have been supported into employment in the heritage sector.

We want to see a wider range of people involved in heritage through the creation of more inclusive training, entry level employment and progression opportunities.

Things to consider

Be ambitious: funding skills-development can contribute to everything. For example, the local economy, sector resilience, condition of heritage and people’s wellbeing.

Skills needs and shortages: skills and training activity need to address an identified skills shortage - a recognised absence – for the project, in the organisation or the heritage workforce in general.

Whose skills?: use the opportunity to up-skill and develop existing staff, volunteers, trustees or to create new apprenticeships, trainee or pre-employment opportunities.

Many ways: high quality, structured training, such as apprenticeships, on the job or in-house training, short courses, accredited qualifications and paid traineeships are all effective ways of developing skills.

Training for all: create more inclusive training activities involving people who are not already well-represented in your workforce or in heritage. It could include entry-level employment and skill-sharing opportunities.

Develop young people: research has shown that there is still work to be done in promoting heritage careers to young people. Create opportunities to develop employability skills and signpost career opportunities. This can add value to projects and support local young people to engage with heritage in a different way.

Plan time and resources: effective training needs to be well-structured and planned. Do not under-estimate the time and resources needed to commission trainers, develop new courses, training opportunities or effective partnerships, or to supervise and support new recruits.

Partnerships: identify training providers who can support everyone’s needs. There may be other organisations with similar needs that you can partner with to commission support.

Measure the impact: use baseline data about the trainees to measure the impact of the training intervention. Use methods such as self-assessment, work diaries or portfolios to monitor how the training impacts individuals. Also capture the impact on your organisation.

Bigger grant, bigger impact: grants over £250,000 should demonstrate how the project will enhance the capacity of the heritage industry to deliver sustainable training, and how the activities will provide clear career pathways.

Digital project example

The Great Grimsby Ice Factory Trust is demonstrating commitment to embedding digital skills throughout the organisation. It is exploring options on how to best combine history, community engagement, commercial opportunities and an ambitious vision for the area.

The project will work with experts to explore different digital technologies. Volunteers will be trained and share their skills with new members, building knowledge around the capabilities of digital technology among trustees and volunteers.

Further information

The local area will be a better place to live, work or visit

What this outcome means

If your project is a success, people will see an improvement in their local area, and have opportunities to connect with it.

As a result of enhancing the heritage of the area - or from the opportunities you have provided for local people to get involved with, to visit and enjoy heritage - local people will report that they feel it makes the area a better place to live, work or visit.

There will be a feeling of greater pride in the local area and/or a stronger sense of community or belonging.

Visitors will find it easy to plan their trip and access information they might need ahead of time.

What we are looking for

Local people will recognise improvements in the local area, and report increased appreciation for their shared places and spaces.

Visitors to the local area/heritage will also tell you that it has improved as a direct result of your project and what they value about it.

Further information

The local economy will be boosted

What this outcome means

If your project is a success, there will be additional income for existing local businesses and jobs will be created or supported. There may also be new businesses in your local area.

You’ll be able to show that local businesses have benefited from your project. This will be because you spent your grant locally, or you encouraged more tourists to visit the local area. It may be because you provided new premises for businesses that moved into the area or expanded their operations within it, which resulted in new jobs being created or further investment in your local area.

What we are looking for

You will be able to show that these changes have happened as a direct result of your project.

You’ll do this by using information about the local economy, both before and after your project.

You can find this information from places such as your local authority, economic development agency or tourism organisations.

Things to consider

Heritage contributes to local economies: the money spent on the project and the people attracted to the area as a result of the project, can generate money and opportunities for local businesses supporting local jobs.

Supply chains and services: the supplies and the services procured, including in other industries – such as construction or food and drink - create income for other businesses.

Visitors and tourists: the visitors and tourists attracted to the locality who spend money with local businesses, support jobs by creating income for local businesses.

