It is important in many programs that the participants form close and trusting relationships with staff or volunteers. In mentoring, in particular, the formation of a trusting relationship is crucial to all the outcomes that will follow. So, program managers are eager to include that in their logic models and there are simple ways to measure it.
But a trusting relationship with a staff member is not an outcome measure. In a practical sense, ask yourself is it what your program was designed to do? Even if your program is a mentoring program – where forming a trusting relationship is a crucial means, you will probably have another purpose. For example, your program mentors youth so that they will attain their educational goals, so that they will graduate from high school, so that they will make healthy and safe choices, so that they can avoid court-involvement -- those are your outcomes. If your program is a training program, the relationship between teaching staff and learners is important. It facilitates learning, it creates an environment of curiosity and engagement, but the program outcomes are the new skills that your participants leave with and they ways that they will implement those skills in their lives. Outcomes are changes for your participant.
So from a program design or outcome measurement perspective, what is the relationship between participant and staff and how do we fit it into our logic model? It is a quality measure. It is a sign that participants feel that their needs are being met in the program, and that they are being treated with caring and respect. In your logic model, this will go into the activity or output section. This section generally addresses the question “how much are we doing?”. By adding a question on relationship quality, you are also addressing the question of “how well are we doing it?”