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    Archived pages: 47 . Archive date: 2013-07.

  • Title: Theory of Change Community
    Descriptive info: .. Center for Theory of Change.. Setting Standards for Theory of Change.. From Small Scale Efforts to Complex Global Programs.. Best Practice From Around The World.. Developing Tools & Resources for Effectiveness.. Demonstrating How Change Happens.. Taking Planning and Evaluation to New Levels.. Main menu.. Skip to primary content.. Skip to secondary content.. Home.. About.. Theory of Change.. How Does Theory of Change Work?.. Example.. Identifying Long-term Goals.. Backwards Mapping and Connecting Outcomes.. Completing the Outcomes Framework.. Identifying Assumptions.. Developing Indicators.. Identifying interventions.. When to Use TOC.. Glossary.. TOC Background.. TOC Benefits.. TOC Origins.. FAQs.. TOCO Software.. Support and Training.. News Events.. Resources.. Toc Examples.. Presentations.. Publications.. Contact.. “I really believe that social change has to be done in a smarter way.. It’s so hard to stand back and see people do these convoluted, mixed up plans that get them nowhere and see them not get problems solved.. Social change has to be taken seriously.. It’s not just for people to feel good about themselves or run to a front-line somewhere and occupy something.. I really want to see the Center as something that is user friendly, that people get the message that social change can happen but it can’t happen if there isn’t a core plan that makes sense, that’s contextual,  ...   of Change has the power to radically enhance the capacity of social change organizations and initiatives to achieve their goals and demonstrate their impact.. It grounds planning and strategy in the reality and evidence base of what is necessary to achieve change.. Theory of Change is also critical to evaluation, providing a framework that allows organizations to know what to evaluate and when.. It builds on and can usefully incorporate data gathered through other approaches that have been developed to improve planning and evaluation, including ‘logic models/logframes’ and ‘results frames’.. News.. Next Webinar/July: How to Use Theory of Change Online: Features and Tips.. Center for Theory of Change at Independent Sector 2013 National Conference in New York.. TOC Featured Tip.. When using TOCO, you have to create a long-term outcome to begin drawing your Theory of Change; unless you’ve already deliberated on the long-term outcome in a participatory session, just choose a working title and move forward with your theory of change.. "TOCO”, an accessible, easy-to-use learning tool for creating and implementing a Theory of Change.. Learn More>.. Our Webinars are now available online.. 888-383-9994.. info@theoryofchange.. org.. News & Events.. Connect with Us:.. RSS.. FaceBook.. Twitter.. LinkedIn.. Copyright © 2013 The Center for Theory of Change, Inc.. |.. Terms of Use.. Privacy Policy..

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  • Title: About | Theory of Change Community
    Descriptive info: The.. is a non-profit organization established to promote quality standards and best practice for the development and implementation of Theory of Change, with a particular focus on its use and application in the areas of international development, sustainability, education, human rights and social change.. The Center has been established by ActKnowledge, a leader in the development of Theory of Change, based in New York City.. ActKnowledge is supporting the Center through the provision of a range of resources including the provision of guides and free access to Theory of Change on-line (TOCO), a  ...   in planning and evaluation work.. The imperative for the establishment of the Center arises from ActKnowledge’s own experience.. In particular, it arises from a concern that although the term is somewhat ubiquitous (especially in international development), understanding of what a Theory of Change approach involves conceptually and what is needed to support it’s successful implementation varies widely.. Such misunderstandings have the potential to undermine the reputation of the Theory of Change approach.. The.. Center.. is overseen by a Board of Advisers.. The Board helps guides the mission, program and standards of the Center..