Creating new business premises: providing premises for new businesses that move into the area, creates new jobs and attracts further investment, which all helps to boost the economy.

Be realistic: be realistic about the direct impact of the project – don’t over-claim for the direct difference the project will make.

Dig deeper: use information about the local economy from the local authority, economic development agency or tourism organisation. The information can help to work out how the project can contribute.

Economic impact can be long-term: look at the period of time over which the project is expected to make economic impacts – this can be long-term, for example, five years down the line.

Impact zone: define the geographical scope – the local authority area, the county and/or the region. The project may impact areas differently.

Measure the impact from a baseline study or data and describe the chosen method. There are resources available to help you work out what to measure and how.

Unlock other funding: showing how the project contributes to the local economy can unlock other funding. The value an industry creates for the economy is often measured by GVA (Gross Value Added).

Further information

Environmental Sustainability requirement

We expect the highest standards of environmental sustainability to be delivered by all the projects we fund.  

We want all our projects to do their very best to help mitigate against and adapt to the effects of our changing climate and to help nature recover. 

Whether our funding is conserving a nature reserve, a museum, a public park or a building, we will expect projects to take the opportunity to create positive benefits for nature. You could do this by creating roosts for bats, including green roofs, providing ponds for natural drainage and increasing tree planting, for example

We want all of our projects – of all types of heritage, large and small – to: 

  • limit any potential damage to the environment 
  • make a positive impact on the environment and particularly for nature 

Of course, projects must ensure that any environmental measures do not have a negative impact on your heritage. 

Including environmental sustainability within your project right from the beginning will mean your project is likely to be more resilient, financially sustainable and have multiple benefits for people and the community. 

The measures that you implement should be appropriate for the scale of your project. We provide guidance on environmental sustainability on our website.

You should also think about how you will evaluate your environmental sustainability measures and ensure that this is part of your project’s evaluation strategy. We will ask you to identify and report on the steps that you are taking. Our environmental sustainability guidance provides some general advice, and you can also access practical support from the Fit for the Future network.

Why is environmentally sustainable heritage it so important?

We want all our projects to positively impact the environment, because biodiversity is rapidly declining and atmospheric carbon levels are increasing.

Things to consider

Building sustainably: low carbon and locally-sourced materials are best, with good energy management systems. Use digital project management and consider how the building adapts over time.

Energy innovation: consider using technology like anaerobic digestion, wind, geothermal or biomass boilers. Simply reducing energy use is effective too.

Waste management: reduce, recycle or re-use wherever possible. Commit to reducing plastic waste and sending zero waste to landfill. Check that suppliers and partners are doing the same.

Enhancing the environment: ensure there is ‘biodiversity net gain’. You can achieve this through:

  • native tree and hedge planting
  • creating meadows
  • reducing grass cutting
  • creating ponds and ditches for natural drainage
  • bug, bat and bird boxes
  • green walls and roofs

Future proofing: integration of climate resilience planning, flood prevention, coastal erosion, water management, temperature control and resilience to more freak weather events.

Cleaner transport and travel: encourage eco-friendly travel. You can achieve this by providing cycle or walking routes, electric car hook-ups and bike parks. Plan to offset carbon when using cars and trains is unavoidable.

Measure impacts: have an evidence-based carbon reduction and offsetting plan, with a designated person to deliver the target outcomes.

Green budget: investment in active environmental management can reduce future running costs, which includes big expenses, for materials and infrastructure, but also smaller costs, for habitat creation. Consider the potential long-term savings.

Each to their own: every site and every project will have different opportunities. Have all options been considered properly – big and small?

Some examples of the types of things we are looking for

For grants from £3,000 to £10,000:

  • tell people how to get to your site or events by public transport
  • use compostable/biodegradable plates and cutlery for event catering
  • use local suppliers
  • use recycled and/or environmentally friendly materials
  • recycle your waste
  • tell people about the environmental measures you have implemented

For grants from £10,000 up to £5million:

We expect applicants to consider what steps they can take to create positive environmental impacts and reduce negative environmental impacts through their project. Remember, the measures that you implement should be appropriate for the scale of your project.

