A Theory of Change serves as a roadmap for your organisation and outlines the steps that you will be taking to realise your goals.

It will set out how every step and piece of work ties into the long-term organisational aims, and will provide you with insight into ensuring your work is remaining on focus.

Importantly, the Theory of Change doesn’t just highlight the way in which your work ties into organisational goals. It allows you to spot potential risks that your plans may contain, by laying out the assumptions that underlie your steps. Especially for organisations with multiple goals, the Theory of Change helps to link all your projects together and show you how your overall strategy ties together.

The tool can also be incredibly useful for your individual team members, as it can highlight how their work feeds into larger goals, helping them see the impact that they make.



How do I use it?

To use the Theory of Change, first note down the problem you wish to resolve, as well as your long-term goal for what you wish to see changed. Once you have established the issue and the long-term goal, you can then begin to fill in the other boxes. The more specific you can be, the better, as this will help you create more effective solutions.

As you fill out the chart, make sure you provide options of practical steps at every stage. By keeping each step focussed on action, you can help keep your project driving forward.

At every stage, it is vital that you think about the underlying assumptions that will inform each element of the plan. This may allow you to spot areas of common risk between projects, or to see areas where different projects rely upon each other to achieve completion.

Resources:

Resource 1: Theory of Change Template

Next Module: Governance