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  • Title: What is Theory of Change? | Theory of Change Community
    Descriptive info: What is Theory of Change?.. As we define it, a Theory of Change defines all building blocks required to bring about a given long-term goal.. This set of connected building blocks–interchangeably referred to as outcomes, results, accomplishments, or preconditions is depicted on a map known as a pathway of change/change framework, which is a graphic representation of the change process.. Built around the pathway of change, a Theory of Change describes the types of interventions (a single program or a comprehensive community initiative) that bring about the outcomes depicted in the pathway of a change map.. Each outcome in the pathway of change is tied to an intervention, revealing the often complex web of activity that is required to bring about change.. A Theory of Change would not be complete without an articulation of the assumptions that stakeholders use to explain the change process represented by the change framework.. Assumptions explain both the connections between early, intermediate and long term outcomes and the expectations about how and why proposed interventions will bring them about.. Often, assumptions are supported by research, strengthening the case to be made about the plausibility of theory and the likelihood that stated goals will be accomplished.. Stakeholders value theories of change as part of program planning and evaluation  ...   for social change, it requires participants to be clear on long-term goals, identify measurable indicators of success, and formulate actions to achieve goals.. It.. differs.. from any other method of describing initiatives in a few ways:.. it shows a causal pathway from here to there by specifying what is needed for goals to be achieved (e.. g.. you might argue that children attending school a minimum number of days is necessary if they are going to learn).. it requires you to articulate underlying assumptions which can be tested and measured.. it changes the way of thinking about initiatives from what you are doing to what you want to achieve and starts there.. A Theory of Change provides a roadmap to get you from here to there.. If it is good and complete, your roadmap can be read by others and show that you know how to chart your course.. This is helpful with constituents, staff, partners organizations and funders.. More importantly, if it is good and complete, you have the best chance of making the change in the world you set out to make and of demonstrating your successes and your lessons along the way.. Theory Of Change.. >.. Identifying long-term goals.. Backwards mapping and connecting outcomes.. Completing the outcomes framework.. Identifying Interventions..

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  • Title: How Does Theory of Change Work? | Theory of Change Community
    Descriptive info: TOC maps out your initiative through 6 stages:.. Backwards mapping and connecting the preconditions or requirements necessary to achieve that goal and explaining why these preconditions are necessary and sufficient.. Identifying your basic assumptions about the context.. Identifying the interventions that your initiative will perform to create your desired change.. Developing indicators to measure your outcomes to assess the performance of your initiative.. Writing a narrative to explain the logic of your initiative.. The TOC process hinges upon defining all of the necessary and sufficient conditions required to bring about a given long term outcome.. TOC uses backwards mapping requiring planners to think in backwards steps from the long-term goal to the intermediate and then early-term changes that would be required to cause the desired change.. This creates a set of connected outcomes known as a “pathway of change”.. A “pathway of change” graphically represents the change process as it is understood by the initiative planners and is the skeleton around which the other elements of the theory are developed.. During the process of creating the pathway of  ...   on the map; (b) substantiation for the claim that all of the important preconditions for success have been identified; and (c) justifications supporting the links between program activities and the outcomes they are expected to produce.. A fourth type of assumption which outlines the contextual or environmental factors that will support or hinder progress toward the realization of outcomes in the pathway of change is often an additional important factor in illustrating the complete theory of change.. TOC approach to planning is designed to encourage very clearly defined outcomes at every step of the change process.. Users are required to specify a number of details about the nature of the desired change — including specifics about the target population, the amount of change required to signal success, and the timeframe over which such change is expected to occur.. This attention to detail often helps both funders and grantees reassess the feasibility of reaching goals that may have initially been vaguely defined, and in the end, promotes the development of reasonable long-term outcome targets that are acceptable to all parties..

