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Theory of change for funders

About this event

At NPC, we describe a theory of change as a process that encourages us to reflect on our aims and plans, to discuss them with others and to make them explicit. We see theory of change as the foundation for an organisation’s strategy, evaluation and communication.

This seminar is part of our Leading Impact series, and is designed specifically for funders. Developing a theory of change can help a funder to:

  • Articulate the change it wants to achieve with its grant-making, and map how its funding programmes will achieve that;
  • Improve the design of its funding programme by thinking seriously about context, target groups, priorities and plans;
  • Motivate teams and stakeholders through dialogue and debate, and help establish an increased sense of clarity and strength of purpose for its funding;
  • Improve impact evaluation by providing a blueprint for what needs to be measured and building a narrative about effectiveness and impact; and
  • Improve communications both internally and externally by being clearer about its funding aims and plans.

If you are a funder wishing to learn more about how to develop a theory of change for your grant-making programmes, this 1.5 hour seminar is for you.

In this session we will guide you through a staged process which will start with looking at the importance for you as a funder to define and think about the ‘problem’ you want to tackle and its causes, the context/systems in which you operate, and the resources you have to affect change. This is a key step to be able to define the type of funder you want to be.

We will then talk about target audiences and reflect on how you should go about defining who you want to have a relationship with to achieve the change you aspire to see through your funding work. We will also talk about your sustained impact and how you can define the change you want to see achieved for each target group.

Finally, we will talk about the usefulness of working backwards to identify shorter-term outcomes that are needed to make this impact more likely, and explore how your funding programmes can contribute to that change.

Bursary places

A limited number of bursary places are available for small charities, ethnic minority charities of all sizes and ethnic minority representatives from charities of all sizes. Bursary spaces are available on a first come, first served basis. Email us to apply for our bursary places.


We are also actively working to improve the accessibility of our online and in-person events. As part of our commitment, for all online events we use live closed captions and upload the recordings to YouTube which has the capability to select subtitles. For in-person events we strive to use accessible venues. If you have any additional accessibility requirements that we can assist with, please email us at Events@thinkNPC.org.

Want to be a part of other Theory of Change events?

This event is part of our Leading Impact series of seminars, if you would like to access more events like this one, we welcome you to join us for ‘Theory of change in ten steps‘, another NPC event on 8 February  2024. 


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