Examples of increasing positive environmental impacts could include:

  • tell people how to get to your site or events by public transport
  • use compostable/biodegradable plates and cutlery for event catering
  • use local suppliers
  • use recycled and/or environmentally friendly materials
  • recycle your waste
  • tell people about the environmental measures you have implemented
  • increase biodiversity (green roofs, bat and bird boxes, insect holes, bee-friendly planting, etc)
  • use recycled materials and products, such as paper
  • think about locally sourcing products and materials and reducing ‘food miles’ in cafes
  • encourage sustainable travel (bus or train, walking and cycling, etc)
  • tell visitors how the organisation is adapting to climate change and environmental measures used on the site

Examples of reducing negative environmental impacts could include:

  • install more efficient heating, LED lighting and better control systems and/or use renewable energy or energy generated on site
  • reduce water use by recycling grey water, installing low flush toilets, etc
  • reduce your use of plastics, especially single use plastics
  • reduce waste produced on site and create an effective recycling policy

Remember, our expectation of the number of outputs your project delivers will be proportional to the size of the grant.

Further information


Our other outcomes

Heritage will be in better condition

What this outcome means 

If your project is a success, there will be improvements to the physical state of your heritage. 

These improvements might be the result of repair, renovation or work to prevent further deterioration. For example:

  • mending the roof of a historic building
  • conserving an archive
  • clearing field ditches
  • repairing a ship

Improvements might also result from new work, for example, constructing a new building, or structure, to protect historic ruins, archaeology or vehicles. Or, increasing the size of an existing habitat to benefit priority species. 

The quality of digital heritage might also be improved. For example, through data cleansing or adding metadata to files to improve discoverability. 

What we are looking for 

Professional and heritage specialists will be able to recognise improvements through industry standards. 

Improvements will also be seen by people more generally, for example, by local residents or visitor surveys. 

Heritage will be identified and better explained

What this outcome means 

If your project is a success, then there will be new or improved ways to help people make sense of heritage. 

This might include:

  • displays in a museum
  • a website with information about the biodiversity and geodiversity of a landscape
  • talks or tours in a historic building or online
  • a guide to a historic house
  •  improved Wikipedia information about industrial heritage

What we are looking for 

Heritage information will be accessible.

Visitors and users will tell you that the interpretation and information you provide are easy to use and appropriate for their needs and interests, and that they help their understanding, and improve their experience of heritage. 

People will have learned about heritage, leading to change in ideas and actions

What this outcome means 

If your project is a success, individuals will have developed their understanding of heritage because you’ve provided them with opportunities to learn more in different ways that meet their needs and interests. 

This could include educational materials and courses as well as activities and events such as workshops, talks and tours. They might be self-guided or led by an educator or lead. They might be delivered online or in physical spaces, and take place outside or indoors.

What we are looking for 

People will be able to tell you what they have learned about heritage and what difference this makes to them and their lives, after engaging with your project. 

This might be through visiting your site or engaging with your heritage online. 

They will also be able to tell you what they are doing with that knowledge and understanding, such as sharing it with other people, using it in their professional or social life, or taking further study. 

Digital project example

The National Holocaust Centre and Museum has made use of technology to connect with audiences whilst the Centre is closed due to COVID-19 restrictions. Its Lockdown Livecasts programme has been hugely successful, attracting 33,000 views from April to November 2020 alone, which is the same number of people that visit the museum in a normal year. 

Through its school webinars programme - with the live participation of Holocaust survivors - it engaged an additional 5,034 schoolchildren. 

With these live webcasts and other online video learning resources designed for a range of audiences, the National Holocaust Centre and Museum has ensured that survivor testimonies about tolerance, justice, and the importance of individual action in fighting racism, are shared in new and engaging ways.