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  • Title: Example | Theory of Change Community
    Descriptive info: In this example, we will walk you through “Project Superwomen”, a real program that we worked on as evaluators.. Special thanks to the Project Superwomen founders and staff for their generous permission to use their project as an example.. This example consists of six steps:.. Identifying long-term goals.. Identifying Assumptions.. Before beginning the TOC process, participants think carefully about (1) their ultimate goal for the initiative; (2) their goal for how they want to use their theory (e.. internal decision-making, on-going check-in, evaluation, reporting to donors, presentations to Board members, constituents and/or partners; (3) their resources and capabilities; (4) who should be at the table.. Any or all of these may change once the process begins, but its good to think about these things at the outset.. Background.. Project Superwomen is a real program that started as a collaboration between a social service provider, a non-profit employment training center and a domestic violence shelter to help female abuse survivors to create long-term, livable wage employment opportunities for women who had been victims of domestic violence.. The three  ...   been through domestic abuse need more than job training to move to economic stability.. They need to develop coping skills, workplace behaviors, and have child care available.. They also need to be able to manage crises in their lives and such events as court appearances and dealing with the foster care system.. If these aspects of their lives are not taken into account, any job training will not likely lead to permanent employment.. The collaboration subsequently brought in ActKnowledge to evaluate the program and its design.. New Destiny Housing Corporation, the lead agency for Project Superwomen, has graciously allowed ActKnowledge to use their program as an example for this website.. Note: Project Superwomen is a program.. Theories of change are often used for single programs like this.. However, a strength of the theory of change approach is that it can be used for initiatives that may comprise many programs and partners.. For the purposes of a tutorial to convey the basic processes and concepts, we will stick with a single program.. Stage 1: Identifying outcomes and assumptions..

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  • Title: Identifying Long-term Goals | Theory of Change Community
    Descriptive info: In the first stage of theory development, TOC participants discuss, agree on, and get specific about, the long-term goal or goals.. This can be done in a variety of ways, (see our facilitator’s guide), but the important thing is to set a good, clear outcome.. The quality of the rest of the theory hinges on doing this right!.. Then, TOC participants start to design a simple map of the preconditions required to bring about the long-term goal.. Beginning the mapping process helps stakeholders to visualize and prioritize their goals as  ...   Identifying Goals and Outcomes.. Commentary.. For this example, the long-term outcome is the long-term employment of domestic violence survivors at a livable wage.. To achieve that goal, the program designers identify three preconditions: survivors attain coping skills, survivors have marketable skills in non-traditional jobs and survivors know and have appropriate workplace behavior.. The program designers identified these preconditions from their experience and from research.. To illustrate the logical importance of the three preconditions, we use solid, arrowed lines to show that the preconditions MUST come before the final long-term outcome..

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  • Title: TOC Background | Theory of Change Community
    Descriptive info: Theory of What?.. Theory of Change is a rigorous yet participatory process whereby groups and project stakeholders identify the conditions they believe have to unfold for their long-term goals to be met.. These conditions are modeled as outcomes, arranged graphically in a causal framework.. The methodology used to create a Theory of Change is also usually referred to as Theory of Change, or the Theory of Change approach.. So, when you hear or say Theory of Change , you may mean either the process or the product.. Like any good planning and evaluation method for social change, Theory of Change requires participants to be clear on long-term goals, identify measurable indicators of success, and formulate actions to achieve goals..  ...   the assumptions that stakeholders use to explain the change process represented by the change framework.. Assumptions are at the basis of all the hypothesized causal connections between early, intermediate, and long term outcomes, and the expectations.. Practitioners also make assumptions about how and why proposed interventions will lead to the expected outcomes.. Airing assumptions is one of the most valuable parts of Theory of Change as a participatory process, as stakeholders get to hear and challenge one another s understanding of the goals, the challenges, and what must hold true in the environment for the initiative to succeed.. Assumptions may be supported by research, which strengthens the plausibility of the theory and the likelihood that stated goals will be accomplished..

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  • Title: TOC Benefits | Theory of Change Community
    Descriptive info: There are many processes that help organize the components of a project.. Almost any type of logic model will present your initiative in terms of resources, activities, short and long-term outcomes.. These are useful tools, and can help clarify goals and communicate the basics of how an initiative works to others.. TOC takes theses approaches further: it requires more specificity about goals and about the conditions needed to reach them.. Therefore, it is hard work and results in a more useful guide for your work than other most other processes.. Here are some of the benefits of developing your Theory of Change:.. When you have a complete Theory of  ...   a certain way.. A visual representation of the change you want to see in your community and how you expect it to come about.. A blueprint for evaluation with measurable indicators of success identified.. An agreement among stakeholders about what defines success and what it takes to get there.. A powerful communication tool to capture the complexity of your initiative.. You can use your theory:.. As a framework to check milestones and stay on course.. To document lessons learned about what really happens.. To keep the process of implementation and evaluation transparent, so everyone knows what is happening and why.. As a basis for reports to funders, policymakers, boards..

