Welcome Intern Ahmad Zabi Rahat

1463454_10151765614717775_1782598591_nWe are delighted to welcome Ahmad Zabi Rahat as an intern to the Center for Theory of Change. Originally from Kabul, Afghanistan, Zabi has been living and studying in the States for the past seven years and is currently in the process of completing his Masters degree in Conflict Transformation along with a Graduate Certificate in from the MBA department in Non-Profit Leadership and Social entrepreneurship. He has already made a strong contribution to the work of the Center

Using Theory of Change On-Line October Training

Using Theory of Change On-Line (TOCO)

$99 -Limited Registration

This webinar will cover the uses of Theory of Change On-line (TOCO) in supporting the development, illustration and data storage of the components of Theory of Change. The webinar will go over the mechanical operations of using the software and of generating printable documents from it.  We will also give a preview of the new features soon to be offered on a subscription basis.

This webinar will be conducted by Dr. Dana Taplin, Director of Theory of Change & Muamer Rasic of ActKnowledge.

Thursday 10th October
11AM-12:00PM EDT
Click here to register.

3 New Theory of Change Webinars added in October for Intermediate &Advanced Theory of Change Practitioners.

Some Updates from Our Recent Endeavors

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Carolyn Ramsdell for her great presentation of our partnering with the Hunger Project. Carolyn joined us during the second day of our Intensive Workshop Training in April, and spoke to our group with our very own Dana Taplin. We look forward to more collaborations like this in the future.

In other news, we’d also like to note that TOCO is undergoing some changes. We’ll post updates on the site, so check back with us for more on this soon!

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.

TOCO 101 – The Basics Recorded Webinar

When: The LIVE event took place on Thursday, November 10, 2011. This is the recording of that event.

Description: Change Online (TOCO)? Are you interested in learning more about how TOCO can help you and your organization build and modify a dynamic Theory of Change map that you can incorporate into your planning and evaluation practices?

Join Actknowledge’s Dana Taplin, expert evaluation and TOCO specialist, as he walks TOCO users through the basics of the application, and provides useful tips and tricks for effective use of the powerful tools contained in the TOCO system. Dana shares valuable and practical insights for users ready to become proficient in the basic functions of TOCO and gives advice for real strategies that will help you continue your ongoing use of this valuable tool for program evaluation.

Click here to view the webinar.(You will need Flash player installed on your browser to view this presentation)

Alternatively you can listen to just the audio file – download MP3 by clicking here

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, www.theoryofchange.org 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