The fourth annual Sustainable Development Transition Forum


The fourth annual Sustainable Development Transition Forum (SDTF), hosted by the United Nations Office for Sustainable Development, welcomed 100 representatives and experts of country governments, the United Nations system, policy think tanks and academic institutions from around the world in Incheon, Republic of Korea from 25-27 October 2016. Zabi Rahat presented on Theory of Change and Theory of Change online tool and how it can be used to find inter-linkages and policy coherence among the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.



5 New Webinars Added for May and June!

4 New Theory of Change Webinars!
1 New TOCO webinar (Theory of Change Online)

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Introductory Level – Using a Theory of Change in Community Schools
Tuesday, May 6 2014, 10:00AM – 11:30AM EDT
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Planning and Designing for Collective Impact
Wednesday, May 14 2014, 10:00AM – 11:30AM EDT
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Intermediate Level – Theory of Change
Tuesday, May 20 2014, 10:00AM – 11:30AM EDT
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Advanced – Theory of Change in Strategic Planning and Evaluation
Tuesday, June 17 2014, 10:00AM – 11:30AM EDT
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Theory of Change Online (TOCO) 101 – The Basics
Tuesday, June 24 2014, 10:00AM – 11:00AM EDT
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Theory of Change in Salt Lake City!

ActKnowledge has been invited by United Way of Salt Lake City to offer the opportunity to teach Theory of Change to UWSL partner organizations on March 14, 2012.

ActKnowledge will be guiding UWSL partner agencies through what a Theory of Change is, how it can inform strategies around a common agenda, and how local agencies might use ToC in their own communities to communicate a broad neighborhood plan. It is a rigorous tool for planning, evaluation, and organizational capacity-building and is sure to be a great addition to any local organization’s toolkit.

Interested in hosting similar training events for your partners or grantees? Contact us and see how we can work together to bring Theory of Change to your partners to create more effective, more sustainable, and more impact initiatives.

Introduction to Theory of Change, in London

Join a lively workshop and learning opportunity with ActKnowledge, a global leader in Theory of Change. We will host a day-long Introduction to Theory of Change Workshop in Central London, UK  on September 9, 2011, 9:30 — 17:30. Click here for a printable flyer.

Topics to be covered, include:

  • Defining Theory of Change
  • How to get started
  • When to use
  • What the process looks like
  • Benefits and challenges
  • Compare and contrast to other models, including
  • Logframes and Logic Models
  • Two-hour breakout sessions for small group work
  • Registering and using Theory of Change Online

Heléne Clark, PhD is a leader in Theory of Change development and facilitation, and is the founder of ActKnowledge, and Theory of Change Online.
David Linwood Colby, Esq. is Director of the UK office for ActKnowledge, as well as manager for global initiatives and socially responsible corporate initiatives.


Outcomes, results, impact: these terms have tremendous currency in today’s world. In health care, education, social services, and anti-poverty work, agencies are looking for ways to chart and measure the results of their work. Outcomes Research seeks a U.S. health care system that pays for results rather than services. In Higher Education, reformers like Lumina Foundation for Education are trying to steer the system toward learning outcomes and away from system inputs. That most traditional of charitable agencies, the United Way, is moving its 1,200 member chapters toward anticipating and measuring community impact in all their funding decisions. Internationally, the Millennium Development Goals would reduce hunger, disease, and poverty; and increase gender equality, health, education, and environmental balance. But how to get there? As Lewis Carroll once observed “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” The keys to effectiveness are, one, turning general goals into specific, measurable outcomes, and, two, assessing strategy against outcomes.

Non-profit organizations want what the for-profit sector has long had, concrete feedback on results. Businesses get feedback all the time: products sell well or they do not; share prices go up or down. Social change agents may lack the built-in metrics of markets but they can do much more than just try hard and hope for the best. With Theory of Change, organizations have a way of thinking through just what results they expect to have and what it will take to get there. TOC helps get the business model very clear, but it also provides a blueprint for assessing and attributing results. Evaluators have excellent instruments and methods of evaluating program effectiveness, but to really tell the story they need to be able to align their methodologies to program goals. If the goals are fuzzy, evaluators can collect all the data you may want but will have a hard time feeding useful analysis back to the agency. Theory of Change provides the link: a well articulated theory tells evaluators what to look for and gives cause for attributing results to the effort.

President Obama talked about results and accountability in his inaugural address:

The question we ask today is … whether our government … works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account, to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day.

In those words we see an emphasis on clear outcomes and on evaluating whether programs are effective in producing the outcomes they expect. Here on Theory of Change Community you will find valuable tools and resources for mapping outcomes, identifying indicators, bringing assumptions to the surface, and many other aspects of using and working with the Theory of Change approach to planning and evaluation.

  • Theory of Change Online, or TOCO, is the first web-based Theory of Change tool. TOCO enables agencies to take charge of developing and maintaining their own theories as aids to forecasting, planning, choosing strategy, and learning from their work.
  • A Library of materials, examples, case studies, and white papers.
  • Blogs that take up different aspects of TOC.
  • A member discussion forum for raising questions and sharing experience.

Welcome to Theory of Change Community!
Dana Taplin, Theory of Change Director & Evaluator