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  • Title: TOC Origins | Theory of Change Community
    Descriptive info: It is difficult to trace precisely when the term “theory of change” was first used, but a hint at its origins can be found in the considerable body of theoretical and applied development in the evaluation field, especially among the work of people such as Huey Chen, Peter Rossi, Michael Quinn Patton, and Carol Weiss.. These evaluation theorists and practitioners, along with a host of others, have been focused on how to apply program theories to evaluation for many decades.. The stream of work leading to the use of theories of change in evaluation can be traced back to the late 1950s with Kirkpatrick’s ‘Four Levels of Learning Evaluation Model’.. Further progress and evolution has included Daniel Stufflebeam’s CIPP (context, input, processes and products) and the widely used logical frameworks (logframes) or logical models which set out causal chains usually consisting of inputs, activities, outputs and outcomes coupled to long-term goals.. Methods such as logframes were a significant advance, providing a framework through which the relationships between a program’s components could be drawn out and articulated.. However, US writers such as Weiss, Chen and Patton increasingly highlighted the challenges in evaluating complex social or community change programs when it was not clear precisely what the programs had set out to do or how and therefore difficult to evaluate whether or how they had achieved it (James, 2011).. One organisation which began to focus on these issues was the US based Aspen Institute and its Roundtable on Community Change.. The work of the Roundtable led to the publication in 1995 of.. New Approaches to Evaluating Comprehensive Community Initiatives.. In that book, Carol Weiss, a member of the Roundtable’s Steering Committee on Evaluation, hypothesized that a key reason complex programs are so difficult to evaluate is that the assumptions that inspire them are poorly articulated.. She argued that stakeholders of complex community initiatives typically are unclear about how the change process will unfold and therefore give little attention to the early and mid-term changes that need to happen in order for a longer term goal to be reached.. The lack of clarity about the “mini-steps” that must be taken to reach a long term outcome not only makes the task of evaluating a complex initiative challenging, but reduces the likelihood that all of the important factors related to the long term goal will be addressed (Weiss, 1995).. Weiss popularized the term “Theory  ...   many feedback loops that need to be understood.. Theories of change are strengthening monitoring, evaluation and learning.. They are also helping to understand and assess impact in hard to measure areas, such as governance, capacity strengthening and institutional development.. Innovations continue to emerge.. Despite the growing ubiquity of theory of change however, especially in the development arena, understanding of the approach and the methods necessary to implement it effectively are not uniform.. In fact, there is evidence of some confusion about what the term ‘theory of change’ actually means and in some cases what some program developers describe as theories of change are in essence simply log frames or other approaches that do not encompass the complexity of the theory of change approach.. In this context, ActKnowledge, a social enterprise based in New York City, has been one of the pioneers in the conceptual development of Theory of Change and in developing various guides and supports necessary for the implementation of the Theory of Change approach to an agreed standard.. This has included the development of Theory of Change On-line (TOCO), a tailor made software tool.. Other important conceptual work included recent work by Sue Funnell and Patricia Rogers (2011) and guides by organisations such as GrantCraft.. References and Resources.. ActKnowledge (2003).. Tips and Challenges on Team Building with Theory of Change.. Funnell, Sue C and Particia J Rogers (2011).. Purposeful Program Theory: Effective Use of Theories of Change and Logic Models.. Grantcraft (2006).. Mapping Change: Using a Theory of Change To Guide Planning and Evaluation.. James, Cathy (2011).. Theory of Change Review: Report Commissioned by Comic Relief.. http://mande.. co.. uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/2012-Comic-Relief-Theory-of-Change-Review-FINAL.. pdf.. Organizational Research Services (2004).. Theory of Change: A Practical Tool For Action, Results and Learning Prepared for the Annie Casey Foundation.. http://www.. aecf.. org/upload/publicationfiles/cc2977k440.. Weiss, Carol (1995).. Nothing as Practical as Good Theory: Exploring Theory-Based Evaluation for Comprehensive Community Initiatives for Children and Families.. in ‘New Approaches to Evaluating Community Initiatives’.. Aspen Institute.. WK Kellogg Foundation 2004.. Logic Model Development Guide.. WK Kellogg Foundation.. Michigan.. wkkf.. org/knowledge-center/resources/2010/Logic-Model-Development-Guide.. aspx.. Taplin, Dana, Heléne Clark, Eoin Collins and David L.. Colby (2013).. Theory of Change Technical Papers: A Series of Papers to support Development of Theories of change Based on Practice in the Field.. ActKnowledge: New York.. Theory of Change tools and training materials are available on the Theory of Change website, a joint venture between the Roundtable and ActKnowledge:.. www.. theoryofchange..

