Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity
Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity (RDMCC) is a nationwide charity that supports seriously ill children and their families – founded by the widow of the famous children’s author who gave his name to the charity. RDMCC came to NPC when they were at a crossroads. They wanted to put seriously ill children at the heart of everything they do and maximise their limited resources by measuring their impact. We worked closely with them to create a child-focused vision, mission and values and then built on this to produce an organisational theory of change.
NPC worked with RDMCC to understand what they had done historically, then we examined the current situation and used this as a basis for a workshop design. We then worked with the board of trustees to redesign their vision, mission and values to reflect their focus on seriously ill children. Once we had reached consensus on this, we convened a mix of RDMCC’s internal and external stakeholders (including staff, trustees, parents of seriously ill children, Roald Dahl NHS specialist nurses and a funder) and began to guide the charity through the theory of change process. NPC then synthesised the outputs from the workshops and produced an organisational theory of change and an accompanying narrative for the organisation to use.
RDMCC found the process extremely helpful and the theory of change has given them clarity and focus on what they need to achieve. It has enabled them to put seriously ill children at the heart of what they do and build from there. The charity is now using the theory of change as a basis for its new strategy, and are already using it as the framework for the measurement and evaluation of its programmes in the near future.
NPC provided the sounding board and the facilitation we needed. Their constructive questioning and useful suggestions gave us added confidence to push forward with this work.
This new guide is a ten step handbook to creating a theory of change, built on many years of developing them for charities and funders. It will teach you the basics, our core approach, with the information you need to do any theory of change.
Every charity or funder needs a theory of change, but it's not always a simple thing to come up with. Here Margery Infield, NPC Consultant, shares some lessons from a recent Theory of Change training event.
Theory of change mechanisms are where you describe how you want people to engage with your activities; the kind of relationship you establish; and the thought processes you want them to go through in order to achieve the outcomes and impact you want.