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 Change, you will have:
- A clear and testable hypothesis about how change will occur that not only allows you to be accountable for results, but also makes your results more credible because they were predicted to occur in 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