Theory of Change

Hey B’s

Has anyone had any experience in developing a Theory of Change for an organisation? I’m keen to share/learn about experiences, ideas, tools and insights.

Hi Jim,

Me! I created many theories of change for many organisations when I was with Social Ventures Australia.

I know Kevin Robbie and many of the other Think Impact team members use this team also. I’ll direct them to this thread.


Hi Jim,

As Anna has indicated, we’ve done lots of work in this area. We worked out last year that across team we’d been involved in over 250+ theory of changes! On the back of that we revolutionised our approach to development, so don’t follow the traditional model.

One of the key things to consider is that theory of change is both a process and a product. Loads of approaches focus on the product - this is useful and you need to think about audiences for it. But for us the development process is more important - can we a real way to galvanise a team around the positive change you are seeking to make.

Are you looking to do one for your company? Let me know what you are looking for and I’ll direct you to the resources I know of.




Hi @Anna-Crabb

That’s great. What have been your key takeaways from your experiences in developing theories of change at SVA?

Hi @Kevin

Wow. 250+ sounds impressive. How have you revolutionised the traditional approach?

We have one for our company but I’m looking to recreate it to be more public-facing. We’re also working with some organisations around impact evaluation so it’s relevant there.

Interested in learning about methods, tools and resources.

Jim, email me at - I can send you over what we have

1 Like

Done! Thanks Kevin. Much appreciated.

Hi Jim,

A couple of high-level observations from me:

Get everyone in the “room” together (socially distanced of course) - people in management roles, people in delivery roles, people who are receiving services. It’s the discussion that matters, and as much as possible getting on the same page, or if not teasing out where these differences emerge.

Rather than starting with the issue, it can be very helpful to start at the intended impact and work backwards to the activities. This is particularly the case when you are working on an existing program and people will naturally want to show that the activity that they work on delivers outcomes (even if that’s a stretch).


Sounds like a logical approach @Anna-Crabb — I’m sure it can be quite complex with multiple stakeholders inputing into the process. What tools or approaches have you found helpful?

Hi Jim,
SVA Quarterly has some really good articles on this topic: (I wrote a couple in my time with the team).

Thanks @Anna-Crabb! Much appreciated.

1 Like