Step 2 Set Broad Goals and Specific Desired Outcomes For Your SAPA

GTO Step 2 helps you state the broad impact you want to work toward and specific benchmarks, called desired outcomes, for your SAPA.


  • Communicate what you are trying to achieve to all stakeholders including leadership and ensure that everyone is "on the same page."
  • Narrow the scope of your search for a SAPA to those with evidence related to your outcomes.
  • Know when your prevention activity is working as planned.


  • First, decide on the broad impact on the problem you want to work toward. This is your goal.
  • Then, use the SMART acronym to guide your statement of desired outcomes for each goal. SMART stands for specific (concretely specified), measurable (you can evaluate your progress), achievable (the desired result was obtained in prior efforts), realistic (possible with your resources available), and time-based (expectation of time it will take to produce the change).
  • The longer GTO guide has a tool—SMART Desired Outcomes tool—that could help you complete this step. You can download a .zip file that contains all of the tools.

Key Points

  • Your desired outcome statement should include what will change, for whom, by how much, and when.
  • In GTO, goals and outcomes are changes in the problem you are targeting, not the implementation of a new or existing prevention activity.
  • Set realistic desired outcomes for your SAPA participants rather than overly ambitious ones. Rely on the evidence of prior efforts using the same SAPA. Adjust your goals and desired outcomes if there is no SAPA that has evidence of achieving them.
  • GTO Step 2 aligns with "development of a comprehensive approach" in the PPoA prevention process.

Fill Out SAPA Overview

In the SAPA Overview Worksheet (.docx), enter your goals and desired outcomes in columns 2 and 3.

Linking GTO Steps

  • With realistic goals and specific desired outcomes, in Step 3 you can look for evidence-based prevention activities that are proven to have achieved your desired outcomes.
  • In Step 6, you will be able to plan evaluation to measure your actual outcomes. Your goals and desired outcomes statements fill the second and third section of your SAPA Overview.

GTO Step 2 Resources