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  • Title: FAQs | Theory of Change Community
    Descriptive info: The methodology used to create a Theory of Change is also usually referred to as Theory of Change, or the Theory of Change approach or method.. So, when you hear “Theory of Change”, you may mean either the process or the result.. A Theory of Change can be the basis for a Results Framework and can easily be created from a Logframe to do a gap analysis.. Everybody is using the term “Theory of change”.. Do they mean the same thing?.. No.. Pretty much anyone using the term means that the initiative has a belief about how it works.. But the similarity may end there.. Some people have a one sentence “theory”, such as “youth need safe physical and psychological environments in order to learn”.. Partly because of the inconsistency in usage, we developed this site to help you develop a theory with the necessary level of detail, that shows the necessary conditions needed for change, your activities, benchmarks of short, medium and long-term goals, indicators of success and underlying beliefs and assumptions.. Why do all this hard work? We know what our mission is and we already have a series of strategies that our Board and funder like, so what would we get out of having a “theory”?.. Mission statements are necessarily rather vague, because they need to be short.. They typically express the overall philosophy of a project and its purpose.. They do NOT explain how to get where you want to go: they are not a roadmap.. TOC works for initiatives that are already up and running as a check on the match between the strategies the initiative uses, and its ability to meet its goals.. It can help you determine  ...   careful when someone tells you they have a theory of change, or a funder asks for one, that you know what THEY mean.. How do we know when to Stop? How far should our theory go?.. A key to making the process the most useful and appropriate to an organization’s needs is to determine the “scope” of the theory.. (See the “Theory of Change Technical Papers”by D.. Taplin, H.. Clark, E.. Collins and D.. Colby, under.. Resources: Publications.. on this website for more information).. Sometimes, it is necessary to have a very “broad” theory: that is, account for every precondition for your long-term goal, and sometimes its important to have a “deep” theory: work a pathway that your initiative will be working on all the back to the very first step needed.. Other times, e.. for evaluation, you may only need to model what you are doing in a summary form.. That will allow evaluation of key outcomes, but not provide enough detail for programmatic decision-making.. How far to go is always a prime consideration when undertaking theory construction.. How long will it take to develop A theory?.. There is no one answer, but it is not something that can be done in a few hours or a few days.. There are a few steps, and a lot of details.. Being specific is one of the things that makes a theory useful, and it takes time for a group to agree on what they mean every step of the way.. Some groups have weekly or regular meetings over a few months.. This works best when a core team take responsibility for putting all the information together in between meetings to present back to the participants..

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  • Title: TOCO Software | Theory of Change Community
    Descriptive info: Log in to TOCO.. Theory of Change Online or “TOCO”, is an accessible, easy-to-use learning tool for creating and implementing a Theory of Change.. It provides users with a flexible drawing canvas for building, editing, and soliciting feedback.. Advantages and Features.. FREE TOCO Software.. What the Community is Saying.. "  ...   with whom I had not had a good conversation in a long time.. Having the NFTE Theory of Change with me took the conversation to a whole new level.. I felt empowered and I looked like a genius.. ".. Steve Marriotti.. President and Founder of.. National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship..

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  • Archived pages: 47