16. April 2015 - 11:00
NPC, London
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Creating a theory of change: An introduction for charities | Thursday, 16. April 2015


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.

With a group size of no more than 15, the workshop will be interactive and hands-on, and will be led by one of our experts in this area. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.


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.


The training is an introductory session and assumes no prior knowledge. It is aimed at those who have no—or limited—experience of theory of change, and is particularly relevant for senior staff involved in developing an organisation’s strategy and all staff engaged in monitoring and evaluation.


The training is delivered by our consultants who provide strategy advice and evaluation support to help charities and funders increase their effectiveness and measure their impact. All our trainers 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, explains the origins of the technique, and discusses how it can be used by charities to improve their work. Note: we will be handing this out on the day of the event too.

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