Creating a theory of change: An introduction for charities
What is it about?
For charities keen to improve their impact, developing a theory of change is a good place to start. It shows what you want to achieve and how, setting out the causal links between your activities and end goal. A clear and robust theory of change helps you develop and refine your strategy, and provides a theoretical framework for measuring your impact.
Who should attend?
The training is aimed at those who have no—or limited—experience of theory of change. It is particularly relevant for senior staff involved in developing an organisation’s strategy and all staff engaged in monitoring and evaluation.
With a group size of no more than 15, the workshop will be interactive and hands-on.
The training will help you to:
- Understand the model: learn what it is, where it comes from, and how it can be used to benefit your organisation.
- Choose your approach: look at different ways of representing a theory of change—from a simple planning triangle through the logic model to the more complicated outcomes chain.
- Create suitable goals: achieve a balance between ambition and realism; think of obstacles to improvement and ways of overcoming them, described as outcomes.
- Make a start on your own: identify your end goal, and apply backwards mapping to your own organisation (or a programme) to identify and prioritise your outcomes. Use it to inform internal discussions, collecting the views of staff from across your organisation to achieve consensus and buy-in.
- Avoid common pitfalls: do not overcomplicate the model or over-claim your outcomes.
Review your draft: check it is meaningful, plausible, doable and testable.
- Use your theory of change to guide measurement and strategy: identify what to measure and assess whether your activities are working as planned and how they can be improved, and communicate your impact.
- Use it to review your existing strategy, design a new programme, allocate resources and think about your role in the sector.
Who delivers the training?
The training is delivered by our consultants who are experts in theory of change and have worked with numerous clients to help them develop their own.
NPC’s paper on Theory of change introduces the concept, and discusses how it can be used by charities to improve their work.